Díaz Ayuso’s electoral script is more vulnerable than in 2021

Díaz Ayuso's electoral script is more vulnerable than in 2021

You have to have a great political passion or be very nervous to wait for a Saturday at eleven o’clock at night with your pistol drawn in case it is necessary to use it. You also have to have few scruples to use the death of one of the great directors in the history of Spanish cinema in order to gain a few political points in the fight against your rival. It was at the Goya gala that Carlos Saura’s family thanked him for the care he received at a Madrid hospital. “The only thing that we think with Carlos is that public health deserves to be taken care of, as public personnel take care of us,” said Eulalia Ramón.

The propaganda machine does not even rest on weekends. Someone gave the order to activate it. The official Twitter account of the Community of Madrid boasted that the Collado Villalba hospital “is public-private management”, lest the tribute be kept only by public health. In her personal account, Isabel Díaz Ayuso was more restrained and limited herself to thanking “the tribute that she has paid to Madrid’s healthcare.”

“For those of you who think that the Ayuso government cannot be more cruel and petty. Yes, they can,” wrote Alejandra Jacinto, deputy for Podemos. Twitter users who do not hold political office were more aggressive in their responses.

All this occurred about twelve hours after the demonstration in favor of public health, which brought together 250,000 people on Sunday, according to the Government Delegation, a higher figure than in the previous appointment on November 13. It was the massive mobilization that the conveners had demanded to denounce the lack of doctors in Primary Care and Emergencies, and the waiting lists.

The Popular Party has launched two different response models. The national management is committed to relativizing the situation of Madrid’s health and affirming that the lack of personnel also exists in other regions. “Thinking that there is only one problem with healthcare in Madrid may reflect a partisan mentality, but it does not respond to reality,” Borja Sémper said on Monday.

The PP of Madrid does not accept even that. His official speech is similar to what the musician Nacho Cano said a few weeks ago. Díaz Ayuso not only saved Madrid, but all of Spain. And he did not save all of Europe, because he was involved with other things, like fighting against the perfidious Sánchez. It is what they kept throughout the pandemic and they are not going to get out of that script, which is certain that it worked for them in the May 2021 elections.

“Madrid’s healthcare is the second best in Europe,” said Díaz Ayuso in what must be understood as a gesture of humility inappropriate for her. Typically he would have said that it is the best in Europe since the invention of penicillin.

Díaz Ayuso and his faithful are embarking on a path that European governments usually flee like the plague: confronting health personnel. Doctors and nurses hold the top positions in surveys of the professions with the best image almost everywhere in the world. Nurses have been in the first position in the annual Gallup studies in the US for twenty years. In second position are the doctors. In Germany, doctors are ahead. In the United Kingdom, the latter only have scientists above them. The numbers are similar in Spain.

People admire the health professional because they attend to them when health problems leave them in the most vulnerable situation. They also give them credibility when it comes to knowing how the health system works.

Sneering at a demonstration in support of healthcare or staff going on strike is a bad political idea. Voters are also patients or are children or grandchildren of patients.

A survey carried out in December and commissioned by the Madrid government revealed that the concern for the state of health is real in the Community of Madrid, and not only among left-wing voters. This is the first problem for its inhabitants above the economic situation and inflation at a great distance. The trend is confirmed when the respondent talks about his personal situation. 46.9% say that it is their most serious problem, while 19% point to inflation. Among the first is one in three PP voters.

All this means that voters know that public health does not work, not because the opposition parties have said so, but because they are suffering personally, especially when they make an appointment with their GP. If Ayuso tells them that primary care works perfectly, they will wonder if their president has consumed something stronger than beer.

This poll is not totally negative for the electoral interests of the PP, but it places it far from an absolute majority, a goal that may be beyond its possibilities. It is unrealistic to think that in the time remaining until the May elections, the Madrid health system can change its vital signs, even if it receives more funds, which is not going to happen.

Curiously, in a report that appeared this weekend in El País on the electoral strategies of the parties for this year of two elections, there are some revealing words from Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Ayuso’s chief of staff and his teacher of the dark arts. They ask him about the greatest weakness of the president of Madrid. “Let the idea that health in Madrid does not work spread among citizens,” he replies.

That interview was probably done weeks ago. His words are not a consequence of the events of the last few days. Surely Rodríguez has been thinking about something to reverse that state of opinion for a long time. This time, allusions to the constitutional right to canes and terraces will not work, which, although it does not exist in the Magna Carta, was imprinted in the minds of many voters as if it were the stamp of a cattle ranch on the back of the cattle.

The 2021 elections took place in a specific social and political context in which Díaz Ayuso translated into votes the exhaustion of the population of Madrid due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, as well as her status as a heroine of the right for her attacks on Sánchez . The first no longer exists. The second is already a bit amortized.

What it has not yet controlled is the impact of citizen criticism for the state of primary care and emergencies. Some voters will take it personally if they are of an age for recurring health problems. Angering patients at the healthcare system is a bad idea if you’re going to need them at the polls.

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Written by Editor TLN

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