Manuela Carmena: “Not everything that the right does is wrong, nor everything that the left does right” | Ideas


A drawing with two muffins appears on the back cover of Manuela Carmena’s new book. And as an epilogue, the former mayor of Madrid includes some cooking recipes. Carmena (Madrid, 77 years old) cooked for his political rivals in an attempt to civilize the daily combat. It was a failure and the story of how it was forged nurtures the pages of The young politician. A plea for tolerance and criticism of the parties (Planet). It is not that the retired judge also abandons her always optimistic mood, but her vision is bitter: the public stage turned into a battlefield in which anything goes. Criticism reaches rivals and former colleagues. Of course, without falling into truculence or personal account adjustments.

QUESTION. You had not been directly in politics, but you were very close, did you not imagine it that way?

ANSWER. No. I was aware of the lack of freedom in the parties, that they do not delve into their objectives, that they remain in marketing … But not that the level of aggressiveness was so intense. And that politics became a war in which two elements are used: insults and disqualifications, and lies. That seems to me to be new, I had never experienced it.

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P. Are these vices the same on the right and left?

R. I think so. These attitudes are more intense in the opposition, but the power also fights it with similar weapons. And you have to see how the left sometimes behaves in opposition. Spokesmen for the PSOE said amazing things about me. It was quite absurd: they supported the government, but made it impossible for us to do some things.

Q. You say that you discovered the limits of power, that a judge has much more power than a politician.

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R. I never thought that it could be so difficult to exercise power, that I would go through tremendous processes due to those structures of political discredit. That a reasonable proposal can be turned into something ridiculous and then it is very difficult to raise it again as something reasonable. The policy is prepared to make the work of the Executive as difficult as possible. And then there is another tremendous thing, the judicialization of politics. Every step we took almost generated a lawsuit. And that produces an extraordinary paralysis. The judges have become an actor in politics without a doubt.

“I never thought it could be so difficult to exercise power, that it would go through tremendous processes”

P. Do judges make politics?

R. I defend the judicial control of politics, but it cannot be done from the bureaucratic formality of the norm. Judges have to descend into a balanced dialogue with policy makers. Sometimes the norm cannot be applied without further ado, sociological reality must be incorporated.

Q. But do the judges act out of political prejudice?

R. We all have a vision of life, it is your glasses with which you see things, I do not think there is a premeditation in general, with few exceptions. What happens is that the general vision of the judiciary is absolutely detached from reality, it is the vision of the rule of jurisprudence.

Q. You were leading a movement that came to end the old politics. Hence the disappointment?

R.Before I was very much in favor of the fact that the quarry of politics should be the social movements, but the vindictive associations also have a great capacity for sectarianism, they are often so isolated that they have difficulties in taking action. He had companions with an enormous will to transform things, but with great difficulty in transformation. His experience had been limited to protest movements. Some had no work experience. I was not able to make them aware that managing the public requires another attitude. The politician can do little if he does not modify the machinery of the institutions, which is not very agile, clumsy, bureaucratic, and when one comes from a world like that of protest associations, it is very difficult to modify it.

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Q. Singles out the media for contributing to the degradation of politics.

R. There has been a symbiosis between this war policy and the media. They have been framed in that war.

P. You maintain that there is no real political debate and much less in formats such as television debates.

R.Debates on television should be done differently, with a round table and having previously agreed data in front of them. And, from there, analyze the policies and recognize that one can be wrong with their policy, nothing happens because of that. You have to do these things without insulting yourself, without claiming that what you do is on the right or on the left. If one says that at a certain moment public-private collaboration can be useful, they come and they answer that the right does it. Sorry, let’s forget about it, let’s talk about specific things. Politics has to stop being just speeches.

“Feminism has transformed society without political parties or violence”

Q. Do you know Yolanda Díaz? What do you think the platform that drives?

R. I don’t know her, but the impression I have is very good. Feminism has managed to transform society without parties and without using violence. It would be important to insert real feminism into politics. Incorporating ordinary people who are not linked to any acronym is interesting, although difficult to articulate. The good thing about a platform like this would be that it sets objectives and accepts people who feel connected without the need for them to have a quality label on the political left.

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P. People endorse that policy in which gestures prevail more than management. There is the phenomenon of Ayuso.

R.When the parties do not have clear objectives, what determines is the sympathy that a leader can unleash. Mrs. Ayuso has a very natural way of acting. And it has conquered many without knowing what this relaxed and friendly attitude leads to, but which is extraordinarily conservative, that proposes irrational alternatives, that lies … Perhaps we should not vote only for the party, but for party initiatives. Problems must be solved. And not everything the right does is wrong, and not everything the left does is right. Sometimes a synthesis can be interesting

P. “They do not represent us”, it said 15-M. It does not worth for anything?

R. Grooves have been made. And, although these furrows have then been filled in with earth, we know how that earth can be removed. Sometimes failures are teachings. The processes are slow and must be done with hope. I am very optimistic, although optimists also have to criticize. And what I have seen in politics that is not going well I must say.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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