Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy is neither an enlightened despotic monarch nor a brutish military dictator. He is a democratically elected leader of an EU member state. Still, there is a constant that twins him with some of his less agreeable predecessors.
This constant runs deeper than mere political ideology. It is the notion that Spain is a single entity that must be ruled from the centre of the country. This recurring mentality is completely averse to Spain’s national diversity and comes awkwardly disguised as some form of modernising efficacy.
While subject to the whims of history, this mindset has always managed to prevail, with little or no finesse at all. And, only too often, by the force of arms. It is the force of Madrid’s BOE (1), of Spain’s Constitutional Court and a few brand new bodies -- Cora and Opera (2)-- that conceal Madrid’s ever-present recentralisation programme, a historical reality that we write about in our Editorial today.
Neither Spain’s system of autonomous regions nor the current threat of Catalan independence have managed to put a stop to this time-honoured trend. Spain won’t break the loop.
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. Spain’s Comisión de Reforma de las Administraciones Públicas (Cora) and the Oficina de Ejecución para la Reforma de la Administración (Opera) are two newly-created committees that formally aim to reform the public administration in Spain and get rid of red tape but, in fact, seek to drain regional governments of their devolved powers in a bid to recentralise the country’s administration.