01/08/2022

The measure of everything

3 min
The measure of all things

When emotion occupies all the space in the exercise of politics, rationality and good government are thrown out of the window. Perhaps it will end up being true that the Catalan people is extremely sentimental and perhaps Gaziel's remarks between sighs about the inability to do politics have become blatantly obvious. The point is that in Catalonia we are experiencing an excess of psychodramas and a deficit of results.

Laura Borràs and her loyal followers have lived a through a tough week in politics, in which they showed their rage and powerlessness in public. In fact, the former Speaker has underwent, at the hands of "five MPs dressed as hypocritical judges", that is, the parliamentary bureau, a suspension under Article 25.4, which Parliament applies to members facing a trial for corruption.

Borràs, who has great leadership skills based on her extraordinary communication skills, did not calculate her strength well, confused by the Twitter followers' noisy campaign. These are ones who for years have been angrily pointing fingers at critics or all those who are not enthusiastic enough. The same protesters who shouted "fascists!" at journalists dared put their profession ahead of their sympathies and politicians' interests.

Borràs threw epic into the staging of her exit: "Those who want me dead will have to kill me and get their hands dirty. I have come to achieve independence, not to commit suicide for the sake of autonomy". The phrase, gimmicky, forgets how she complied with current legislation in her time in office, starting with the suspension of MP Pau Juvillà, when contradictions between actions and rhetoric were laid bare.

The suspension has been especially difficult for the former president for two reasons: on the one hand, her party's decision to remain part of the Government coalition and not to stand up ERC, and, on the other hand, the intense but scarce presence of demonstrators at the doors of Parliament in what on social media was billed as a massive demonstration of support.

Experience lets us think that the Borràs case may have been bloated by the courts, but it is not acceptable that Catalonia's second authority hope different rules apply to her as to all other elected officials. The measure of all things is democracy and the rules with which it endows us, and it is neither oneself, nor one's personal career, nor one's philias or phobias. The rules and the law are not only for opponents, which is how a large part of Borràs's supporters have interpreted it.

Within Borràs's party, Together for Catalonia (JxCat) a deaf battle is playing out between an independence movement that is vindictive in form and pragmatic in substance, led by the former Convergència core and some solvent independents, and pro-Borràs sector originating in JxCat's recruits from very diverse groups of activists. These are more anchored in symbolism and less so in the management of interim situations.

The point is that JxCat is today in full reconstruction of the pro-independence liberal centre, with Jordi Turull taking the reins of the party (alongside Josep Rull) and some consellers and executives gaining specific weight (Giró, Encina, Geis, Calvet).

Almost five years after the referendum on October 1, 2017, and the ephemeral declaration of independence, 16 years after the referendum that approved the reform of the Statute of Autonomy and 12 years after the latter's overruling by the Constitutional Court, Catalan politics is still disoriented and its leaderships are in the process of being built and destroyed.

The independence movement lives in a parenthesis that will only be solved in time with an eventual reaction to a victory by the PP and Vox, or depending on how fast the disappointment with the PSOE progresses. For the moment, the negotiating table advances on some issues outside the agenda for a self-determination referendum and favours the Catalan Socialists' Party (PSC).

As published by a CEO poll, the PSC, which would come first in new elections, grows and would widen its advantage over ERC, with whom they tied on seats yet beat by 50,000 votes in the last elections. And the pro-independence majority would be weakened by JxCat's fall, which would occupy the third place in Parliament.

The Borràs case deepens the democratic dissatisfaction that 73% of voters also express in the CEO poll. The costs of democratic disappointment, of populism, of demobilisation can generate a breeding ground for anti-politics that does not have good prospects.

Today support for independence dropped to 41% of respondents, while pro-independence parties have not yet overcome the trauma of 2017 nor speak clearly to their voters.