THE OBSERVER

Emotionally intense

If we have to define 2017 collectively, we must speak, above all, of emotions. Of indignation, uncertainty, fear, sadness, but also of dignity and the ability to overcome. It has been an emotionally intense year and this has been expressed by our readers where it's easiest for them: on social networks and on this newspaper's website. ARA Data's team analyzed what readers have felt based on the emoticons they used to evaluate information posted on Facebook. The conclusion —in one line— of the reading of 800,000 expressions is that the politics to do with the independence process made us angry, we found the "Tweety" boat of the Spanish police to be funny, and the repression of October 1 and the death of Carles Capdevila saddened us enormously. Today is one of the few days of the year in which adults have the right to express desires and hopes for the future without falling into an appearance of being unrealistic dreamers. We have before us a brand new notebook to fill with good intentions.

EMOTIONALITY is not usually the best guide for political action. Let's come together to move from politics of scheming to politics with capital letters. The rationalization of emotions culminated in the results of the elections of December 21 (21-D), which should open the door to a new political phase. The clear majority for independence and sovereignty gives legitimacy to a reflection aimed at renovating strategies with sights set on the medium and long term. The sovereignty movement is solid, well-founded, and has made it clear that it has surpassed the stage of effervescent enthusiasm. Its success is more related to what decisions are made and how they are executed, and less so with the calendar. Phrases such as "We're in a hurry" and "Now or never" must be replaced by a requirement to recover and build a serious country worthy of living in. Catalonia needs a government with executive capacity that will restore a certain normalcy to the institution, and govern.

FREEDOM for the political prisoners and the leaders of peaceful civic movements must be a priority that goes beyond the boundaries of the pro-independence forces. The abuse of power and use of the justice system for political ends is harmful to Catalan politics, but also denigrates the quality of Spanish democracy. Who wants the Spain of October 1st? The commitment of the Comuns party must remain firm, while the PSC will have to continue to be ashamed of its support for an Article 155 that, in addition, did not give it the electoral boost that it hoped for.

THE READING of the results of 21-D must not only be done boldly in Catalonia. They also oblige Madrid to make the effort of acting with clarity. Rajoy must review the failure of his strategy for Catalonia and replace those responsible for it, from Xavier García Albiol to Enric Millo and Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría. Allowing the party that governs Spain to fall to 4 representatives and 185,670 votes, 4.2% of the popular vote, must have political and strategic consequences. But this wish will be difficult to bring to pass, because Rajoy will be tempted to prioritize blocking the challenge to the PP from the right by Ciudadanos, a party that has capitalized on unionism, anti-Catalanism, and the application of Article 155.

THE JUDICIAL YEAR will be intense, and the general cause against the referendum and the independence declaration will continue to be relentless. The justice system has acted harshly up to now, and we can't expect miracles. There is a tendency in Catalonia to undervalue the ability of judges to influence political power and the hardness of their ideological shell. The wish for 2018 is for the independence roadmap not to ignore the judicial consequences of every action, especially for a generation of politicians who, at the very least, will be disqualified. It will be necessary to think about who will be the new players and aspire to be represented by the best, the most capable of dialogue and building of majorities.

DIALOGUE. The air has been unbreathable at times this year, and it still is when we think of the prisoners. The desire for dialogue cannot be an illusion. Dialogue will end up being implemented if the majority is broadened, and this must be the main objective of the pro-sovereignty world. With a blind State, if the pro-sovereignty majority acts in favor of a better country, it will continue to grow.

ONE SINGLE PEOPLE. The broad base of the sovereignty movement is a reality, in spite of the fact that it bothers the purists on both sides. Independence will be achieved by speaking in both languages and respecting Spain, or it will be happen.

Having said all this, I also have other wishes and resolutions: to work fewer hours, go jogging every day, make it to some concert, get up even earlier, not get angry, think much more before responding to text messages, escape on the weekends to see my mother, read more books and fewer articles, listen more than speak. Have a good New Year, dear readers. Let's close the door on this convulsive year.

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