Ángel Gabilondo (San Sebastián, 72 years old) will opt for the presidency of the Community of Madrid for the third time as a candidate for the PSOE. He still does not know how: if in the May 4 elections , advanced by Isabel Díaz Ayuso, or the motion of censure that he registered on Wednesday, and which is pending the decision of the Madrid Court of Justice .
The former Minister of Education speaks sitting in the courtyard of the national headquarters of the PSOE in Ferraz, where he reflects on the similarities between the president of Madrid and Donald Trump, underlines the problems caused by inequality in the region, and confesses what he felt when he was he was criticized in primetime television for his proactive and dialoguing style of opposition.
Question . The PSOE designates him as a candidate after a year and a half in which his style of opposition to Díaz Ayuso has been criticized, and in which he has been the object of jokes. How have you handled it?
“Some see an error in any attempt to seek consensus”
It’s not nice. Above all it did not seem fair, honestly. By making this type of opposition the first legislature, we managed to win in 2019, to the amazement of some. Because some have an idea of aggressive opposition, and they see an error in any attempt to seek agreements, consensus, to put the population before confrontation with the other, even in a pandemic situation. He felt a perception of injustice.
And it produces a certain blush. Those who are in the Assembly know perfectly well that I have worked a lot, that I give myself a lot, in a direction of transformation, alternative. I saw myself unfairly treated. And it gave me a certain pain that he echoed that without listening to my arguments a bit.
This is a political option, a way of understanding politics. Are not the citizens saying that what must be done is agreements and not so much confrontation? And when that is done, we find it as lukewarm. I’m not saying it with any dismay, but I’m not stupid enough to find it amusing to be ridiculed. So far I have not come.
“I have worked a lot. I saw myself unfairly treated ”
P . He says he has been in pain. What has caused you to see and read that the PSOE could be looking for another candidate?
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The Vice President, Minister of Sports, Transparency and spokesman for the Government of the Community of Madrid, Ignacio Aguado, during a meeting with the main representatives of the economic and tourism sector in the region, at the Real Casa de Postas, in Madrid (Spain), March 9, 2021 The meeting discussed the role of safe mobility in the economic recovery of the region.
Ayuso and Aguado: at war yesterday, today and tomorrow
R. I am going to say two things. One, in addition to feeling that pain and that discomfort, I have felt a lot of adhesion, a lot of bonding and a lot of support. I am not a sadist or a masochist. I have not been suffering, I have been enjoying the life of politics, and I know that it carries those pains.
But I have also had many joys, and I feel them, and I was very satisfied to defend alternatives in such difficult moments. And instead of appearing singularly, I don’t know how, putting my convictions first. With regard to the names, I have encouraged a little that. How?
When they asked me if it was going to be me [the candidate] I said that I was willing, but that it was not just up to me, that the party had to decide. And the ‘but’ was understood as opening the space to start drawing names.
Taking names does not give the impression that there are many candidates, it gives the impression that there is no candidate. The thing about names is true that it does not produce comfort either. The display of names produces a certain perception that they are desperate looking for another, but it is not that. It is simply that the PSOE has many possibilities, and has decided on one.
P . A month ago his appointment as Ombudsman was taken for granted. Now he is again a candidate for the Presidency of the Community. How do you handle those swings?
R . I already know, at this stage of the game, that life is a bit like that. Not just politics, life. They seduce you, they desire you, they reject you, they welcome you… but I can finally say that the PSOE has been extraordinarily generous with me, and that I try to respond to that generosity. We must both be at the service of something different, let’s talk about citizens, about how citizenship is in Madrid. How is the population of Madrid? You have to press it. I say that the population of Madrid is not good, it is bad. And we will see the vote [in possible elections]. If it turns out that they are delighted, then I was wrong.
P . It is presented for the third time. What must be done so that the result is different from the previous two and comes to govern?
R. The new element is the historical need to face a challenge that society has been subjected to, to propose a stable life model that leads to a more conservative society. Another thing happens. Some injustices have settled and it has begun to be seen quite naturally that politics is a mere useful instrument to achieve personal interests. It seems like a mistake to me. A serious mistake.
Another plus is that we are in a pandemic and a crisis that would advise that the elections had not been called. It is irresponsible. Summon the citizens right now! And the amount of resources that are on hold! We do not have Budgets. We do not yet have the destination of the European funds. There are amounts of the Government of Spain still unmanaged. This paralyzes everything. I am amazed at the inability of management.
“We are in a pandemic and a crisis that would advise that the elections had not been called. It is irresponsible. Summon the citizens right now! ”
P . Has this inability you denounce influenced the fact that the Community has been the Spanish region hardest hit by the coronavirus?
R . There are many reasons, but one is that. The management has not been successful. The economic structure of Madrid is very unique, it needs a serious review. It has feet of clay. We rely on services, tourism, in a weak industry. We have, however, a lot of knowledge, great universities. It has not focused on research, on science. All this is weighing on the fact that people’s lives have a lot of uncertainty, a lot of insecurity.
P . Does Díaz Ayuso remind you of Trump at all?
R . There are in Madrid, in the Government of Madrid, in its president, some principles and values that are clearly in the line of Trumpism. I see it as a very serious problem, for Madrid and for Spain. That stimulates me, because I know that I have a responsibility. It is a great challenge and it is a great necessity that this is not imposed.
“In Ayuso there is a populist vision and a denialist position”
P . This would require a massive mobilization, like the one that accompanied Joe Biden in the United States, precisely when there is so much division on the left.
R . I want to be a person of institutional respect, of respect for all those who do not think like me. Respect for a society that is demanding that we do politics differently. And I would like to have that respect and deserve it. I have a downside: I’m not Biden. With this I mean that I do not live in the longing to be any other than who I am, I accept myself with my problems and my fissures.
And I think there are citizens who know that they are not choosing exactly the person to live with, but someone who can manage public affairs. I am full of defects, of problems, like all human beings. Therefore, an icon is not searched. They are looking for someone with the ability to unite, agree and agree on policies for the common good.