Marius Carol, 30 March 2022
Antonio Balmón, baron of socialist party PSC, mayor of Cornellà and vice-president of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB), imagines Catalonia like Woody Allen in Annie Hall, lying on a black leather sofa, thinking over and over again about her identity and her essences. Balmón does not often make public statements, but he accepted the invitation to speak at the cycle organised by RethinkBCN. In his talk, he proposed that the 36 metropolitan municipalities share night-time surveillance, while at the same time improving lighting, eradicating unsafe spaces, and making bus stops on demand.
But beyond establishing a security plan and calling for coexistence in public spaces so as not to leave this debate in the hands of the populist right, Balmón launched two metaphorical concepts: “Catalonia is withered” and “in the last ten years we have put Catalonia on the couch and now we have to get out”.
Balmón considers that ten years of psychoanalysis are more than enough.
In order not to enter into polemics with the comunes, the vice-president of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area-AMB considered that Barcelona conserves its magnetism, and that Catalonia has the problem, which is a way of looking in only one of the two rear-view mirrors. The Catalan capital is not at its best and has no short- or medium-term projects for the future that would allow it to leap forward and ensure that the talent that its universities and business schools produce does not leave. Catalonia is in a state of decline because Barcelona is self-absorbed, with no one daring to lead a paradigm shift to restore its visibility and generate wealth.
The other idea, that of the Catalan divan, is brilliant. It was Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, who included in his office a Victorian chaise longue, behind which he sat to listen to his patients. Certainly, Catalonia needs to stand up, even if she has been little listened to. The war in Ukraine has strengthened territorial integrity in Europe, so pro-independence dreams will not find complicity. In this context, in politics we must bet on pragmatism, negotiation and leadership, while we do not have the miracle pill to boost morale and leave the couch in one fell swoop.