The hectic schedule of Esteban González Pons is no obstacle to attending with great kindness to LA RAZÓN and chatting about his book ‘El escaño de Satana’. He steals hours of sleep every day to carry out his work as an MEP in Brussels, attend to his functions in the Popular Party from the capital of Spain, share some time with his family in Valencia and, in addition, carry out the promotional campaign for his fifth work literary.
Have you already forgiven Mariano Rajoy for gutting the novel in the presentation?
Mariano recounted part of the political plot, but not the historical one, nor that of terror, nor what is discovered about the Congress of Deputies. I think what he did was a good trailer for this novel.
Did you have to do an interview with the vampire to write it?
I have gone through the basements of the Congress of Deputies and also the space between the roof and the ceiling of the hemicycle as if I were looking for the phantom of the opera to discover any place where the vampire could hide and to get to the point where which are the catacombs below.
The book starts with a devoured socialist deputy. Have they made any comments?
No, but then deputies from all political parties are devoured. What my colleagues have reproached me the most is that the book reveals the type of life that the deputies live in Madrid and they are worried that their wives and husbands will read it.
How long can you hold that pace?
The life of the provincial deputy in Congress has something of life in a college, of university life. They live a kind of ‘political erasmus’. The one that can extend it for a lifetime.
Can reality be stranger than fiction?
When this book was finished, my editor and I thought it had gone too far. Later, many of the things that are told in the book have been fulfilled. My conclusion, after a year that it has been written before being published, is that in today’s Spain dystopias are fulfilled.
Is Congress currently the house of terror?
In the movie ‘Poltergeist’ the house is haunted because it is located on an Indian burial ground. The Congress of Deputies is built on a 16th and 17th century cemetery, therefore it has as many reasons to be a mysterious house as a ‘Poltergeist’. Seen from Cedaceros street at sunset, it looks like a terrifying mansion. I wouldn’t want to be locked up for a night alone in that palace because I’m sure there are ghosts.
You say in the book that in the end the good guys always win, isn’t there a middle ground?
The vast majority of politicians are good, the one that is bad is politics. Politicians are good people locked in a perverse space that is that of politics. What happens is that the good things that we enjoy such as pensions, education or rights also come out of politics. It can be said that political good is achieved through political evil. That is why I say in the book that God is reached in politics through Satan.
If monsters don’t come from extremes, all you have to do is apply logic…
We are the first generation of Spaniards since the Romans arrived in the Iberian Peninsula that has not known a war. And we are the first generation of Spaniards since the battle of Trafalgar that has not known a civil war. Because we are the first generation that was able to build bridges in the center. In Spanish politics, the monsters come neither from the extreme right nor from the extreme left, they are favored by the political center when it disappears. A well opens that reaches hell and vampires come out of there. If we wanted Spain to have a reasonable future, the first thing we would have to do is build bridges between the right and the left again. It is desirable. The day they definitely separate, the light of the Constitution of 78 will go out.
If you had to rewrite the book today, would it change a lot?
No, I would have to add to the hype because reality has gotten the better of me. The chapter in which an invasion of Congress by bizarre characters and geeks is told was started before the invasion of the Capitol in the US took place and I had to adapt it so as not to fall short of what had just happened with the “Trumpists” in America .
Has journalism been more distorted than politics?
Journalists and politicians have experienced the devaluation that social networks have imposed on us. Journalists have become professionals who work only for people over 35 and politicians are becoming representatives only of people over 35. Below that age it is difficult to find a citizen who is guided by the media or who feels represented by traditional politicians. We have to make an effort each other to adapt representative democracy to the time of Twitter, Tik-tok and Enstragram. Now, in the book, journalists appear as inhabitants of the bubble in which we politicians live and have affective and hateful relationships, they are born, live, reproduce and die together. Politicians have Twitter to reach the youngest and journalists use it to reach new readers, but neither is politics or journalism.
Who is satan in Congress today?
Satan is satan, he has his own seat, he is nobody. He is one more deputy and has a seat as God has. Sometimes he wins one and other times the other, but in a Parliament as Cainite as ours it is obvious that since this began satan always had a seat.
Could it be said that we are closer to hell than to heaven today?
It can be said that the crack that separates the left from the right has opened and that the vampires and demons of Spanish politics are beginning to rear their heads.
How will the Constitutional conflict end?
The next general elections could lead to the closing of the pit that has opened and which leads to hell in the Congress of Deputies, and for us to return to coexisting left and right, or on the contrary, it could cause the pit to widen more. I am betting on Núñez Feijóo as the new president of the Government because I believe that he will be a president of harmony, dialogue and consensus. Feijóo is going to be a modern president with the ancient virtues of the transition.
How do you perceive that the book is being received?
This time I am finally getting to be seen as a writer, as a writer who does politics, and not like before that he was always seen as a politician who wrote. I appreciate being treated like a writer because after five books I’ve already earned that right. And the second thing is that he is liking me more than I expected. Whoever is reading it is having a lot of fun and I hope that in Seville it will have a plus of recognition since my protagonist is a Sevillian deputy from Corona y Sierpes street, from the EleEle party, which is the old Ciudadanos.
How is Spain seen from Brussels with everything that is going on?
From Brussels, Spain continues to be that original European country, so incomprehensible. It is not understood in Brussels that such a consolidated democracy is presenting conflicts of insecure and uncertain democracy like the Hungarians or the Poles. Until now there were doubts about the Spanish economy, but not about politics. In recent months in Brussels, the red light has come on on Spanish politics and the fear that it will lead to an illiberal democracy like the Hungarian or Polish ones. It’s scary that they think that about us.