This is how the PP attributes the Government’s achievements to confuse the public

The attribution of responsibilities in a decentralized state, such as Spain, is substantial. In such a way that the reward or punishment of a government is largely understood by the responsibility attributed to it for the public policies deployed. It is about answering a question: ‘who does what?’. But the parties hinder something as logical as connecting each measure with its manager. Especially when it comes to clearly positive decisions.

The latest example of this struggle has been the story about the stabilization of 67,000 toilets approved by the Government. The PP came out as quickly as possible to take away the merit: “He has made an announcement that does not correspond to him,” he criticized Elijah Bendodo, general coordinator of the popular. Pissed off because the electorate identified the plan to make more than 67,000 toilets permanent with the management of Pedro Sánchez, he said: “That of teasing people is already good.” It is true that Spain had to adapt its regulations to comply with the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the abuse of temporary employment in public employment, but it is no less true that the measure had to be approved by the Council of Ministers. The measure is a continuation of a reform announced in July 2021 by the Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function.

“I tell President Sánchez that the Government of Spain does not even know how to hire a doctor,” said Bendodo. In reality, the measure does not mean the hiring of 67,000 toilets, since these positions are already covered, something that the autonomous communities would have to do. It is that, by law, it will be prevented that there are health professionals who chain more than three years of temporary contracts. But the opposition discourse revolved around who had done what.

It is a constant that the attribution or rejection of powers of each administration are the key to the political narrative. A month ago the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, made a grandiose announcement: she would review the content of textbooks to avoid “indoctrination”. She could not do it because the regional government does not have the power to do so, but she still launched the proposal.

These Ayuso traps are recurrent. Last week the reduction of university fees was noted. “We approved in the Governing Council”, celebrated the Madrid president. The reality is that Ayuso had to make this forced decision and at the time the Community of Madrid was left alone among all the regions voting against this measure.

Around with the employment data

Add and continue. Every month, with the employment data, it is customary for Genoa and the autonomous communities to clash in their analyses. Again, the answer lies in the battle for the attribution of powers. While at the national level the good figures to oppose the Government are despised, their regional presidents celebrate them and show off their chests. As long as they are good, of course.

If Moreno Bonilla was quick to boast of the data for the month of May – “we continue to add positive data,” he said – with those for June he has not followed the same strategy. Andalusia has been the only autonomous community where unemployment has risen this month and the Andalusian president has lowered his profile. If the results are not good, it is preferable to avoid responsibility and if they are, try to identify with them.

The truth is that since the Ministry of Labor approved the labor reform, the data on permanent contracts have experienced unprecedented growth and the trend in employment is positive.

But without a doubt, the clearest example of this strategy in political discourse was seen with the attempt to attribute responsibility for the management of nursing homes during the pandemic to former President Pablo Iglesias. The Community of Madrid tried to get the then Minister of Social Rights to assume the political attrition due to the deaths due to Covid-19 and a management that is still in question now. The competitions were autonomous.

Decentralization and coalition government make it easy

Much has been studied and written about this from the fields of sociology and political science and, in addition to party interference, there is evidence of environments or factors that influence the clarity with which citizens attribute responsibilities. One of the most significant is the decentralized state. The level of decentralization in Spain is high and this makes it more difficult to identify the powers at each level of government.

Coalition governments and the tensions inherent to coexistence in the executive of two or more parties also have a negative influence on the correct attribution of responsibilities.

And a third factor no less important: our political look. Voters are likely to blame a level of government that is not governed by the political party with which they identify when things go wrong. A mechanism that works best when the information is negative, that is, when looking for a culprit.


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