The PP and Ciudadanos reiterated yesterday that Wednesday was a historic day because for the first time in 40 years there is an agreement to remove the PSOE from power in Andalusia. But, in fact, yesterday was a historic day for a much more important reason: after 40 years the far right will once again control a government in Spain and impose its agenda on society. The attempt by the PP, and especially by Albert Rivera’s party, to get the support of Vox for free came to nothing. In exchange for voting in Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla as president, the ultras negotiated with the PP a 37 point document that includes the core of their ultra-conservative ideology, and forces concessions such as creating a Ministry of the Family, repeals the law of historical memory, and makes it easier for parents to prevent their children from receiving education that does not sit well with their values.
The document agreed upon, despite the PP's ability to dodge specific commitments, is a statement of principles and includes the pillars of the reactionary ideology that is advancing around the globe: furious nationalism, xenophobia, racism, traditionalism, and a fervent defense of a less moderate capitalist system and the economic status quo. There are virtually no references to social policies, as if there were no poor Andalusians, in the entire agreement.
The PP made the mistake of embracing Vox and buying into its ideas thinking that in this way it could steal some of its strength, when it is just the opposite. What it is doing is feeding a monster that will end up gobbling up a good part of its voters. But the attitude of Ciudadanos is much more hypocritical: yesterday they sought to pretend that they had nothing to do with the PP-Vox agreement, as if it did not exist, in an attempt to conceal from the public that the political change they promised in the campaign will be achieved arm-in-arm with the far right. Albert Rivera has a big problem because he has already earned the rejection of some of his European partners, such as the French president Emmanuel Macron, and has destroyed Manuel Valls’ campaign for mayor of Barcelona city.
But no smoke screen is thick enough to hide the implicit pact between the far right and Ciudadanos, which —let us not forget— is the largest group in the Parliament of Catalonia. In addition, as the General Secretary of Vox, Javier Ortega Smith, warned, this has only just begun. And now comes the negotiation of budgets and the passing of laws. Each pact, each joint vote with the right-wing populists, will undermine the myth that Ciudadanos is a centrist, pro-Europe party. It will be tarnished forever.
Everything points to the idea that, despite yesterday's forced smiles from Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla and Juan Marín, what is coming now looks a lot like an ordeal in which Vox, who has its hands on the tiller, will have all it needs to win by controlling the government from the outside. And maybe one day the PP and Ciudadanos will realize that they paid too high a price to deliver on their promise to remove the PSOE from the government of Andalusia. But by then perhaps it will be too late.