In English Voices From Spain

Spain and Death

Photo by Hannes Wolf on Unsplash

Originally published in Spanish. ‘España y la muerte’ Víctor Lapuente. El País.

15th May 2018

Quim Torra has laid clear the philosophy of his future cabinet. Full of epic rhetoric about nation building but meagre in action, without any detail on specific steps. But everything generously showered with public funds for civil servants sympathetic with the secessionist movement and friendly corporations. Hence, Torra’s words pleased both the enthused voters that dream of independence and those that simply wake up with a government job or a public grant.

Torra spoke of a road to freedom, collective hope, “a republic for all”… Everything “for Catalonia and for life”. As opposed to, understandably, Spain and death. But Torra avoided descending to the hell of details. How will the Council of the Republic be put into action? What responsibilities will the Elected Representatives Assembly hold?

The Catalan republic that Torra outlines smells of populist democracy, where the executive is only subject to parliamentary majority but not to the rule of law. This is to say, the antithesis of the republican principle that, from classical Rome to the United States, provides checks and balances to avoid presidential overreach. It also smells of socialism, like the aspiration to “democratic control of energy”. But, so far, that Catalan republic cannot be touched or tasted.

Many will be showered with regional budget largesse. And that’s where Torra’s government will put all the chips on the table: an increase in the education budget, salary increases in public healthcare, reduced VAT for cultural goods… the government won’t leave aside those it reckons close to its cause.

Last week, Rajoy urged us to judge Torra by his actions and not by his articles or tweets. But, judging by his speech, Torra won’t go into history books by his actions in a few months as president. However, Torra’s words along the years -about plundering Spaniards, the “beasts” that oppose Catalan linguistic policies or the vanishing of the “race” of Catalan socialists by miscegenation with the the Spanish ones- connect with the worst of history: ethnic supremacism. A republic for all. As long as they belong to the race, of course.  

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