Nothing to say

The only one who has nothing to say is the King of Spain

I watch the news on TV and see a succession of public figures speaking about the coronavirus: Angela Merkel, Trump, Bolsonaro, a WHO official, numerous doctors, numerous ministers and the King of Spain.

It is like one of those numerical series, but there is something about the presence of the King of Spain in this series that is bugging me. I eventually realise what it is: everyone else who appeared had something to say. Like it or not, the prime ministers, the political leaders, speak about what they’re doing and what they’ll stop doing. The doctors give us important information about the disease. The only one who has nothing to say is the King of Spain. He can’t talk about new measures, which he can’t take; nor give us information, which he doesn’t have. So he says nothing. A series of platitudes, full of patriotic clichés which are totally lacking in substance. Empty words.

So why should somebody who literally has nothing to say appear in public? Well, apparently because he has so many things not to say. The most significant, the most important thing about the king's speech isn’t what he says, but what he doesn’t say. He appeared in public in order to say nothing. More precisely, he appeared in order to tell us that he doesn’t intend to say anything. Like water off a duck’s back. The coronavirus? Nothing, that was just the excuse.