Jean Castex, the new Prime Minister of France and former mayor of Prades, has recently warned French people (and my understanding is that he was mainly addressing the people of French Catalonia) against travelling south of the border due to the coronavirus. Journalist Henry de Laguérie mentioned Castex’s warning on Twitter, which prompted an answer from Manuel Valls, the sorely missed former French PM and mayoral candidate for Barcelona city.
In his message, Valls replied to Castex, Emmanuel Macron and Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez (Valls holds nothing back). His message, originally in French, read: “A gentle but firm reminder to Jean Castex: Catalonia is not a country. I suppose he was referring to Spain”.
It gets me all pumped up and I find it wondrous that my much-admired Manuel Valls should prefer to screw a whole EU member state (Spain) rather than admit that Catalonia is a country, something which the new French PM is quite happy to acknowledge. Castex asked his fellow countrymen to refrain from travelling to Barcelona, Lleida, Viladecavalls or Sant Kevin de Vallfosca. However, Valls also asked them not to travel to Toledo, Múrcia, Villaconejos and Granada. In order to deny what the French casually refer to as “Le pays catalan”, the so-called politician screws over all of Spain. Let’s avoid “perverse nationalism” by being “integrated ultra-nationalists”.
This is not just a Barcelona councillor who should be concerned about calls made in neighbouring countries not to visit the city that pays his wages, but actually doesn’t give a toss about it. You see, if public health authorities warned against travelling to, say, Burgundy (that would be tragic) then if we followed Valls’ reasoning we should infer that the ban applies to the whole of France. I’ll go and fetch my white dress, as I’m going to a wedding tomorrow. I won’t say where because the virus knows no borders.