On Monday, September 6, in the central studios of Cadena SER, two former vice presidents of the Government (Carmen Calvo and Pablo Iglesias) and a former minister and current MEP (José Manuel García-Margallo) occupied the table together with the director of Hora 25, Aimar Bretos, in the new agora of the program. They repeated last Monday the 13th and will continue the rest of Monday of the season. It is not the first time nor will it be the last that politicians occupy the media gatherings, although now, as in the case of José Luis Ábalos and Susana Díaz in Everything is a lie (Four), the transition is dizzying. It has been a month and a half since Calvo or Ábalos, for example, were occupying their wallets. Also Ana Rosa Quintana, in Telecinco, has announced a political debate table with Díaz, Teresa Rodríguez and Macarena Olona.
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Why? Pablo Iglesias (United We Can), who jumped into politics precisely from the social gatherings, believes that it is in the media, and not in Parliament, where you can better debate politics. “What happens in Congress is not a debate, it is a series of monologues,” says Iglesias. “In a communication medium there is more space and more time,” says José Manuel García-Margallo (PP). “You can present your ideas and argue them. There the political discussion does not translate into the search for headlines and tweets ”. “In addition,” adds Margallo, “the Spanish, as Iglesias says, do not sign up for a political party, but for a television network.” The two, both Iglesias and Margallo, are old opponents of social gatherings. Carmen Calvo (PSOE), however, is new to these struggles and has premiered at SER. “I will not be in more places,” he assures. “I believe that when you leave the position, you have to continue taking care of the position. Because even if you don’t stay, the position does. Aesthetics is important, not to devalue the position as well ”. That is why if the gathering promises “prudence, calm and depth”, it is worth doing it. “If you have to interrupt and yell more than the other, not at all.”
In a communication medium there is more space and more time. You can present your ideas and argue them. There the political discussion does not translate into the search for headlines and tweets
Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo
“When you have at the table senior government officials or people who were,” explains Marta Flich, collaborator and substitute presenter of Everything is a lie, “You can get to the end of things. For the simple reason that the protagonists can tell everything. Journalists tend to simplify it a lot, to summarize our opinions or our information, and someone who has had political experience from the inside explains that everything is always much more complex ”. José Luis Ábalos is, precisely, one of the brilliant signings of Everything is a lie, presented by Risto Mejide. “I can say little about my first experience because it was almost an interview,” he says with a laugh. Admit, regarding these revolving doors that go from politics to the media, that when a media calls you “it is very difficult to say no.” Among other reasons, because with the personal proximity of the debate there is “more analysis, more recognition and more respect” in a gathering than in politics, where “hostility” prevails. He participated more than ten years ago in the Intereconomía debates – “I am hardened,” he comments – although he understands that his presence at the gathering tables is different now: “It will cost me more, after being a minister, to get out of the role of loyalty and party discipline ”.
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Aimar Bretos, director and presenter of Hora 25, comments on the spirit behind the program’s agora, that Monday table made up of Margallo, Calvo and Iglesias. “We were looking for a debate between people who are highly respected in their ideological spectra and who, at the same time, and precisely because of that respect earned, can allow themselves to say at all times what they really think without abiding by tactical party strategies or short-lived arguments ”. Margallo believes, for his part, that the displacement of a better political debate to the media “is not good news for representative democracy”, something caused by the “corseted and predictable” regulation of the institutions. “There are three people who have been in the state machine room,” adds Bretos about his new collaborators, “who know what in-depth debates are urgent in Spain and who can contribute their invaluable criteria. They could have chosen now to write or pontificate only for their public, without reply and with much applause from their own, but they have chosen to enrich the public debate. And the intellectual respect they have for each other can generate a high-level exchange from which we learn and which we all enjoy ”.
What is the preferred ideological adversary to debate Pablo Iglesias? “I would love to debate with Juan Manuel de Prada, an intellectual with a great culture and readings with whom I would be delighted to discuss and contrast his ideas with mine.” According to Iglesias, De Prada – also a collaborator of Hora 25 – is moving away from “the intellectual destitution of so many socialites who are also hopeless blunders.” And Margallo? “I love debating with Pablo Iglesias. He has some ideas to defend. With a socialist from Sánchez it is impossible because today he defends one thing and tomorrow the opposite. But Iglesias is clear and direct, and his model is antithetical and incompatible in everything with mine: he does not like representative democracy, he does not like capitalism and he is in favor of a Spain in which communities can renounce being part of her through unilateral referendums ”.
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