- Then we had the PR blocking the idea of regionalization. You're right.
First, resurrecting regionalization would split the country in half. Now the country needs cohesion, not more cleavages and divisions.
Second: regionalizing now would be hypocrisy. So they haven't completed decentralization yet and already want to do regionalization? Have you not given the current municipalities the powers they should give and already want to create new municipalities?
Third, moving forward with the idea of creating regions would give the populists an opportunity to gain ground. There are two charges that would soon emerge:
- First, the charge that the state will have more expenses;
- Then the accusation that the state will create more political office – regional deputies, regional rulers, deputies, advisers, secretaries. This is politically fatal!
Finally, I think this debate starts badly. This regionalist "pressure" to start with mayors is bad. Fairly or unfairly, it legitimizes the suspicion that many mayors want to regionalize so that, having ended their municipal mandates, they have other political places to go. This suspicion may be unfair. But in politics sometimes what it looks like is!
- The Health Crisis This week we have had bad news, an important study and good news.
- Bad news – The emigration of doctors. According to Expresso, this year may break a record (400 doctors leaving the country). Cause – SNS degradation. Consequences – worsening patient care and training of new doctors.
- Important study – A study by the OECD and a European Health Observatory ensures: First, that the Portuguese pay out of pocket on health more than the European average; second, that the Portuguese state invests in health less than the European average. That is, citizens spend too much and the state invests less.
- Good news – The PM announced that a plan to combat health budgeting is under preparation. If it's not just advertising, it's positive.
But there is a bottom line. More investment is needed, but not enough. Throwing money at problems is no solution. The crisis in the NHS does not end with funding. There are problems of management, organization, innovation and motivation. This is a good time for the government to test a new idea: to apply in public hospitals the rules that have been successful in health PPPs.
- Whether or not you like PPPs in health, the truth is that, according to all studies, they have proven that you can do more and better in health with less money and greater patient satisfaction.
- So why don't these public PPP management rules apply in public hospitals? In the end, if there is profit, it does not go to the private. It is in the state and applies to new equipment, technology or people.
- If, for ideological reasons, you want to end PPPs, do it. But at least save the essentials: the good management rules that worked. Take them to public hospitals. This is being constructive and pragmatic.
- Within weeks we will have the new budget. For now, a novelty: one can see that it is being "made" in the public square. Last week, Carlos César and Ana Catarina Mendes "pressed" in public Mário Centeno to the Minister of Finance (MF) to give more money to health; This week, through the public, the MAI "pressed" the MF to give more money to the Security Forces; Just yesterday, in Expresso, the MF responded to all these pressures and said it would not give in to the budget surplus.
- This is new in the António Costa era. Never seen of this in the past. But this is bad news: this shows that there is discomfort within the Government, loss of cohesion between Ministers, PM and MF on a collision course. Bad for everyone.
- Bad for Centeno – This is proof that the MoF has lost authority within the Government. It is no longer respected as before. It's because? Because it's a term minister. But a minister in the long run is always a diminished and less respected minister. And it's going to get worse and worse in the future – Centeno is no longer a solution and a problem. It was no longer an asset and it was a nightmare. And the later you leave, the worse!
- Bad for António Costa – It's a bad precedent for the PM. It also represents a loss of power and authority. If Ministers turn to the press to send messages to each other, this means that they no longer believe in the arbitral power of the PM.
- I do not know if this behavior of Ministers is consented or authorized by the PM. But the truth is that it undermines your authority.
- And it legitimizes the idea that it is weaker than it was before. Four years ago Costa had an electoral defeat but, with the contraption, came out strong and politically victorious; now he has had an electoral victory but, because it was a poor victory, he looks weaker and politically defeated.
JOACINE AND THE FREE
I find this soap opera involving Livre and its Mrs Joacine deplorable.
- Firstly, deplorable on the part of Mrs Joacine. A deputy is chosen by the people to have political ideas, political initiatives and political proposals. In this plan, this MP has been a void. There is no idea, no initiative, no proposal. Just show off, vedetismo and even lack of democratic culture.
It is the new richness applied to politics. What is a new rich? You are a dazzled, convinced, exhibitionist person who wants to get on with an ego the size of the world. This is what Mrs Joacine has been. A disappointment.
- The acting of the Free has also been deplorable – doubly deplorable.
First: Livre cannot complain about the MP. It was Livre who chose her. And by choosing her, he already knew what he was choosing. He chose mediatism and vedetism. Well If you have opted for mediaism and vedetism, you cannot now want a discreet, sober, aligned and disciplined Member. Rather, mediatism gave him the election. Now give him this conflicting relationship. He who sows winds reaps storms! The truth is that Joacine and Livre are not a party. They are two different parties.
Second: Livre seems to want to initiate a disciplinary inquiry against Mrs Joacine. Another deplorable initiative. Whether you like it or not, she has not committed any disciplinary offense. She had political flaws. But political failures cannot be resolved by disciplinary action. Another disappointment.
- About halfway through the presidential term in Angola, many say President João Lourenço's state of grace is over. Let's see: Angola is experiencing a very serious economic and social crisis.
Economically – Angola is in a similar situation to what we had here in 2011. Here we had the Troika. There is the IMF. The revenue is always the same – austerity, currency devaluation, belt tightening, lack of investment and growth, brutal loss of purchasing power.
Socially – Unemployment above 30%. Youth unemployment above 50%. Moreover, in a country that has a very young population (as opposed to Portugal) and has practically no social status. There is, for example, no unemployment benefit. This can be explosive.
- This causes wear and tear and this can have serious consequences:
- 2020 Municipalities – A dilemma: If there are municipalities next year, the ruling party could be seriously dealt with a yellow card. If they are postponed, the Government can be strongly discredited.
- Presidential 2022 – If the economy does not recover by 2022, the upcoming presidential elections could be a huge headache for President João Lourenço. Even for an additional reason – for the first time in many years Unita has just elected a credible leader who can be a heavyweight opponent rather than an opponent of circumstance.
In conclusion: President João Lourenço's reforms are globally positive and moving in the right direction, but as long as there are no results, hope is difficult. He is not to blame for the economic crisis, but is a victim of its consequences.