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In Catalonia, we have been looking to Ithaca for the last ten years, without taking care of the day-to-day business.

Miguel Trías, 11 July 2022

Image : Llibert Teixidó

When I was sixteen I made the decision to move out on my own, but I didn’t carry it out until I was twenty. In the meantime, the room I was living in at my mother’s house had to be left unfurnished. As I was leaving, I didn’t bother to adapt it to my tastes and needs, which was detrimental to my quality of life during that time. It seems that in Catalonia we have been like this since 2012, when Artur Mas decided to abandon his reformist agenda to embark like Moses on the uncertain journey of the pro-independence process. Since we are leaving and the priority is the creation of a state of our own, the successive administrations that have governed the Generalitat, all of them pro-independence, have left the management of the country as a minor issue.

In all aspects of Catalonia’s public governance, there is a considerable lack of focus and concentration on what affects the lives of citizens, as priority is given to the staging and accumulation of grievances. But this reflection is especially relevant to the open debate on the very poor balance of the execution of public works in Catalonia, while it is noted that in Madrid they are being executed even more than budgeted.

The published figures are interpreted by pro-independence supporters as yet another example of the Spanish state’s neglect of issues affecting Catalonia, when it has not been directly attributed to a desire to punish. Once again, imposition and the search for confrontational arguments predominate over rational analysis.

Firstly, it is necessary to determine the reasons for the delay in execution in each case, since they are often attributable to the difficulties that the projected works encounter in their different phases. Overcoming these obstacles normally requires the active collaboration of various administrations to resolve them, and here the affected town councils and the Generalitat itself also have their share of responsibility. But even in the hypothesis that they are due to the negligence of the State, it is the duty of the Generalitat, which, let us not forget, represents the State in Catalonia, to ensure the monitoring of their execution. All of us who have dealings with public administrations know that, unfortunately, they do not do what they should if we are not on top of them, encouraging them to act. The Madrid administrations, which can hardly be held up as a model in other areas, have an agenda that is no different from what they are, and they put all their efforts into removing the difficulties that the execution of works may present, even if only for electioneering reasons.

In Catalonia, we have been looking to Ithaca for the last ten years, without taking care of the day-to-day business.

In Catalonia, on the other hand, we have spent ten years with our sights set on Ithaca, without taking care of boring day-to-day matters such as the one at hand. Political leverage has not been lacking to force what is now being denounced to happen, as Spain has been without a party achieving an absolute majority or even coming close to it since 2015. If these issues were prioritised in the budget negotiations or at the ethereal dialogue table over minor identity issues such as the quotas for the translation of serials into Catalan, or impossible demands such as self-determination and amnesty, we would not be where we are today.

It is true that the victory of Esquerra Republicana and the pardons brought some deflation if we compare it with the ineffable presidency of Quim Torra, but we are still in a state of absurdity when the president of the Generalitat fails to attend an appointment with the president of Volkswagen to avoid coinciding with the King or fulminates with a tweet the expansion of El Prat airport. So here we are, the battery factory that could have been located on Catalan soil is installed in Sagunt and our international air hub, in the limbo of the just for competing merits in the field of short-flight environmentalism. And, as an added problem, the party that aspires to the centrality of the independence movement seems more inclined to maintain its assembly roots than to put together a competitive project for a country in the contemporary European framework.

War, inflation and the burden of public debt augur very complex times ahead. Only by tackling reality as it is and managing it rigorously will we prevent disorder from leading to impoverishment.



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