Jaume Reixach – 8/2/2021
Governing and managing a community of 7.5 million people in the comfortable framework of the European Union is not a particularly difficult task. Let’s think that today there are huge megalopolises on planet Earth, such as Tokyo (36 million inhabitants), Delhi (26 million), Shanghai (23 million), Sao Paulo (20 million), Mexico City (20 million) … which far exceed and multiply the total population of Catalonia.
But our Catalan goverment has become, for years, a ‘monster’ of mismanagement, inefficiency and chaos. The 23 years of the Pujolist government modeled a certain way of understanding the country that had to have continuity in a future presidency of his son Oriol, political heir of this incipient dynasty, truncated when he was caught in corruption scandals.
I was in favor of postponing the elections of this 14-F, terribly conditioned by the covid-19 pandemic, to mid-March, when the effects of the mass vaccination will already begin to be noticeable and the third wave has subsided. But the umpteenth legal mess of the Government of JxCat and ERC has made the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) set them for this coming Sunday.
Despite these exceptional and adverse circumstances, I will go to vote on F-14. And I publicly state that, this time, I will do it for Salvador Illa, in the same way that in the past I have done it for other political options. I believe that, in the morass in which Catalan society is immersed, he is the most suitable person to be the next president of the Generalitat and to rectify, through the paths of dialogue, good faith and solidarity, the catastrophic situation that we are going through.
Of his reform proposals, I am left with one, albeit episodic: the promise of a 30% reduction in the salary that he will have assigned as president of the Generalitat. And, by extension, it would have to do the same with the salary of councilors, senior officials and advisers to the Catalan Government. The astronomical salaries charged by the leaders of the public administrations in Catalonia are absolutely immoral, compared to the average salary and the severity of unemployment and the precariousness that we suffer.
With Salvador Illa, the vocational dimension that politics has must return, understood as a public service task to improve the living conditions of the entire society, with special attention to the most disadvantaged. This noble dedication has been perverted and prostituted in recent years, both in Spain and in Catalonia, and is one of the causes of the growing disaffection of the people towards the current democracy.
We need an austere, rigorous, transparent, open-minded government that leads by example. It is the Generalitat model that President Josep Tarradellas wanted to implement when he returned from exile and that was truncated with the arrival of Jordi Pujol to power and his obsession to “nationalize” Catalonia at any price, when what is needed is to “rationalize” Catalonia . It is fair to say that, in this sense, the experience of the two tripartites, Pasqual Maragall and José Montilla, was very disappointing.
For nine years, Catalonia has suffered a double “civil war”. Between constitutionalists and independentists, on the one hand; and between puigdemonistas and junqueristas, of the other. This long Cainite struggle has proved, above all, tiring, sterile and counterproductive for the well-being of the population as a whole.
As Salvador Illa reiterates, “it is time to turn the page” of this unfortunate chapter in our millennial history. Catalan society, now and here, is what it is: diverse, mixed and plural, as happens in the vast majority of European countries and regions. The great effort that the Government of the Generalitat has to make is to promote cohesion, correcting the enormous social and territorial inequalities that the 2008 crisis has left us and that has accentuated the pandemic.
Catalonia has a great future. I am convinced. In this triangle privileged by geoeconomics, located between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, there are all the potentialities for it to become a place of prosperity and peace, between us and with the Spanish. We only need to have an intelligent and disciplined Government of the Generalitat that administers public resources responsibly and that agrees on the main strategic lines of its action with the country’s business and social agents.
Forty-four years have passed since the return of President Josep Tarradellas and the reestablishment of the Generalitat. 44 years! It is time that we assume and value our self-government and all the enormous possibilities that – within the framework of constitutional Spain and the European Union – we have within our reach to make Catalonia an exemplary space of democracy, coexistence and progress.
Salvador Illa is, by training and political heritage, a “Tarradellista”. This 14-F is, despite all the difficulties, the time to rediscover and retake the lost thread of the history of Catalonia.
Also to consolidate and guarantee the survival of the Catalan language, which the independentists have managed to turn into an identity instrument of confrontation and exclusion and which, for that very reason, has become unsympathetic to all those who would gladly agree in learning it and speaking it, without ethnic sectarianism or authoritarian impositions. There is another possible Catalonia and this happens because this 14-F, Salvador Illa clearly wins the elections.