On Friday, the front pages of El Mundo, ABC, and La Razón used the word "renounce" to describe the testimony of the Speaker of the House before the Supreme Court, which allowed her to avoid being held without bail. "Renounces secession", "renounces the process", "renounces the declaration of independence"... all because Carme Forcadell said what everyone knew from the very first: that the proclamation of the Republic was a symbolic political act without real legal effects.
Instead of celebrating that Forcadell had explicitly accepted the rules of the game -- which she had already done by continuing to preside over the permanent delegation of a Parliament dissolved by Article 155--, which is the normalization of what the Spanish government had called for to prevent the application of exceptional measures, they are trying to derisively portray her as a traitor before pro-independence voters and convert her into an icon of the death of the process. It's never enough for them. From the very beginning they have presented the conflict in terms of victory and defeat, and, as some Madrid columnists continue to repeat, there is no victory without humiliation.
Given this environment, the Spanish government will have a difficult path if it wants to bring about detente, as Minister Zoido insinuated when he asked the judges to keep in mind the context in which they were operating. The contrast with the Catalan press, where the common element in the headlines was the word "bail"-- shows the size of the abyss that is no longer political, but cultural.
The enthusiasm with which leaders of the PP and C's scrutinize the pro-independence movement also reflects the spirit of revenge. If their satisfaction with the emergency measures wasn't shocking enough, more surprising still is their enthusiasm for persecution and accusation. Instead of proposing political alternatives, always with an unfriendly look, they expend their energy scrutinizing TV3, or whether the Mossos act appropriately, or what teachers explain in class, or they unsuccessfully seek outbreaks of violence so as to criminalize the independence movement.
In the absence of authority, authoritarianism. In the absence of ideas and proposals, disqualification and intransigence. In the absence of political finesse, derision and mocking their opponents.