29/07: The Tribunal de Orden Público is staging a comeback

Disguised as Spain’s Commission Against Violence in sport, but with the same spirit. An extraordinary jurisdiction whose legitimacy is dubious, that sanctions deeds that not even Spain’s laws regard as an offence; one whose character is closer to revenge and resentment, than justice. It proposes astronomical fines following bizarre criteria, all the while pretending to uphold public order and fight violence when, in fact, it persecutes attitudes that have nothing to do with violence but with the exercise of basic democratic liberties, such as freedom of thought, speech and association. Just like the old Tribunal de Orden Público (TOP) (1) used to do.

The penalties proposed for booing the Spanish national anthem at the Cup final are ludicrous. With them, Spain raises its ugliest head: its response to today’s boos is filled with the same spirit as in 1925, when the anthem was also booed during Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship. They know it won’t help matters.

If this is the Spain that we are being offered, Catalanists should see it for what it is: an invitation to make a quick exit. But there are many sensible Spaniards, even ones who found the boos offensive, that realise the extent of this democracy’s decay. What will they say about it? They ought to say something about it. I look forward to hearing it.


(1) N.T. Spain’s Tribunal de Orden Público (Court for Public Order) was a notorious court created by General Franco’s regime to deal with political crimes.