The State’s every available resource will be mobilised in support of a united Spain. No holds will be barred, as announced by the Partido Popular government and the Spanish judiciary, which presents a united front with the executive branch. This is hardly surprising. No State like the Spanish would be prepared to relinquish power willingly and, for years, the PP has kept busy undermining Spain’s system of autonomous regions. Regional devolution gives off a whiff of pseudo-federalism, and so it has been fought as you would combat an anomaly; and the constitutional spirit that aimed to be inclusive of diversity choked to death years ago.
Rajoy has painted himself into a corner. Bogged down by the petition of signatures against the Catalan Statute that he sponsored years ago, the Spanish PM has lost all capacity for dialogue. On Wednesday the Catalan parliament will pass the referendum bill, the independence vote will be called and hostilities will break out, involving several protagonists and foot soldiers. Unionist platform Societat Civil Catalana filed a complaint which has allowed Spain’s Court of Auditors to launch another dubious operation against the civil servants who were directly or indirectly involved in the non-binding independence vote of November 9 2014. The goal is to frighten public employees so that none of them will sign off on any orders or files. This threatens society at large, including companies whose services might be engaged by the Catalan administration, as well as the general public that wants to vote.
Fear will have an effect, but dignity is a force to be reckoned with. The Spanish Constitutional Court’s ruling that watered down the Catalan Statute opened up Pandora’s box. On Wednesday the Catalan government and parliament will take a decisive step, a way forward. They will put the outcome in the hands of the people.