Rajoy has assured us that, in a year’s time, things will have calmed down more in Catalonia. He said so in the manner that he tends to say things, partly as if he were the prophet of peace and quiet, partly as if taking all the credit. But he failed to give any details of what exactly he intends to do to foster such peace.
I am tempted to say that Rajoy isn’t deceiving us: his method is to do nothing and wait for the peace and quiet to just turn up. But I won’t. Rajoy does deceive, indeed: while he pretends to be doing nothing, to be waiting for everything to fall back into place on its own, his militantly recentralising attitude is an example of perseverance.
We have recently learned that Madrid’s BOE (1) is looking to take over Catalonia’s own equivalent publication, the Diari Oficial de la Generalitat. Some might find this anecdotal. After all, it’s just paperwork. And indeed that is the reason given for the decision: to simplify things. We might as well have Madrid handle all the paperwork and that way we will get rid of much unnecessary red tape. This is centralisation disguised as simplification. In actual fact, nothing can be slower than having to do paperwork far from where the decisions are being made.
While things “kilometre zero” are all the rage (local produce, local government and so on), they are still stuck on the same old kilometre zero: Madrid’s (2). These processes have caught the independence camp off-guard. Some are all too optimistic and feel that we needn’t worry about such things and conclude that “we should leave now”. Of course, others believe that we need to put up a fight to prevent our self-rule from being shrunk further, even if the ultimate goal is independence. What surprises me is the silence and resignation of the unionist camp: federalists, supporters of the “third way”, those who think that our current devolution merely needs a makeover and we’d be alright. Aren’t they worried that Catalan self-rule is deteriorating rather than progressing? Won’t they be left without any arguments?
(1) N.T. Spain’s Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) is the Madrid-published official daily bulletin where new legislation is printed --and, therefore, enacted-- and all manner of government decisions are formally announced.
(2) N.T All major roads in Spain start at the same spot in Madrid city. That is the Km 0 that the author refers to.