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Nonexistent politics

Judge Castro has decided to name the princess as a suspect, pointing out that any other course would amount to a serious short-circuiting of justice

When public confidence in our institutions is in another slump, the inculpation of Princess Cristina sounds a satisfying note; after all, we live in a country where some judges still believe that "justice is the same for everyone." The fact that Judge Castro feels obliged to mention this principle in his writ shows that he is aware of the exceptional nature of the case. In fact, only prejudices far removed from judicial rectitude could have justified leaving the infanta out of it: the authoritarian prejudice of those who think it is acceptable to give privileged treatment to persons who represent an institution such as the Crown; the aristocratic prejudice of those who think it is acceptable to leave the plebeian holding the can in the role of firebreak for the nobility; and the macho prejudice of those who think that women are not responsible for their acts, their obligation being that of unconditional support for the husband.

Judge Castro has decided to name the princess as a suspect, pointing out that any other course would amount to a serious short-circuiting of justice. The infanta's implication is the hard-won prize of the calculated defense of Diego Torres, the former partner on whom Iñaki Urdangarin, in his February 2012 statement, sought to dump the sole responsibility. Since that time Torres has released an ongoing trickle of information that makes the infanta's involvement inevitable, while casting shadows on the Royal Household itself.

A bankruptcy of Catalonia, which represents almost 20 percent of Spain's GDP, would drag the whole country down with it

Yet the good flavor of one act of judicial independence cannot wash away the lingering bitterness of what The New York Times calls "corruption cases affecting almost all the country's institutions." On the international scene, Spain is now associated with three things: unemployment, corruption and constitutional crisis. Unemployment also means inequality and deep social division; corruption amounts to institutional crisis, going beyond party politics and affecting the country's elite as a whole; and constitutional crisis sums up the dysfunctional deadlock of the system produced by the post-Franco transition to democracy: the crisis of the Crown and of the Catalan secessionist process, which has now become, for certain persons, a question of survival. The Catalan region is in financial emergency, but this does not mean that the Madrid government's position is strong. A bankruptcy of Catalonia, which represents almost 20 percent of Spain's GDP, would drag the whole country down with it.

In this scenario, where does the Spanish government stand? Mariano Rajoy used his televised appearance before his party's steering committee to deliver a threefold message: a complacent triumphalism that can be understood only in terms of insensitivity to people's problems; obstinate persistence in the policies already undertaken; and a call to unity in his party. As for social division, he tiptoed around it, utilizing the protest gatherings around the homes of rightwing politicians as a pretext for indignation, as if the problem were the protests and not the abuses, the inequality and the hardship. On corruption he spoke in the past tense, when he still owes us explanations about the ex-party treasurer Bárcenas. As for the constitutional crisis, he pronounced a jingle that blocks all political dialogue: "If anyone wishes to change the law, he knows how to go about it, and what the mechanism is." Such is Rajoy's way: he and his party alone, as if other political and social actors, beginning with the citizens, did not exist. His cold-shouldering of journalists says it all about his way of understanding politics.

The acceptance of the market culture as the political landscape of our time has drained public discourse of all moral and critical content: of "things that money can't buy." In this sense, Rajoy is a very modern politician, reflecting this particular stage of the development of European capitalism. In other words, nonexistent politics.

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