Investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett said that “only when the tide goes out do you know who was swimming naked”. Well, the tide has come out in one fell swoop, and how. We don’t remember a tide like that; at the time of writing we have 3,434 dead in Spain and what we have left. In a crisis that no one of my generation or of my old father’s remembers, everyone’s masks are melting away and what is there appears. We are like in Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes, in which it turns out that the King was naked!
We’re very naked in terms of content. A new style of press conference has been inaugurated and now, in order to ask the President and the Ministers in the hearings on the occasion of the coronavirus crisis, we have to pass the selection of the Secretary of State for Communication, Miguel Ángel Oliver. Thus, previously selected questions are formulated and answered where there is no possibility of cross-examination. This is unthinkable in the United States, France and Italy. The questions are asked without censorship. Could it be that here we are naked in content and cannot take steps beyond the argument; leaders know how to face uncomfortable questions, uncomfortable situations and can improvise because the argument of coherence is standard.
And it seems that the argument of coherence is held by the Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida; he answers uncomfortable questions; he faces uncomfortable situations and makes uncomfortable but convenient decisions for the good of all of us who live in Madrid. And where what abounds around us is the nakedness of content, a leader with common sense and management skills emerges. Almeida decides with rigour and anticipation and all his public interventions have been clear, understandable and have had a great deal of echo on the social networks where those who until recently mocked him have ended up recognising his capacity to lead an unparalleled crisis. Almeida embodies management capacity over ideology; unity and non-confrontation to focus on solving the problem.
It is now when the tide is very low and you can see very well who is naked when an above-average intelligence comes out. Almeida’s attitude to an extreme situation has been to show his face from the outset by anticipating the measures taken by the government. Of the 549 million euros in surplus for 2019, the Mayor would like to allocate 420 million to adopt economic and social measures to alleviate the effects of the coronavirus; the Stability Act and the Government do not allow this surplus to be used and Madrid will only have 20 million of these 420 million.
What comes out of Almeida is a genuine concern for efficiency and for the citizens. We are going beyond the argument. Principles, values and preparation cannot be improvised. Almeida says that “Madrid united is unbeatable. Our values and the pride of our city will help us move forward”. I also believe this, Mr Mayor, and I also believe that this time Andersen’s story would have another ending and the child would say: That the King was dressed!
Lucía Casanueva González
Managing partner at Proa Comunicación