You don't have to be an aerospace engineer or be named Edward Aloysius (Murphy) to know that if something can go wrong, you just have to give it time. This week, when it seemed that we had reached peak ridicule, two parliamentary seats proved we can go even further. Two votes in different circumstances, but with the common denominator of fragile and unstable government majorities captured by tacticism and with superlative doses of narcissism and gesticulation
In the Spanish Parliament, two rebellious UPN elected representatives, co-opted by the PP, were not enough to derail the labour reform, thanks to a mistake made by a PP MP.
The result is that the most important law approved so far by the PSOE-UP coalition was passed by chance and without the support of the parties that invested Sánchez president.
In Catalonia's Parliament, the crisis over age-based leave has been followed by a bath of realpolitik that leaves the long-standing German conflict between Realos (the pragmatists) and Fundis (those of total coherence with the principles) as a joke. The line that goes from Machiavelli to Bismarck passes in Catalonia through Roger Torrent and now through Laura Borràs.
The Speaker is right when she says that she has been left alone. In fact, she has acted in the only way possible without paralysing the institution. But this does not exempt her from having decided to protect herself by doing the opposite of what she had promised in the election campaign, as can be seen in the interview she gave this newspaper on February 8, 2021, and in so many other public statements until today.
Borràs affirmed that Parliament had been "killed, abolished" in the previous term and described as "madness" to have stripped president Torra of his seat "preventively", "collaborating with the Supreme Court".
From the outset, we must make clear the disproportion and abuse dispossessing a representative of the citizens of their seat ove a matter of freedom of expression entails. But with the administrative and judicial machinery in motion, it was necessary to decide whether or not to strip Pau Juvillà of his seat. The result makes it clear that coalition politics cannot be made from the permanent competition between partners, without even a common diagnosis of the past and the present, or as if the world began anew every day and collective learning was not based on previous experience.
Laura Borràs intended to wait for a Supreme Court ruling and avoid suspending the CUP MP, but she has been overcome by reality in the form of parliamentary delays and self-protection and by the action of the general secretary, a post she appointed. Reality forced her to make a difficult decision and she has decided to protect herself.
The decision opens a crack in her party and in the strategy of "intelligent confrontation", which today is less credible. A large part of JxCat and its supporters are aware of this, and do not hide their disappointment neither in private nor, in the case of Josep Costa, in public.
The facts are that the plenary voted a resolution that said that Juvillà was still an MP, but he was not allowed to vote because –we now know– he was in fact no longer an MP, despite the fact that neither the Bureau nor he had been informed.
Summing up the mess of the infinity of missed steps of these days, the core question that the Speaker has to answer to the citizens is whether she lied or was deceived. At what point did she know that the CUP deputy had lost his seat for practical purposes through the action of Parliament's secretary general Esther Andreu?
The question is simple and the answer depends on whether the Speaker was deceived or whether she manoeuvred without informing her fellow party members and her partners.
The permanent competition, the lack of common diagnosis and the absence of a common strategy have left the sovereigntist majority vulnerable to a public opinion that may be pro-independence, but that has mostly drawn lessons from 2017.
Contradictions are best faced quickly, and covering one's eyes is not usually a good strategy in adulthood.
Political sovereigntism has squandered an extraordinary social energy that today has mutated. Disenchantment and discredit are spreading, and we already know that energy is neither created nor destroyed, but transformed. In times of difficulties, let us make sure that energy does not turn into rage or anti-politics, because there were and are no magic solutions or shortcuts. Politics continues to pass through the ballot box and good governance, or through a rebellion very few want to be the victims of.