One of the most evident – and reported – democratic deficits in Catalonia is the lack of neutrality of institutions and public spaces. Both are invaded by separatist propaganda: stellar flags, yellow ties, banners that speak of “political prisoners” and “exiles”, squares dedicated to the ill-fated October 1 … And all this while the suppression of common symbols is systematically promoted by the administrations, such as official flags or street signs dedicated to the Constitution or the Head of State. In short, a clear strategy to break ties with our fellow citizens from the rest of Spain.
The fact is that many of these initiatives, clearly-tinged with hispanophobia, are manifestly illegal. I remember, for example, the anger of many of my neighbors in the Gràcia neighborhood when Avenida del Príncipe de Asturias was replaced by Avenida de la Riera de Cassoles. Curiously, to promote this change, the champions of the “right to decide” did not consider it necessary to carry out the mandatory citizen consultation established by Barcelona’s own municipal regulations.
In this context, the Ombudsman has been repeatedly criticizing the Catalan administrations for their lack of neutrality, and now the Supreme Court has established unequivocal jurisprudence on this issue by pointing out –in relation to an agreement adopted in 2016 by the City Council de Santa Cruz de Tenerife – that the presence of unofficial flags and symbols on the facades and outside of public buildings is contrary to law.
The High Court points out that “it is not compatible with the current constitutional and legal framework and, in particular, with the duty of objectivity and neutrality of public administrations, the use, even occasional, of unofficial flags on the exterior of buildings and public spaces, even when they do not substitute, but concur, with the flag of Spain and the others legally or statutorily instituted”..
The sentence also establishes that the agreement of the municipal council of Santa Cruz de Tenerife that justified the display of the flag of the Movement for the Self-determination and Independence of the Canary Archipelago, although it has been adopted by the majority of the political groups, exceeds the established competence framework by Law Regulating the foundations of the Local Regime. The Supreme Court makes it clear – and this is nuclear – that an unofficial flag cannot represent the entire Canarian people.
As expected, as soon as this resolution was known, the independence movement went into a rage, launching the usual outbursts, which are not worth reproducing. We all know that it is common for separatists to lash out viciously against the Judiciary, for the simple reason that it had the audacity to protect the constitutional order when they decided that they could repeal it, protecting themselves, to cap it all, with only 47% of the votes .
Being it so – and taking into account that even de President of the Generalitat has been convicted himself for disobedience -, it is obvious that the aforementioned sentence will only have effects if constitutionalist entities or parties, or the citizens themselves, are denouncing, one by one, the infinite violations of the neutrality of the institutions that are observed, day by day, in Catalonia.
It is exactly the same as parents who demand bilingual education for their children. The Generalitat will never adopt measures to guarantee it, even though the courts have recognized on numerous occasions that the legal linguistic model in the Catalan school is not that of linguistic immersion –for the Spanish-speaking people– but that of linguistic conjunction.
It is unheard of that, in an advanced democracy, the administrations do not immediately rectify their actions when they have been declared illegal in firm sentences.
By failing to do so, citizens – and perhaps some opposition political forces and associations – must continue to make pilgrimages through the courts so that our rights and freedoms are recognized and respected, case by case. And while we are on a pilgrimage, we will have to endure that many nationalists – many times with the complicity of a supposedly absolutely distraught left – tell us, at the very least, that we generate problems where there are none, that we seek a war of flags, only because only one family ask for it.
The strategy is clear: exhaust ourselves. And it does work, jnded! It is enough to observe the continuous exodus of Catalans and the silence of so many others