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The momentum of the polls that have catapulted the People's Party (PP) towards the government in the next Spanish elections was not enough, this Tuesday, for Alberto Núñez Feijóo to prevail over Pedro Sánchez in the first face-to-face encounter they have had, in the Senate, the only legislative chamber in which they can face each other, since the Galician politician is not a member of the Spanish lower house. Sánchez was far superior due to the rules that grant him unlimited speaking time, the parliamentary experience that gives him a rhetorical poise in these debates that Feijóo lacks, and the dialectical aggression that he put to good use, since he needs to weaken the figure of the PP president and, probably, confuse his opponent and present him as the representative of big companies, as if he, by contrast, was - to coin a phrase from a former PSOE politician, Alfonso Guerra - the representative of those without shirts on their backs.

Although the subject of the parliamentary debate was the energy measures, it was immediately seen that this was more the excuse than the objective. Sánchez showed that parliamentarianism is a trade and that he has it and, like any good survivor, with four threads he has enough material to tie down his adversary. Especially if the latter has not thoroughly prepared an address and wants to surf on the PSOE's crisis, the Spanish government's parliamentary pacts with ERC and Bildu, and has as his only proposal the offering of a poisoned chalice to Sánchez to abandon his allies and throw himself into the hands of the PP. This will not happen and least of all before the general election. Then the arithmetic will decide. The strangest aspect of the case is the mantra about a Spanish government making concessions to the Catalan independence movement. It is a great fallacy, but it ends up achieving results in Madrid: there is a hotbed where it can multiply, even if the reality is very different. Implanting the narrative has its importance and on this point, when it comes to propagating a lie, the Madrid media are unbeatable.

Pedro Sánchez has given up the political centre and is brazenly shifting to the left with two messages: his government is playing a Robin Hood role against the excessive wealth of the large companies, be they in banking or energy, and there will not be apocalyptic scenes over the coming months as a result of the war in Ukraine because the PSOE and Unidas Podemos have done their homework. He has left behind his not-so-disguised alliance of the past, in which he stood with the powerful, inviting them time and again to the Moncloa palace, and now he wants to court votes on the left of the Socialist area and among those demobilized by the at-times neoliberal politics that Sánchez has applied on various occasions during his years in power. He will, however, return to the centre if he can pick up the significant package from the former reserve of Socialist voters who, as has been seen in the last elections - especially in Andalusia - have turned their backs on him.

With this change in political direction, the PSOE is trying to return to positions it has lost not only in terms of being a reference point for the left, but also as a party defending Spanish unity and the repression of Catalan independence. That is why not so many days ago he once again put on his colours as a necessary collaborator with Mariano Rajoy in applying Article 155 and the consequent suppression of Carles Puigdemont's government and Catalan autonomy; that his government was behind the spying with Pegasus - officially recognized, at least in part; and more recently, the interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, did not hesitate to declare that it was "legitimate, suitable and appropriate" to plant undercover agents in youth movements to gather information, justifying it through "the violent actions of the independence movement". Can one be remain insensitive to such arbitrariness - probably, also illegal action - when a ministry report is linking independence and terrorism? Is it enough to react to this with no more than a statement, no matter how forceful? Is this what 'doing politics' means?