“We lost. I realise I’ve become a scapegoat that serves to mobilise the darkest anti-democratic forces,’ former Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias told a group of party supporters.

This is a critical turn of phrase not only as regards the triumph of conservative forces in Madrid’s regional elections but also because it encapsulates a certain truth.

Podemos as a political product has an expiration date and has failed to take root as a pole of democracy and progressivism, despite its participation in Spain’s coalition government.

Populism and verbalism are not a good compass and that has by now been demonstrated throughout Europe, which is seeking to find its course after the pandemic and is grappling with economic challenges that cannot be addressed by magicians in apprenticeship.

The most important issue is not that Isabel Diaz Ayuso triumphed in Madrid. Finding a persuasive plan for the peoples of Europe is now the overarching challenge.

This is the issue that will soon be at stake in Greece as well. Transcending the collective crisis will require leadership and not troublemakers. It will require a roadmap toward a new normalcy and not a pole of destabilisation.

The era of anti- bailout memorandum mayhem is over. Now we are in the midst of the transition toward a green economy, the new digital reality, and the pairing of the market and society.

Iglesias’s former comrades in Greece would do well to keep this in mind.

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