Wednesday, November 6, 2013

When the State Goes into Hiding






Recently, I was amazed that the person in charge of the opening ceremony at the Swimming World Championships was Catalan PM Artur Mas. The Spanish central state tries to block any international projections of the Catalan government, so it was very surprising that it handed over the leading role to the Catalan PM. The reason for this is the disaster Spain has become. The central government did not show up simply because they did not know who they could send, since there is no representative that could just show up and not be jeered by the crowd.



This fact is significant. I think that this is the first time I see central government official afraid of being seen in public. They simply did not know who to send. Ten years ago the Swimming World Championships opening ceremony was announced by Cristina de Borbón and Iñaki Urdangarín, who obviously could not do it this time. Neither did King Juan Carlos. In fact, he has been hiding as much as possible since the Botswana incident. Prince Felipe could have come, but he got a nasty reception at the opera house not too long ago and a second incident would have been too much for him to bear. So, once discount the royal family, all remaining politicians are simply not very presentable. Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, would most probably have gotten the whistle treatment. The minister of sports is infamous Mr. Wert—not a possibility either.



So that’s it in a nutshell. Madrid’s government did not know who to send and this is why they allowed the Catalan PM to have the lead role. Is this all anecdotic? I do not think so. Not in the case of a State that tries to control diplomatic relationships and that is very much against Catalonia’s independence movement. It is rather an example, a very interesting one, of how untenable things are in Spain these days.


Vicent Partal

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