05/22/2019 00:10 Updated 5/22/2019 00:55
Confucius said it two thousand and five hundred years ago: when the wise man points to the moon, the fool looks at the finger. Hurt by so many years of economic recession, cuts and corruption, the Spaniards – and even more the Catalans – systematically admit in all the surveys that they do not trust in the basic functioning of their democracy. They distrust their politicians and, in general, they have a bad opinion of justice and of the rest of the institutions, from the Crown to the Parliament, through the various executives, parties and trade unions.
The issue is not irrelevant, because contrary to what the topic says, as the cases of Argentina, Italy or Greece have shown, it is finally not possible to grow and progress collectively in a sustained manner without a good institutional framework, which is really and truly and, in addition, is perceived by the citizenship as such: impartial, honest, transparent and effective. Ideologically it is legitimate to argue about whether we aspire to a greater or lesser State, more interventionist and protective, like the Danish, or thinner and more liberal, like that of Singapore. The quantity and even the form of State would have to be part of the political discussion, but its quality would have to be imperative and indispensable.
In Spain, however, also in Catalonia, since the recession years, both from the independence movement and from the left-wing populist formations, the need for good government has not been prioritized; but, much simpler, the debate has been restored on the form of State, returning to the singsong about whether Spain has to be monarchical or republican. Or about whether to found a new one, segregated from the Spanish one. It matters little that without too much intellectual effort, out of a simple bird’s flight, exemplary monarchies can be identified with very high levels of quality of life and liberties, and other despotic ones of course. And it is also very easy to point out improper banana republics of our modern times, as well as other exemplary. Although it is an evidence that the State form is not determinant for this type of questions, again we seem to insist on trusting the solution of our ills to the advent of a republic, a bet that apparently will save us from having to undertake reforms, always much more difficult and coming with exhaustion for those who propel them.
Certainly, with the reason and the historical background in hand, to defend that the republican form is what suits us, without further discussion, is shocking. In Spain, the First Republic ended with the sigh of President Estanislao Figueras warning, while he was hurriedly escorted into exile: “Estic fins als collons de nosaltres mateixos”[I am sick to death of ourselves]. And the Second, although its protagonists were surely more solvent and enlightened than their predecessors, the truth is that it also ended up in confusion and badly. It is not important to remember that what is relevant for our State form is not whether it is a monarchy or a republic, but that it is decidedly democratic, that is, parliamentary and constitutional. Note that the leading European regions, with Utrecht, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen or Amsterdam at the forefront, progress despite having monarchical forms of government which do not arouse the slightest critical interest to anyone. Apparently, it is much more important to remember that the king emeritus killed elephants, or that he has a son-in-law in prison.
For years I have been arguing that what we need as a joint citizenship is to throw out bad governments and demand from those who start their route to undertake a determined commitment to a reformist agenda, which ensures the continuous improvement of our institutional and democratic quality. With presidents, ministers and council members continuously condemned by the respective parliaments; with governments without budgets or a minimum of executive capacity, it is really hurtful to be told about the coming republic, or that it would have to come, whether it be a Spanish, Catalan or Ampurdán synalagmatic and commutative republic, as Fages de Climent would have said.
In any case, for those who dream of the advent of a republic, I end with an augury, which I hope will comfort them: in my modest opinion, the monarchies have their days numbered … by default of their heirs. As evidenced by the process of becoming commoners among the crowns everywhere, the art of being king is not what it used to be. Scandinavian princesses marrying multi-dimensional shamans; Anglo-Saxon princes who have renounced the crown for love or Latin kings who no longer marry princesses corroborate that, as Jordi Canal has written in ‘The Monarchy in the 21st Century’, today, monarchies only work if they are republican. And for a future king, fortunate and trained in the best universities, educated and with a cosmopolitan and liberal culture, having to suffer the job of king without being able to govern, having no life of his own or intimacy has to be very dissuasive when accepting coronation commitments . And, if not, let’s wait! Meanwhile, citizens would settle for good government!