Joan Ferran, 1 February 2022
Hemicycle of the Parliament of Catalonia / CG
These were days of wine and roses, joys, and escapes. Months in which Artur Mas ordered his ministers to draw up strategic and contingency plans to replace the central administration. At the dawn of 2015, the pro-independence roadmap detailed the eighteen “acts of sovereignty” to be followed in order for Catalonia to become a “sovereign political and legal subject”.
It is said that at that time Ferran Mascarell – the Fouché of the courts of Maragall, Clos, Montilla, Mas and Puigdemont – sold the theory and the need to create “State structures”. Then Mas-Colell and Oriol Junqueras burst onto the scene with the recipe of the Tax Agency; even the odd daredevil, filled with patriotic fury, put forward the need to create a Catalan militia. Nobody remembers that naïve idea of founding a Catalan central bank, not even in electoral programmes; nor do they remember taking control of borders and customs or opening embassies in the Maldives…
The disconnection from Spain failed miserably, the reason being that the famous structures already existed – the Generalitat is by definition a state structure – and the intention to create others outside the law was a toast to the sun as fallacious as it was useless.
Seven years after the secessionist adventure there is a paradox that would surprise even G. K. Chesterton. Those who preached the need to build a new institutional scaffolding, separated from Spain, are today incapable of managing the administrations they govern with solvency. Pere Aragonès, conditioned by pressure from his partners in the government, is incapable of articulating a constructive dialogue with all the Catalan political forces. He is a self-conscious president, afraid of what people will say, who will never become the leader the country needs to regain normality.
A government, like that of Aragonès, that cares nothing for the image and good name of its security forces generates scepticism among citizens. If we add to this a corruption scandal at the top of the fire brigade, you will agree with me that the management of public affairs in Catalonia is not at its best. The minister Joan Ignasi Elena said “I’d rather die than cover up a case of corruption” without realising that he had come to office, politically speaking, already dead.
And, it must be said clearly, the current managers of our institutions are the second best of those who only seven years ago advocated the construction of the famous “structures of State”. Mascarell vegetate in the Diputació, Junqueras conspires and Mas sails through the Sargasso Sea. His epigones lack craft, act clumsily and gesticulate too much in search of plenary indulgences.
And the Parliament? The Catalan Parliament is, by definition, a legislative and representative body of the State, as provided for in the Statute and the Constitution. If the Catalan chamber is, as secessionists maintain, the ultimate expression of the popular will emanating from the ballot box, its functioning should be exemplary in all respects. It should be exemplary in form, in substance and in the attitude of the people who hold its highest public office (I have my doubts about the suitability of the current president).
In recent weeks, the Parliament has been the source of worrying news beyond the sectarian bias of the majority of the bureau. The golden pensions of some civil servants, the fights to the death between lawyers aired in the media, the resignations and the debate on the travel allowances of MPs have damaged the image of the institution. To complete the picture, President Laura Borràs and her acolytes are lashing out against judicial decisions and trying to obstruct them.
They were once incapable of creating the framework of an independent state, and now their disastrous management of day-to-day politics is further deteriorating the good name of the country’s institutions. Their insolvency devalues and deconstructs genuine state structures.