3 min
Of pacts and martingales

When pacts are described as "schemes" and the negotiation of budgets is compared to an "auction", it means that the left is governing in Madrid, or rather, that those who are considered intruders in the natural order of things are governing. Does this mean that all agreements are positive or that they are driven by the most virtuous reasons? Obviously not, but it is curious that the praise of politics and the pact between different people is always a betrayal in Spain when the PSOE and the representatives of the non-homogeneous Spain intervene.

Madrid's politics and press were upset on Saturday by the green light given by the PNV and the ERC to the processing of the State budget. As always, the republican [ERC] demand for language was more incomprehensible than any other economic demand or tangible transfers. To put it this way, within its infinite wickedness, the PNV is understandable because its negotiations are easily translatable - but the Catalans? What a sentimental people, as Ortega said.

El Mundo explains the contempt and inability to understand the role of language when it asks rhetorically whether "the fact that Netflix broadcasts a certain percentage of its fiction and documentaries in Catalan will be the key to containing the inflationary rise that is tightening the belts of all families, so that the GDP figures do not slow down the recovery or so that the price of electricity stops reaching record highs".

The lack of understanding of the role of language in sovereigntist or simply Catalanist demands remains unchanged. It is not understood, nor will it probably be understood in a certain monolingual Madrid, that the demand for language is neither a minor demand nor an exclusive one within the country. However incomprehensible it may seem to a bilingual, in a certain Spain the superiority complex of the monolingual who allows himself to associate the value or greatness of a language with the number of speakers or, above all, with his ability to impose it politically, remains unchanged.

The importance of the policy chosen by the Republicans to negotiate the budget is unquestionable in Catalonia, but it is not an end in itself; rather, the negotiation begins now. The percentages are not known, nor is the role of dubbing and subtitling in the mix of the pact. Nor is it possible to think that having part of the platforms in Catalan will put an end to the serious problem of production of the audiovisual industry's own content that escapes to Madrid because the market is there, or that Tv3 will be able to renounce the children's audience by not offering them quality products compatible with audience research, as it did for decades.

The negotiation of the budget has only just begun, and there are many things we do not know about the relations between socialists and republicans. The fact that the dialogue table is being conducted with a certain degree of discretion should not prevent us from demanding that it moves forward.

The agreement to process the budgets paves the way for relations of "trust" between the negotiators, in the words of a republican, but one should not lose sight of the fact that the only instrument of pressure is the parliamentary majority, and there are many important actors in Catalan politics who patiently await the failure of the dialogue with the conviction that "once the budgets are approved, the PSOE will have no incentive to advance in the dialogue" and the round table will be deadlocked.

ERC, which on the night of 25 September, 2017, when Catalan President Puigdemont was leaning towards elections, withdrew its confidence in him, knows perfectly well that its fate is largely linked to that of Pedro Sánchez. It is paradoxical that the negotiation now goes through Gabriel Rufián. Some in JxCat expect defeat from outside the negotiating table and meanwhile they are debating whether or not to wear themselves out, believing that former President Carles Puigdemont will facilitate a momentum that will break the status quo.

The problem is whether in the meantime their representatives in Parliament become Martians in Spanish politics - already plagued by aliens - and lose their usefulness in everyday politics that goes beyond the fulfilment of strategies and final goals but improves the daily lives of citizens. Today Sánchez wants budgets and to face the country, with recovery, towards new elections. ERC wants to reinforce its hegemony within Catalonia and JxCat hopes, from within the Government, but from outside the dialogue table, that these two will show the limits of the PSOE's capacity to transform Spain. In the meantime, as Pujol would say, peix al cove, or, in other words, trying to improve the daily lives of citizens.