Javier Benegas is a publicist, writer and editor. Co-founder of the newspaper “Vozpópuli”, he currently directs the digital media Disidentia. A columnist for “The Objective”, he is a regular contributor to radio and television programmes. He is the author of several books, including “La dictadura invisible” and “Vindicación”.
Álvaro Peñas: The results of the general elections in Spain have surprised almost everyone. Did you expect this result?
Javier Benegas: Yes, and in fact, at the time, I even put this conviction in writing. Already in October, in a “Disidentia” programme, I pointed out that if there were early elections, there would be no absolute majority for the Right. Such a majority could not happen for many reasons, including the strong division between the right-wing parties and, above all, because the Popular Party only presented a programme to repeal “Sanchismo” (the Sánchez government). I also believe that VOX has failed to take advantage of this opportunity. The problem, and the reason why this result has surprised so many, is that the polls have been taken as valid in their most favourable variants, but the most logical value was that it did not reach an absolute majority.
The investiture of Feijóo does not add up and, on the other hand, the pro-coup Puigdemont is proposing amnesty as a demand to support the socialists. What awaits us now?
At the moment, as Puigdemont has put it, technically and with the data in hand, it is impossible for Sánchez to be elected. I believe that even Sánchez has a limit and cannot accept Puigdemont’s challenge, because what he is asking for is the complete abolition of the rule of law. And if the rule of law falls, the State, which is the main social organisation of Spain, the institutional part of the Spanish nation, will also fall. It is not that such a demand does not fit in the Constitution, it is that it does not fit in Spanish society. If such a demand is carried out, in what way could the State ask for obligations from the Spanish people anymore? To agree to what Puigdemont is asking for would be to dismantle any condition of law, and this is a challenge that not even Sánchez can accept. So I think we are heading for a new election.
If that happens, what do you think would change?
I think that on this occasion, the PP would have a greater increase in votes. And that will happen, although nobody is convinced either by the Popular Party (with an inert programme lacking any political or economic content), or by Feijóo. The question is, whether this increase will be at the expense of VOX, or whether it will come from other voters concerned about the national question and Puigdemont’s requests.
In that case, would the sum of both be enough for a PP and VOX government?
Yes, probably yes. In a recent poll, the PP was given between 8 and 10 additional seats, and I don’t think those seats would come mostly from VOX voters. However, the party that is most likely to be harmed by a new election will probably be VOX, because it has much less financial muscles to run yet another campaign, and that means that it would have to run a campaign on a voluntary basis and on shoestrings.
The key is in the voters who could have voted for the Right, but for various reasons did not mobilise - either because of the summer period, or because none of the parties convinced them, or because the elections were already considered won, or because of the parties’ strategy of resorting to emergency politics instead of the politics of what is important. The really important things are always put on the back burner because there is an “emergency”, and people are asked to vote to avoid the apocalypse. And so we see slogans like “Communism or freedom” or “Democracy or fascism”: “vote for me and the apocalypse will not come”. This is how people have been mobilised, and for democracy, this is a very dangerous terrain which, moreover, like the useful vote, cannot work forever. Spain has been going backwards for two decades because politics has not been dedicated to what is important: it has rather been dedicated to antagonising the Spaniards and not to solving problems. However, the instability caused by the election results is more than enough to mobilise more votes from the Right and less from the Left. A repeated election will not be good for Sánchez.
And, faced with this possibility, don’t you think it is possible that Sánchez might accept Puigdemont’s challenge after a change of name and a facelift from the media in his service?
The fact is that, one way or another, what Puigdemont is asking for is the surrender of the state, and he is even talking about the right to proclaim independence unilaterally. It may be that these are declarations for the benefit of his supporters, but, however they are dressed up, the result would be the same. One thing is a pardon, which has already had a negative impact, and another is to grant amnesty to criminals, who are not two or three, but a few thousand, because it gives them the right to do it again. You can call it whatever you like, but it is something so crude, so strong, that changing the name would do no good. We are reaching the limit because Sánchez has forced things too much during these years, and it is no longer possible to force the situation any further. Moreover, it is not in the EU’s interest for Puigdemont to come out as a hero when it has its own territorial problems in some regions to settle...
But in the EU, the Brussels elite seems not to live in the real world and is more concerned about things like climate change.
The fight against climate change is a business, a scam. When you read the conditionalities of laws like the one passed by the European Parliament, you see that it is unenforceable: it is a scam that many want to live off. Yes, there is globalism, but what happens for the moment is rather a confluence of interests because politics has become the main industry in the West.
A business that causes irreparable damage.
The damage is brutal, and I don’t rule out the ideological question, but the truth is that the Left gets along best with money. Big money is interested in the Left because it intervenes in absolutely everything and there is no better way to do business than hand in hand with power.
This is not the way a country can function because, for the economy to work, what you have to do is to impose the same rules of the game on everyone. That is enough. Small businesses need low taxes and a level playing field, there is no need to punish or penalise others. We can see this in some countries that are doing the opposite of what is being done in Spain, such as Ireland, which is creating companies and is in a spiral of economic growth. There, before lowering taxes on individuals, they lowered taxes on companies in order to have strong companies that pay increasingly better salaries and with greater specialisation and a better future. The key is to be a competitive country - and Spain is not.
Earlier, you mentioned the lack of mobilisation of the right-wing electorate for various reasons, including the inability to convince its voters.
Yes, and that is because the Right has to defend its own ideas, not just be the antithesis of the Left. You can’t be just “against” the Left because in the end, what will happen is that Left and Right merely alternate, but do not present real alternatives. Hence, neither did the Left make real social improvements, as it only benefited minorities, nor did the Right make real economic reforms. That is why social improvements have not been achieved, which is what the Left would have liked, nor a more prosperous, secure and dynamic society and the safeguarding of fundamental rights, which is what the Right would have liked.
The Right has always given priority to the person, to the thinking individual, unlike the State, which wants dependent people. But for too long, the Right has rather been doing the same as the Left, fattening up the State, and this works against it, because when the enemy arrives, it uses all that machinery to bring it down. In Spain, we have had and still have so much socialism because the tap has never been turned off, and those structures that the Left has created to maintain its people at everyone’s expense while they were not in power have been allowed to survive.
Politics has to return to the ground and that, for me, can only be done by a Right that assumes and understands that in order to be an alternative, it cannot just be a reflection of socialism, as the PP does, nor the shoehorse of the Left. The Right has a completely different vision of the world and must be a true alternative.
And does that alternative have a future in a “socially” left-wing Spain, where the majority of people, even on the Right, accept or applaud everything that carries the label “progress”?
People function by the expectations imposed on them, that is, they often do what others do or say, but that doesn’t mean they like it or agree with it - they simply adapt. That is what is happening with feminism or other woke ideas. But no society, no matter how many expectations are imposed on it, can live permanently in a lie. No society can put up with that; even the Soviet Union did not, despite the bayonets, and our society will not put up with it.
The regional and local elections of 28 May marked a change of course in Spanish politics