Misc 20/12/2020

A people betrayed

Esther Vera
3 min
Un poble traït

A people betrayed by the representatives of its institutions, this is Spain; and I fear that today Catalonia may also be betrayed, as much as it hurts many citizens and some public representatives, and not precisely because of the symbolic betrayal but because of the mismanagement.

Spain continues to be a state, the Spanish State, and a nation, the Catalan nation, in a permanent historical loop, in suspended time, in search of the reason for an institutionally failed country incapable of scaring its ghosts.

A People Betrayed is the title of an interesting and carefully written history of Spain (1876-2014) by the English historian Paul Preston, which explains the roots of a corrupt and incompetent system that for centuries blocked social and economic progress. Preston, beyond the orteguian "conllevancia" [suffering, bearing] that defines - even nowadays - the incapacity of Spanish nationalism to support the identity of Catalonia, goes to the root of the reason for the blockade. He attempts to explain what lies beyond the inability to bear the difference in a mediocre country that fails to put an end to the idea that Africa begins beyond the Pyrenees.

Why is Spain not progressing in a cooperative manner from a political point of view? Preston also quotes the Ortega [y Gasset] of España invertebrada ("Invertebrate Spain"): "Starting with the monarchy and continuing with the Church, no national power has ever thought of anything but itself. When has the heart of a Spanish monarch - in the end, a foreigner - or of the Spanish Church ever beaten for deeply national destinies? Never, let it be known. They have done just the opposite. The monarchy and the Church have tried to make the monarchs adopt their own destinies as the truly national ones".

What does betrayal consist of today? Well, in putting personal ambitions, fortune, nepotism and frivolity first. Has Spain made progress? Is the attitude of the monarchy and the Church different today? Are the average politicians less mediocre or personalistic at the dictate of their narcissism, the polls and their outbursts on Twitter?

Unfortunately, time is dense in the history of Spain, so dense that it does not move in some vertebral institutions. Today's society is democratic, European, with an unprecedented percentage of university population, digital and more mobile than ever before in its history. However, can it find political representatives capable of emerging from a comfortable blockage that installs them in mediocre management, anger and the imposition of force, or others who corner themselves in the ring, hiding behind a pride that is unfortunately more aesthetic than useful?

One of Catalonia's great politicians says today in private that "until now, politics have not been good, but the country has held its ground", before specifying that today he is "tortured by the doubt as to whether the country, its society and its economy will be able to resist" the political, economic and health-related onslaught.

Catalonia is heading towards fundamental elections in order to overcome the lethargy in which it has been plunged by the collective defeat of 2017. Isn't defeat the prison, the exile, the frustration, the confusion that the political leaders still transmit, unable to rebuild their own ranks and bridges?

The president in exile thinks that those who believe in negotiation are something like flat-earthers, and those who have had the courage to try to negotiate continue to be treated with disdain by a PSC and a PSOE that instead of acting as partners, they do so in a cowardly manner.

Suspended time

The campaign among the independentists predicts an intense level of demagogy, capable of discouraging a part of the citizenry that can translate into abstention and an atomization of forces that make governance difficult.

The sum of JxCat's personal identities, gathered around Puigdemont's charismatic leadership, seeks the hand to hand with ERC by accusing it of high treason. In the meantime, ERC is bent on managing the key departments in the fight against the pandemic in a government that is increasingly transparent in its differences and less united in the difficulties imposed by the covid.

Finally, the legislature we should all forget is coming to an end. A legislature with a president who arrived saying that he feared he would remain in symbolism and was unable to fulfil his omen. A legislature of symbolism over responsibilities and the boring management of public affairs, essential for the efficient administration of taxes and the problems of citizens, who have seen the economy collapse. A legislature of confrontation between sovereignist forces, a disappeared and stingy opposition and a unionist right overcome by the attraction towards the spirit of Franco revived by Vox, who we will have to get used to seeing in the Catalan Parliament. It is definitely a legislature we should all forget.