Joan Esculies, 29 April 2022
After the trials of the’ procés’ , socialism concluded that in order to overcome it, a policy of appeasement was necessary. The most important action in this aim was the pardons, which, in perspective, have not caused the PSOE the wear and tear it feared, have benefited the PSC and have contributed to pacifying the atmosphere in Catalonia.
The strategy of letting time pass like someone overcoming a loss, following the philosophy of Milena Busquets’ ‘También esto pasará’, is working for the Catalan party. Citizens value the PSC’s constructive opposition as opposed to Ciudadanos’ confrontational stance. The offer of agreements with the Generalitat, whether they come to fruition or not – airport, budgets, language – and the hand extended to the Catalan Government without being dismissive – which could be electorally damaging – have established Salvador Illa’s PSC as a credible alternative to the pro-independence majority. The polls say so.
Sánchez’s lack of action on the Catalan issue is becoming increasingly similar to Rajoy’s inaction.
While this approach is working, the Spanish government’s appeasement is becoming less and less so. On the one hand, the PSOE assumes that it is too early to propose anything other than specific agreements at the dialogue table, because the independence movement does not want to tackle a pact within a statutory/constitutional framework. On the other hand, drawing up a proposal means straining the party when the electoral horizon is unclear.
The Catalan folder is therefore postponed, taking advantage of the regional elections, the rise of the extreme right, the war in Ukraine, the pandemic and the energy crisis. But there is a limit to this procrastination. To govern is to “steer a ship”, not to see it coming, and Pedro Sánchez’s lack of action on this issue is becoming more and more similar to Mariano Rajoy’s inaction.
Getting out of prison does not mean freeing oneself from resentment over time that is considered unjustly stolen. This factor is currently a crucial factor in ERC-PSOE relations. For the former, supporting the Sánchez government is a major effort. They do so only within the framework of a negotiation strategy with an international outlook. Catalangate strains this element even more.
The pro-independence movement cannot lend itself to fireworks. Part of its own parish is exhausted by unfulfilled promises. The credit of its leaders is limited, but the anti-democratic scandal – if certified – could be huge. The PSC knows that if it remains on the sidelines it loses its centrality. That is why it has joined the Parliament’s complaint to “clarify the facts”.
However necessary the function of the secret services may be in any state, spying on dissidents is only a stopgap. And it is not clear that in this country – where certain practices are soon interpreted as going “against Catalonia” – this will also happen if politics is not made and an alternative is not put forward. Any football fan knows that excessive speculation with the ball often leads to losing the game.