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A hymn without lyrics, but with good music
Oct 23, 2017

The allusion to the lack of lyrics in our national anthem is, of course, a metaphor. By it I mean the capacity for emotion, for motivation, which, regardless of ideology, has encouraged the sedition of the Catalan government, a measured sedition, of course, since they know its serious consequences. Spain is, curiously enough, a great country with a certain complex about its national symbols. It is hard for people to express, to verbalise, their pride in being Spanish, as a Frenchman would undoubtedly do. On the one hand, the burden of the dictatorship still weighs almost two generations later. Among its crimes, those of us who have not lived through it, we find the ideological capture of the signs, the formal appropriation of these signs that still weighs on the collective historical memory. But why is this still the case today? In my opinion, the cause is the disastrous educational policy followed in Spain since the beginning of democracy. Children are not educated in the "House of all" which is Spain, a Nation in which we all fit, but rather an absurd autonomous localism is promoted for the profit of school textbook publishers. Intentional in Communities such as Catalonia, where it translates into an instrument of national detachment, a complicated solution today. It even reaches the unjust refrain "Spain robs us". I refer in this respect to the masterly article by Professor Velarde, published in this opinion section on 10 October, in which he summarised the economic and social evolution of Catalonia over the last eighty years. It is for this reason that very different radical sectors, together with a part of Catalan society in good faith and out of personal conviction, with historical roots that cannot be ignored, identified themselves as a sign of identity with the illegal attitude of those who want to break up coexistence. I believe that successive central governments lacked the emotional intelligence to strengthen what unites us; to campaign politically and socially in favour of the great project that is Spain. This has nothing to do with the reaction of the governments of the United Kingdom or Canada in favour of Scotland and Quebec remaining in their states. Certainly under a different constitutional model. Despite this, in recent years in Spain there has never been an apology for common feelings; for unregulated spaces; for emotion; for a commitment to the coexistence of different peoples under the same coordinates. A flag and an anthem in which there is room for other flags and other anthems.

Spain is not a standardised nation. For five hundred years we have had a variable geometry and an unstable balance that generation after generation has to be taken care of. For this reason, political errors must be added to the electoral rules. These have led to the oscillation from the need for the support of regional formations, with a ridiculous representation in proportion to their electoral achievements, to the exceptional electoral rollers.

Today, the impression of a large part of Catalan society, not just the separatists, is that there is no hint of an affective rapprochement with the citizens beyond the -legitimate- response to the -illegitimate- aggressions of the Catalan rulers. In such a political context, there are two relevant situations. One is undoubtedly good, and the other could be good if it is correctly modulated. The good one is that the street now belongs to everyone in Catalonia. Those who keep quiet, those of us who tend to keep quiet, now dare to do so. In Catalonia, after the attacks on the Ramblas - the Mossos have a lot of explaining to do - and after I-0 - a disaster for everyone - there was finally a reaction. The second relevant situation is the use of the "Spanishised" federal instrument of article 155 of our Constitution, which has begun with the mandatory injunction and can be assessed next week. This precept, of direct application, as it does not require legal development and has a flexible content, has only been used once. It was against the Canary Islands, during Spain's entry into the European Union, in the face of the disagreement between the regional and central authorities over the abolition and compensation of the traditional Canary Islands tariff regime. Where things have reached, the measures to be adopted by the Senate, i.e. the government given the PP's absolute majority, will undoubtedly be complicated. No one doubts that its objective must be to restore undisputed self-government and channel it into statutory and constitutional legality in the terms in force, so state management in the medium term in Catalonia seems out of the question.

Constitutional reform is also announced. It is unavoidable. And this is good news, as it will undoubtedly take into account that the singularity of an anthem without lyrics, in a plural State like ours, is that each Spaniard puts his or her own to a music that belongs to all of us.