Since the mid-1990s, policies centered on the short termismthat the successive economical crisis they have been stirring up Meanwhile, successive governments have undaunted the deterioration of the services on which welfare and quality of lifemainly from the less favored social classes, slowly in the early years and rapidly after events such as the pandemic covid-19 and the ukrainian war.
In this context, in our country the political environment has become more rarefied, thanks to the radicalization of relations — public, at least — between the different parties and their leaders, who, almost permanently, engage in mutual disqualifications . While proposals to address the citizenship issues –rather rare– are relegated to a secondary level.
Depending on the ideological field in which the opponents are located, the few proposals made in the social field may have a more or less progressive character and support for the social classes with more economic problems.
For example, the current center-left coalition government influences with greater intensity — not always correctly — in the injection of resources and aid to the most disadvantaged while the conservative opposition is essentially dedicated to criticizing and paralyzing the government’s measures, in some cases with methods that border on the unconstitutional.
In this playing field, which some describe as a real quagmire, problems continue to increase — including health problems — which only aggravate the misadventures of a citizenry that attends more and more concerned, although until today rather passively, to the deterioration of these and other essential public services such as education and social services.
“The parties of the progressive spectrum seem to have serious difficulties to generate and assume innovative initiatives that stop this deterioration”
Although the European welfare states created after the WWII arose through more or less imperfect agreements between the political parties of one block and the other, the conservative parties have embraced, with increasing enthusiasm, the postulates of a neoliberalism for which the maintenance of the welfare state It is by no means a priority.
And the parties of the spectrum progressive seem to have serious difficulties in generating and assuming innovative initiatives that stop this deterioration and, in many cases, they limit themselves to trying to cover up with simple patches tears in the taut seams of welfare systems and quality of lifeincluding the toilet.
Dismantling of public health, and more
Thus, when facing the health crisis, it is worth bearing in mind the tendency towards the gradual but persistent dismantling of the structures of the welfare state as a whole and not only of the sanitary system.
In Spain, and referring to two basic pillars of the welfare state, health and education, these were the first two major reforms that were launched (1985-1986) in the democratic era. In the educational field we are going by the eighth organic law and in the health sector we only have the one promulgated in 1986, the General Health Lawrecognizing that the public health It hasn’t even been deployed.
If we consider the latest events, mainly related to the problems of the Primary and Community Careit is evident that both the central and regional governments of one type or another have not shown a determined predisposition to address the problems in an innovative way or to design solutions capable of stopping the deterioration denounced by wide professional sectors and citizens. Both of them continue to be anchored in ideologically immobile positions, at least in everything related to the reconsideration of the sanitary model and social support.
As we have stated previously, it does not seem right to us to place ourselves in an ideological equidistance that abstracts from the different progressive and conservative positions in relation to the welfare state, but we do believe that a wake up call to those who have advocated its defense for centuries, so that they abandon a certain collaborationist attitude with those who have always been in favor of its disappearance or, at least, of reducing it to its minimum expression.
“The active involvement of society is essential. Particularly of those who are aware -and have benefited- from the benefits of the welfare state”
Putting this strategic shift into practice does not seem like an easy task, but it is not impossible to continue looking for alternatives that, based on the political rationality and in the viability of the proposals, are capable of reversing the tendency of the deterioration of the social protection shield in our country.
It is possible that the emergency new political formations of a progressive naturemore transversal than the current ones, that absolutely prioritize ideological and social dialogue and flee from exacerbated dogmatismsat least in the field of proposing solutions to serious pending problems, can contribute effectively and efficiently to help us get out of the hole, at least not to keep digging ever deeper.
Of course, for this it is essential to active involvement of society. Particularly those who are aware –and have benefited– of the benefits of the welfare state.
because the responsibility of the situation is not exclusive to the leaders of the political parties — of the caste as some like to say — which, of course, is not innocent.