Monday, 18 December 2006

A scary thought…

These days, I find myself thinking things that I never thought I would consider. I am starting to have my doubts about the Tripartite coalition government. Sometimes, when one’s strength weakens, I wonder if, perhaps, maybe, it was not that bad under CiU after all. Was it?

Let me set the record straight: I have never in my life voted for CiU. But nowadays I wonder: will I end up voting CiU in 3-4 years? That's a scary thought!!

I have always held the view that CiU would never lead the country anywhere. They may be good managers and talk a good game, but I don’t understand what is the outcome they are looking for. What do we want to achieve for Catalonia? Do they want to be part of Spain or not? And in what terms? Probably they are as confused as I am. But I have never voted them. I never got excited about CiU’s political message. I have been a loyal ERC voter (except a period when I was a communist… the shame!) for many years now.

ERC has taken a massive gamble with the Tripartit 2. A President with more power, perhaps less charisma but with more control of the media is now in charge. With Montilla, a proper Spaniard is in charge of the Generalitat. He is someone that wants Catalonia to be just like any other autonomous region in Spain. We know what his political project for Catalonia is: Spain. With Montilla we have certainty. At least with CiU I had some doubts.

Will ERC be able to influence government policy and decision-making with such a man in charge? So far it is not looking good but then again I don’t live in Catalonia so what do I know anymore?

Then I read that a security guard is still in prison for shooting at a car being driven by two thiefs that were trying to run him over. The man, who has all the required accreditations, is still in prison. I don’t understand why. As far as I can read in the press, this is no Tony Martin (the English farmer who shot two gipsies on the back as they were running away). Someone correct me if I am wrong but the thieves were in a car, trying to run him over, he fires away, one dies in hospital a few days later. The security guard has been accused of murder and is still in prison. I find this whole episode quite amazing to be honest.

But nothing surprises me in Catalonia anymore: we also have now a communist in charge of the police! What next?

I also read that the Government has passed a law in the Catalan Parliament that would allow the Generalitat to expropriate empty residential properties. Apparently this is in order to mitigate the acute shortage in housing and to increase the supply of properties available for rent. Even the most incompetent of economists knows that expropriation is the least effective policy mechanism to alter market characteristics. Has anyone in the Tripartit ever heard of the concept of Pigovian Tax?? Has anyone in the Government analysed if expropriation is the most cost-effective method? Would it not be easier to close tax loopholes and raise taxes for empty properties?

I am going over to Barcelona to visit family between the 20-26th December. I am looking forward to catch up with family and friends and eating out. But I am also wary that the country I left almost 8 years ago is changing beyond recognition. And I am not sure anymore it is for the better. I guess I will be able to have a wee look for myself shortly.

As I like to be an optimist, let’s finish on a positive note. It has been announced today that National Geographic will be published in Catalan. This is very good news indeed and will ensure that younger generations will have access to a high quality natural science publication in our precious and endangered language. Well done to the publishing house, RBA.

1 comment:

Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

Thank you for finishing your article with positive news. I am sure that if we carry on fighting for justice we will succeed. We should never give up and we should neither focus only towards negative developments. I can see some people here just doing that. They don't seem to see that there are good things happening at the moment, we are achieving more than we ever achieved since the industralisation. And we must carry on with positive constructive work to make it better.
I was quite astonished when ERC joined Tripartit 2, while they were the ones to break it. The only thing that has changed after all this fuss is the President of Catalonia. We had Pascual Maragall and now Josep Muntilla. And I am not sure this is going to be a good period for Catalonia.
However, I can see a positive movement going on. And I hope this sooner or later will infiltrate into the Catalan politics. I have faith in a democratic success for Catalonia within the EU. Together with Scotland, Basque country and other European regions in a similar situation.
Perhaps we need a new generation of politicians with more courage. We’ll see.