In English Voices From Spain

What should everyone else do?

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Originally published in Spanish. ‘¿Qué deben hacer los demás?’ Xavier Vidal-Folch. El País.

14th May 2018

What should constitutionalist forces do? As advocates for the law, their first obligation is to follow it.

Thus, just as soon as there is a Catalan government, they must follow what was laid out in the decree for the intervention of the regional government through article 155. As established in the former, this means bringing the suspension of home rule to an end. A discourse, a programme, a catalogue of goals, no matter how insane, cannot provide sufficient cause for intervention.

They must immediately adapt to the new situation. This encore of the secessionist process that took off yesterday is just beating around the bush. It’s the start of a new process which seeks to multiply its skill for finding legal loopholes; a renewed, more streamlined ruse; a masking of the continuation of the coup by establishing others as its legal authors: Brussels, the Council of the Republic; the street activism of secessionist platforms, the ‘constituent process’.

If this is the case, the encore will be a monumental and continuous fraud of law, of the type committed by the authors or instigators of ‘acts carried out under the protection of a law in pursuit a result which is prohibited or contrary to law’ (Article 6.4 of the Spanish Civil Code).

This very reason, this deceitfulness and duplicity, will make legal prosecution more arduous, tedious and tempestuous.

This means that if mere defence of the law and recourse to its referees –the judiciary–, while essential, were never sufficient, they have now become even less so. The straitjacket imposed by Article 155 contemplates measures to repair actual crimes, but not the intention to commit them.

Besides, it has become clear that the opening gambit is not between Catalonia and Spain as a whole, but between Catalans. It would thus be fitting for them to try to fix the mess themselves before anyone else does so.

The moment has come for politics, for new ways of conducting politics. Opposition politics–that void.

Imagine an opposition (diverse, of course, but ideally also effective) monitoring every shady, sectarian act that the new administration carries out (as it undoubtedly will).

An opposition performing a cost-benefit analysis (for citizens) of every re-opened embassy. Creating a true complaints office in the Catalan parliament to deal with abuses committed in favour of a part of society falsely presenting itself as the whole. Establishing strict financial control of every expenditure and subsidy to secessionist acts, calling every week on auditors, accountants and inspectors of all sorts. Closely keeping an eye on the drift towards insurgence in angelic guise.

A shadow cabinet would be too much to ask of such fragmented opposition forces. But a transparent committee to coordinate the efforts of all dissidents would be advisable. Relentless surveillance. That way, we wouldn’t need to turn to the stick.

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