It is no great novelty that there are discrepancies in the Spanish government over the decision imposed by Pedro Sánchez to put an end to the full coronavirus lockdown this Monday, nor is it any surprise that for the fifth consecutive time the prime minister of Spain has been criticised by the presidents of the autonomous communities this Sunday in their regular weekly meeting, by videoconference, from the Moncloa palace, in which the great majority of the regional leaders protest. But the current tenant of the government palace pretends he doesn't hear them. And so it goes until next Sunday.
We are living in an age when authoritarianism is on the rise, with a populist face in some places and in others simply with resignation, as the alternative is worse. Thus, the opposition is reduced to speeches - this is what has happened to Spain's autonomous presidents since Sánchez imposed the single command - and even a party like Podemos has to express its differences via a tweet from Pablo Iglesias, recently appointed as deputy prime minister. Nothing said directly, but instead, a tweet linking to an article about what happened in Bergamo, in the heart of Lombardy, the region most devastated by coronavirus in Italy, and where the pressure exerted by the employers' association Confindustria was of great importance in slowing down the implantation of measures to prevent the spread of the virus. And everyone can interpret that exactly as they wish to.
It must be the new way of doing politics and an attempt to ensure that something has been said, so that if Sánchez's decision goes wrong, they will have been warned. I don't know if this will save the prime minister's coalition partner from being burnt by this irresponsible and dangerous decision, which can be understood only for economic reasons. Perhaps it would be easier to explain that the situation is what it is and that the state of the Spanish economy leaves no room for any other alternative. It is normal for the public to be very scared, given that very high one-day figures for deaths are still being maintained - 619 in Spain and 111 in Catalonia, at the time of writing - with a slight rise over the previous day.
In Catalonia, the release from lockdown will not fully occur until Tuesday as Monday is a public holiday. The fact that president Torra had said he would not stand idly watching this means that within hours we will know if there will be a response from the Catalan executive and what it will be. The margin is certainly small if the perimeter of competencies lost by Catalonia is not to be burst. We hope the epidemiologist Oriol Mitjà was not right when he warned that the effects of lifting the lockdown too soon could be devastating.