The calm before another Catalan political shitstorm or just a massive anti-climax?
If we are to believe the press, the Generalitat has been completely taken over and the Spanish government of occupation is now in power in the Generalitat. Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria is the new Viceroy of Catalonia and Cristobal Montoro and Luis de Guindos now run the Catalan Treasury.
The Mossos d’Esquadra are completely obedient to the Spanish State and the Catalan pro-independence parties, including the CUP, have accepted that they will be standing in the elections on December 21st and are already preparing their election campaigns.
To add insult to injury, there was a massive pro-Spanish Unity rally in Barcelona yesterday, which just goes to show that the majority of Catalans are opposed to independence anyway.
If all this is true, the pro-independence movement, which has been so active and enthusiastic for the last seven years, is in for a massive let down. The independent Republic of Catalonia, which was declared at 4.26 pm on Friday October 27th, will have lasted only a few minutes longer than the 8 seconds it lasted when it was declared on the evening of Tuesday October 10th.
I personally have no idea what is going to happen or what their strategy might be but it seems highly unlikely that the Catalan leaders are just going to roll over and play dead. I can’t believe that they brought us this far without having some kind of Plan B.
Based on the precedent of the last month, I imagine we’re headed if not for another political shitstorm then for at least another bout of brinkmanship.
Over the weekend, both Carles Puigdemont, in a statement from Girona, and Oriol Junqueras in an article in El PuntAvui, said in an admittedly non-specific way that the fight continues. They both stressed that the Catalans should proceed peacefully and democratically, which could of course be an indication that they were gearing up for autonomous elections, but I find this difficult to believe.
Apparently, the so-called “Chiefs of Staff” of the independence movement met in Vilaur in the Alt Empordà on Saturday and I doubt whether they spent their time writing the election manifesto.
Something else that doesn’t quite fit has been the complete silence from the CUP. I think you know that I’m no fan of the far left but surely this weekend would have been a perfect opportunity to rally the more extremist elements within the independence movement and take to the streets.
Had they done so, to certain sectors at least, they could have portrayed themselves as the true defenders of the independent Republic of Catalonia. The fact that they didn’t do so makes me think that something is being hatched.
Similarly, I don’t understand the purpose of yesterday’s unionist demonstration in Barcelona. Surely, if the Generalitat is under Spanish control and the independence process is to all intents and purposes a dead duck, there was no need for such a show of strength.
I get the feeling that the pro-Spain parties and leaders are not quite as confident as they’d like us to think they are. Unless of course, the purpose was to rub the independence movement’s noses in it and then unleash the unionists’ less civilised elements on Barcelona in an orgy of vandalism and violence.
Apart from anything else, what yesterday’s demonstration revealed to me is that a new round of Catalan elections will solve absolutely nothing. In my report from the demonstration yesterday, I was particularly impressed by the numbers and by the obvious sincerity and strength of feeling expressed by the participants.
However, there were only 300,000 people present, which although a massive number, falls far short of the 450,000 people present at the demonstration in support of the Jordis the previous Saturday or the millions that have come out for the last six Diadas.
Are Elections the Solution?
The only solution to the impasse remains an agreed and binding referendum. If the elections go ahead and the pro-independence parties don’t stand, the problem will go underground to fester and could well turn nasty. If they do stand and are able to rally pro-independence support, despite the level of electoral exhaustion, it could well become another proxy referendum and result in an even bigger pro-independence majority, which would take the whole process back to square one.
I know I’m preaching to the choir here because the independence leaders are aware of all this as are most of their supporters, and for that matter so is a large part of the opposition, if they are honest with themselves. So I can only conclude that something important is going to happen today or early this week but that what that something might be, I don’t have the slightest idea.
Of course, I might be completely wrong and everything might turn out to be a damo squib. Somehow, though, I just can’t see the majority of people buckling down and becoming loyal subjects of Viceroy Soraya.