Pablo Casado, the newly-elected PP leader, has stated that reconquering Catalonia is his main political objective. I find the word disturbing. “Reconquering” is such an unequivocally belligerent word that you would need to go to great lengths to explain yourself, if you wished to give it a different meaning.
For instance, you could understand how a democratic Spanish nationalist leader, not unlike Azaña in the 1930s, might say that he intends to reconquer Catalonia emotionally: to win back the hearts and minds of Catalans, to entice them with the notion of a pluralistic Spain that is open-minded and sympathetic. If that were the case, I would ask myself whether he’s not too late for that.
However, Casado’s reconquest is not a sentimental one. He does not intend to seduce the Catalan people. He intends to reconquer Catalonia physically. In other words, to have all the power and all the policy-making capabilities to impose on Catalonia a full adherence to his notion of Spain, regardless of the Catalan people’s opinions and feelings.
Casado has outlined the goals of his reconquest: to use the reins of power to de-catalanise Catalonia, to turn her into Tabarnia (1), the name which some have suggested for a de-catalanised Catalonia, once the tumour of Catalan-ness has been excised. It is a threat.
(1) In recent months some unionists have (half-jokingly) advocated the creation of a separate political entity (“Tabarnia”) formed by the unionist-majority areas in Catalonia, not entirely unlike the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina.