It's been a while since I've had anything in this blog that I would consider to be a rant. I suppose some may not share that opinion. As a final post for the moment on the Catalan elections I thought I'd share a list of some of the things I found most irritating during the campaign. Plenty of material there, but this time I've decided to leave all the ridiculous stuff from right wing sources in Madrid to one side. I've dedicated plenty of space to them before on this blog and I hope to continue doing so, it forms an important part of what I see as my public service remit.
Instead this time I'm focusing on things from the pro-sovereignty side. Feel free to put the other side or conflicting opinions in the comments, for a day or two we can still pretend we live in a free society. The disclaimer first, I think I've already pointed out on previous occasions that I support the right to decide for Cataluña and other places too. I am not now nor have I ever been a prisoner of the opinions of the lunatic right in Madrid. I don't share the argument for Catalan independence, although I understand and respect the case for it when it is reasonably argued. However, that is not the case with the shit I'm going to describe now. Here we go:
The "nobody loves us" argument. You see it in comments like "we have to separate because we see the Spanish have no love for us". Oh please, grow up! Be like Millwall fans for God's sake. No one loves us, we don't care. Well, maybe you don't need to go that far, although at any given time half of them are probably slumped in a bar somewhere just off the Ramblas anyway. But a bit of mental toughness. Not everybody has to like everybody else to be able to share the same territory. Perhaps also consider the possibility that describing the rest of the country as fascists (see below) or lazy scroungers living off your hard earned money doesn't really help when it comes to creating a harmonious and mutually respectful atmosphere? Just a suggestion, take it away and think about it. But do stop bleating.
It's the history stupid! I don't have a disdain for history, on the contrary I think it's very important that we study and above all learn lessons from the past. But that's not the same as living in it. Trying to use past glories as a basis for the future is precisely that. Only the good bits of history, of course, not the bits where most people are just peasants standing around in their own shit and keeling over with the plague. Let's just pretend we're all in the Catalan nobility and we're riding off to conquer another chunk of Italy or an island somewhere. I don't generally accept Balkan/Catalan comparisons, but I can't stomach that kind of Serbian "we fought a battle in this muddy field 1000 years ago so therefore its ours" mentality. It's over, and it's a far better contribution to join in constructing a different future than to try and return to an often imagined past. If, after having considered the issue you decide that what you like is dressing up in stupidly heavy armour and slaughtering peasants than you are probably standing in the right muddy field. Just try not to bother anybody.
The fake solidarity argument. Of course I have nothing at all against redistribution between wealthier and poorer regions but first we have to have all of our money. ALL OF IT! I guess it helps that I can write this from a region that also contributes to the redistribution of wealth in Spain, and I can declare that I'm in favour of that policy. There should be more transparency over funding and where all the money goes. Those who want independence or the full monty in terms of fiscal receipts are clearly not in favour of redistribution, at least not outside of Catalan borders. So why pretend otherwise if you are demanding something that makes it impossible? Will it be 10 pujols a week into the collection plate at church for solidarity after independence?
There's no investment. You know those Spanish 'pijo' cretins who like to comment in foreign media like the FT or The Economist trying to take advantage of what they assume is complete overseas ignorance about Spanish affairs? You know who I mean, they would write things like "Perhaps you are not aware of this, but Zapatero is really an ETA terrorist and second cousin of Saddam Hussein who eats the babies of decent Spanish families for a hobby". Well there's a Catalan equivalent. They write things like "Spain spends millions on high speed trains in other regions, yet we have no transport link to France". You lying little fuck is my usual measured reaction to this kind of comment. It's being built and its about to fucking open, and its not like at the moment you have to change in Barcelona into a donkey cart to get to the French border. When I come to power anybody who tries to get away with this will be taken outside and given a severe talking to by someone dressed as a traditional British bobby. Maybe a slap too, but in a non gratuitous way, obviously. Then they'll have to write a letter of apology to the media organisation concerned saying how sorry they are for being a lying little fuck. I mean, if you have to tell porkies like that to bolster your case? About 6 months after the high speed link to the border opens there'll be someone writing in the comments page of The Guardian saying "Oh it's so unfair that it takes us Catalans 27 seconds to get to Paris in our train that only goes at 3000 km a minute when in Madrid they have one that gets there in 26 seconds and lands on fucking Mars on the way". Jeez it's annoying.
Franco. It's the opposite of the history thing combined with a touch of the pijo cretin. This notion that Cataluña is some sort of 21st century liberal Scandinavian paradise trapped in the evil grasp of a medieval theocratic Spanish beast. Or a Francoist beast, take your choice. I mean it's not like CiU are the fucking People's Democratic Front For The Liberation Of Catalunya is it? Whilst we're on the subject, and despite the attempts to talk them up, it's not like Esquerra Republicana are either. Take Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida for example. This politician, leader of the CiU group in the Spanish parliament, is bizarrely popular with all sorts of Spaniards. This is because, on issues that don't affect Cataluña, he exemplifies this sort of "Why don't you all stop bickering and sort yourselves out?" common sense approach. He also lives a very fine life in the Palace Hotel in Madrid. He is also a catholic reactionary with opinions so extreme on issues such as homosexuality that you can almost imagine people at a Hazteoir meeting nudging each other and whispering "He's a bit over the top isn't he?" Then there's Franco and this idea that Spain has not changed even a little bit since 1975. Madrid, according to the absurd caricature, is supposed to be some sort of drab city straight out of a 1940's black and white movie where blue shirted Falangists keep the cowed inhabitants of the city in check. Now even if you line up the entire readership of La Gaceta in the same place, all you end up with is something that looks a bit like a large group of smokers outside an office building. Except that by the time you've finished half of them have died of old age anyway. This Franco memorial meeting next weekend, commenters were saying, is proof of how little Spain has changed. But journalists will outnumber other attendees 4 to 1 at least. Anyway, the Falangists have been replaced by the riot cops these days, so who says we've got nothing in common with Barcelona? Of course there are all sorts of things that could and should be modernised to make a better society, and the remaining leftovers of Francoism should be dealt with. Says a person who comes from a country where the opening of parliament is like a Monty Python parody with people wearing multi-coloured smocks and waving staffs and pikes.
All these lists for everything. You know what I mean, all those space fillers in what used to be called the quality press like "57 things you didn't know about some alleged celebrity who you've never fucking heard of anyway" I don't even make lists for going shopping. Life isn't some sort of giant Powerpoint slide for Christ's sake. Down with lists!