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30 de juny 2016

'Better to have a corrupt [Spain] than a broken one'

 Update (January 2017):  The final document of "RAUCIP 2017: Recent Advances in Undermining Catalonia's Independence Process. 1st International Conference" (Madrid Dec 28, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) (website) is now available in PDF formatp. 5–30. 


English transation of an article, "Antes corrupta que rota", by Ferran Sáez Mateu, published in Ara on June 28 2016, at 19:28. 


Let me start with a worn cliché: life is strange. Very strange. When the daily newspaper Público began to explain an alleged conspiracy between the [Spanish interior] minister Fernández Díaz and the director of the Anti-fraud Office to discredit Catalan politicians with false data, many thought, "The PP are going to take a hammering!". It turns out, however, that on those same dates, 48 ​​hours before the Spanish elections, the prospects for the PP began to improve. Everyone attributed it to Brexit. In fact, on Sunday night I heard this strange theory a dozen times but the truth is that none of those that held to it were able to credibly explain that relationship, probably because it does not exist. I mean, it is rather unlikely that a man in Carrión de los Condes or a woman in La Almunia de Doña Godina who intended to vote Pablo Iglesias suddenly chose to vote for Rajoy as a result of something that happened in the UK. 

However, other things - more important to most Spaniards - happened before Sunday. Two patriots, Sr. Fernández Díaz and Sr. Daniel Alfonso, had risked their careers and - and, depending on how things eventually work out, other things as well - to defend the indissoluble unity of Spain. "I am Spanish above all", said Alfonso. The first part of the sentence is very respectable; note, however, the addition: "above all". Does that "above all" refer to the existing laws? Sr. Carrión de los Condes or Sra. La Almunia de Doña Godina, on hearing this, realized clearly that the only way to erect a barrier to hold back Catalan independence was to once again vote for the testicular PP, with the stink of a sol y sombra liquor mix and a toothpick behind one's ear. Even those who had moved over to vote for Ciudadanos thought better, which is why the number of votes gained by the PP and lost by Rivera's party are almost exactly, even grotesquely, the same. Iglesias [Podemos] lost steam for the same reason: even after having clarified the issue of the [Catalan] referendum, his potential voters changed their minds.  

For the time being Spain is a country that pats the back of people that claim to have destroyed the Catalan public health system 

The big loser was Pablo Iglesias, despite having retained his MPs. The PSOE's results [Socialists] also fit in with the explanation that we have given: voting for them meant risking Podemos being allowed into the government, or even to lead it. The cases of Andalusia and Extremadura, which are the communities that would be most affected by the independence of Catalonia, are especially significant. Despite the leftist singsong of their leaders, especially Susana Díaz, southern Spain has voted for the moth-eaten, rotten right (in the case of Extremadura, with 40% of votes). 'Better to have a corrupt [Spain] than a broken one...' 

The direct conclusion is as follows: in the present circumstances, Spain cannot be reformed. Maybe in a generation or two, this might be possible, but for the time being Spain is a country that pats the back of people that claim to have destroyed the Catalan public health system. But there is one other conclusion. It is an indirect or secondary one, but it is not banal: as long as Spain fails to resolve its territorial issue, each and every one of its policy initiatives will de conditioned. Without the Catalan question on the table, Spain on Sunday would not have voted for the PP. It would have made no sense, for a host of reasons. As long as the whole of the political agenda is engrossed in this subject no long-term project is conceivable.  

Without the Catalan question on the table, Spain on Sunday would not have voted for the PP. It would have made no sense, for a host of reasons 

There can be no future without first deciding who it is going to affect, and who not. Whether wrongly or not, the Scots took a decision with the approval of the rest of the British, and the British have just taken another very risky - and surely incorrect - path, but in any case it stems from a legitimate collective decision. In Spain such things not even considered, usually on account of temerous inertia related to the absence of a true democratic tradition. 

The PP and the other groups have taken this all in. The message is tough: the best way of solving problems is to prevent political dialogue and to play possum; the exhaustion of the adversary does the rest. From a Catalan perspective, the message is even tougher, for this leaves no other option than expeditious, unilateral decisions. I say it is tougher because, when all is said and done, this would have consequences that, in all probability, not everyone is willing to face. Moreover, things are clear in Spain, while here we continue to fuss over (especially anti-systemic) aesthetics.

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