THE Mobile World Congress was held recently in Barcelona where Cataluña’s political and constitutional crisis has not gone unnoticed by the Congress’s organisers GSMA.
They have agreed to hold the annual conference in Barcelona until 2023, a spokeswoman said: “But we will continue to monitor events in Spain and Cataluña and evaluate any potential impact,” she announced.
So as well as the 3,208 companies that have left since last autumn, Cataluña could lose the Congress, which brings jobs, thousands of visitors and millions of euros to the city.
Cataluña might believe it drives the Spanish economy but instead it’s driving head-on into a brick wall.
Who could put a name to most of them anyway?
DE GUINDOS has always been one of the most-easily recognised, together with finance minister Cristobal Montoro. Then there’s Rajoy’s righthand woman, the vertically-challenged vice-president Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, sometimes known as the Poison Dwarf.
There’s also the Partido Popular secretary general Dolores de Cospedal, who hungered after a Cabinet post but was shunted into a siding, namely the Ministry of Defence, to keep her out of Saenz de Santamaria’s way.
What the mutterers are aware of, but reluctant to say aloud is that new, recognisable faces are badly needed and change should start at the top.
The very top, eh Mariano?
Wear a yellow ribbon
PEP GUARDIOLA, sometime Barcelona manager, now at Manchester City, makes no secret of his support for Catalan independence.
He wears with pride a yellow ribbon demonstrating his support for Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sanchez and Joaquim Forn, remanded on charges of sedition, rebellion and misappropriation of public funds.
The Football Association announced that the ribbon is a political statement which breaches its kit and advertising regulations but Guardiola does not intend to remove it. “Those guys in Spain, they haven’t been proven guilty,” he said.
Junqueras, Sanchez and Forn remain remanded because Pablo Llamela, the Supreme Court judge, believes they could flee once released.
Given the example of former president Carles Puigdemont who scuttled off to Brussels as soon as things got hairy, there is every reason to believe Llamela is right.
Other members of the former Catalan coalition government remanded with them last November were released after promising to be good boys and girls and explaining that the UDI of October 27 was ‘purely symbolic.’ More of a white flag than a yellow ribbon, then.
CONSIDERING that pollsters have found that only 40.8 per cent of Catalans now support independence, it’s time for the Catalan separatists to concede that they are unauthorised to form a government.
Perhaps that’s why they now want remanded Jordi Sanchez as a substitute for self-exiled Carles Puigdemont as the next regional president.
Since this will get the thumbs down on legal grounds, this allows the separatists to continue to avoid forming a pro-independence government that only two-fifths of the population want.
Room at the top
LUIS DE GUINDOS, Spain’s Minister of the Economy, is all set to become vice-president of the European Bank and his departure should theoretically herald a Cabinet reshuffle.
As always, Mariano Rajoy is shuffling only his feet and giving his usual impression of forward movement while standing still.
Nominating a new economy minister will be the only change, Rajoy has said, to the despair of many Partido Popular insiders.
Change and renovation are needed, they mutter amongst themselves, but the public and potential voters are getting only the same old faces.