Andalusia, the discreet landscape of change

The story that began to be written in December 2018 promised. For the first time the PP came to the Government of Andalusia, one of the bastions of the PSOE maintained for almost 40 years in power. An unusual place where the history of democracy had been built on socialist policies with hardly a shadow of another ideology. Only the PSOE had set foot in the halls of San Telmo, seat of the Government of the Junta. Andalusia was decidedly an encapsulated place, a closed preserve, the refuge of socialism, until the argument changed that December 2018.

The story started and almost four years passed. But, have things changed in this legislature of the PP? Unexpected elements almost of a dystopian novel crept into the plot of the story, such as the health crisis due to an outbreak of listeriosis in contaminated food and a plague of Nile mosquitoes in the Guadalquivir, events that seemed to herald the catastrophes that were to come. It was the acid test with which the Government of Moreno Bonilla was already launched in the early summer of 2019. But then the true apocalypse arrived: the great pandemic, a tsunami that destroyed all the coastlines of Spain, naturally also those of Andalusia. The newspaper of the year of the plague shook the new Government, but the statistics were neither better nor worse than in the rest of Spain. The result was a modest success in managing the pandemic and the subsequent vaccination campaign.

But let’s take perspective on this legislature of the PP after the socialist era. We could summarize that the change has been calm. Or, to continue with the literary nods from the beginning, everything has changed to remain the same, which is not a bad motto for resistance in these uncertain times. It may be that Lampedusa syndrome roams Andalusia, a gatopardismo that has perhaps allowed changing the color of the curtains, upholstering the armchairs and doing some patching to the seams of this landscape background called Andalusia. Audits have been carried out that have revealed superfluous macrostructures within the Administration and auditing has been reinforced in search of transparency to forget episodes of corruption, although some speak of a simple make-up operation.

New winds have arrived in San Telmo, but nothing is new here. Everything is old. Very old. Not only the ancient stones whipped by the Levante wind or the forests of Sierra Morena, whose wood was used for the ships of the Carrera de Indias with which an empire was born. However, the historical lesson is that Andalusia was the economic head of that empire and now that history lies in the wrecks of overseas shipwrecks and in the files of the archives that with a breath turn to dust. Here everything soon becomes old. It must be the hurtful sun that wears out the new color of things.

The PSOE was in power for nearly 40 years and seemed to enjoy the immortality of centuries-old empires. But the PP has been in office for less than four years and seems to have been living in offices for decades. There is a naturalness as if you had been there all your life. A perennial custom. An aspiration to permanence, which is what the polls point to. But do not trust, because there are new characters in the dramatis personae of this work.

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Vox’s support for the PP has resulted in recent years in a relative harassment of the PP’s management. And now, with her gallery of topics as if people were here dressed up from party to party, Macarena Olona arrives to threaten the calm government of Moreno Bonilla.

In these almost four years, from the Adelante Andalucía platform, Teresa Rodríguez has matured a disenchanted and hard-line Andalusianism to battle from the South against what is decided in the offices of Madrid. Meanwhile, the rest of the left, commanded by Inmaculada Nieto, are diluted in that gazpachuelo called Por Andalucía, which has the morbidity of being a rehearsal for Yolanda Díaz’s broad front.

Ciudadanos, with Juan Marín, has been diluted in that calm government of change, but it keeps inside the intuition of an honorable epilogue. Faced with the noise that has set fire to other places, the alliance between Ciudadanos and PP has worked well, and that is already a sign of strange political distinction.

And, meanwhile, the PSOE of Juan Espadas is still surprised by what was and is no longer, like a Boabdil who continues to cry for the lost kingdom, trying to reconquer what was once his. The wear and tear of the decades of government and the cases of corruption together with a stage of lack of leadership have also helped the consolidation of Moreno Bonilla.

And it is that the leader of the Andalusian PP has been acquiring an unexpected aura of a hero, a composure of a calm man who has been well suited by the suit that the capricious chances of the political winds had destined for him. With that role of a moderate man, he has drawn his character with a profile of a certain Andalusian independence, something that sells well in the current political coordinates.

However, the problems remain the same: the poor structural figures, rather than circumstantial, because they are endemic ills of Andalusia that could go back to the times of the Reconquest, when the Repartimiento was made between the nobles who were advanced on the border and the new territories were divided into large estates. Then there were others distributions in the 19th century so that Andalusia would be the silo of Spain, while other places industrialized. This has determined the historical destiny of the South, although it is true that there are current figures that show a certain positive balance in economic and employment terms. Tourism —because of so much beauty— continues to be the salvation. But we must not forget that the system of essential public services is affected, especially Health, although the situation is similar in the rest of Spain.

It has been called the Government of Change, but the reforms carried out have not been done in a disruptive or radical way; perhaps only in the manner of Moreno Bonilla, the quiet man. A transformation —if it has been— that has been characterized by being stealthy and discreet. The settling of accounts has not been too flashy, nor has the damnatio memoriae what the Romans did to erase all traces of the powerful overthrown. In general, it seems that the same thing is still happening, although with different characters.

As in a suspense novel, we will have to continue reading to see how this story that began in December 2018 continues. All the narrative possibilities are on the board. The story is exciting, although unfortunately there is an inevitable – and, on the other hand, bewitching – distorting element: Andalusia will serve as a testing ground for national politics. The Parliament of Andalusia will be analyzed to see how the success or attrition of the political forces works on their way to the Congress of Deputies. And it is somewhat frustrating to be secondary actors, when not simple extras without a phrase, in our own biopic autonomous.

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