In case anyone was still in doubt, Vox's ultra-nationalist, xenophobic and anti-feminist agenda has been revealed for all the world to see. The list of nineteen demands the far-right party has made of the PP and Cs [Ciudadanos] in exchange for their support in governing Andalusia is frankly outrageous. It is a platform that takes Andalusia, and Spain as a whole, back in time to the pre-constitutional period. Vox aspires to a shameless form of recentralisation which in practice will turn autonomous regions into mere provincial councils, while stripping them of core powers such as education and healthcare. It is applying the policy to Andalusia while clearly having Catalonia in mind. Vox has also shown its obsession with foreigners by calling on the government of Andalusia to expel 52,000 undocumented immigrants. In addition, it has made its fight against feminism explicit by demanding that the law against gender violence be repealed. In other words, it denies the existence of what is actually a major problem. Vox also demonstrates its rancid Spanish nationalism, if not downright Neo-Francoist leanings, when it speaks of celebrating the Reconquista [when Christian kingdoms gradually retook control of the Iberian peninsula from the Moors].
All in all, the situation is somewhere between bizarre and truly disturbing. If this is the debate that is set to dominate the political agenda in the near future, it is not only a serious problem for Spain, but it may turn out to be a problem for European stability. Vox is setting the country back half a century and feeding the far-right populist wave which, in the hands of Le Pen in France and Orbán in Hungary, threatens to undermine the European Union.
The blame for the fact that we are now talking about this issue rests squarely with those who fed and nourished the monster, starting with former president Aznar and his media, followed by the PP headed by Casado, and Rivera’s Cs. Those who are now tearing their hair out over the absurd demands made by Abascal [Santiago Abascal is Vox’s leader] and his followers, are the very same people who have given him support during the shameful negotiations to gain power in Andalusia, along with those who for some time have been endorsing Vox’s discourse, in a crazed rivalry where Catalan independence is used as a scapegoat. Having made Vox powerful, the PP and Cs have painted themselves into a corner. They should never have started down such a path. From the very beginning, Casado has shown his weakness in debating and negotiating, abandoning gender violence policies from the start, perhaps aware that Vox’s voters come from his own party’s ranks. Meanwhile, Rivera appears uncomfortable, yet he has been unable to nip the problem in the bud. When will Vox‘s votes prove to be too many for Cs? What else will it take?
The problem is that now Vox is no longer simply an ideological accident. It is a dangerous reality: it represents the epitome of the reactionary forces which are dragging the Spanish political right, and with it Spain as a whole, towards a relapse, with the aim of erasing the consensus of 1978 which it claims to defend. It is the return of a nationalism filled with nostalgia for unity and with intolerance, increasingly incapable of understanding cultural and social plurality, including the liberation of women. And, unfortunately, it connects with a counter-reforming state of world opinion that includes both Trump and Bolsonaro in Brazil.