Read in Catalan

Only the utter incompetence of the Sánchez-Iglesias government and its absolute ignorance of Spanish history could make its leaders think that taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to let the military come out of their barracks and take part in a daily television presentation from the government's Moncloa palace was a trivial matter. The interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, faced insubordination twice in less than 24 hours from two people as important in the Civil Guard hierarchy as colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos - on Monday - and on Tuesday, lieutenant general Laurentino Ceña. The latter was the corps's deputy operational director and one of the best-known faces of those daily war communiques broadcast by Spanish public television and designed by the government, with a series of lecterns occupied by soldiers and a few civilians, just in case. De los Cobos was dismissed because the minister lost confidence in him, a way of saying that he did something which was not liked, and it was none other than the action, from the Civil Guard's Madrid command which he led, of preparing a report and sending it to the investigating judge on whether the government and senior officials committed a crime by authorizing the Women's Day demonstration on March 8th.

Soldiers and judges, judges and soldiers, an explosive cocktail of a parallel power structure in a Spain that is territorially disorganized, institutionally fragmented and economically ruined. And, to top it all off, the revelations of corruption in the monarchy which affect the former head of state, and the increasingly serious threat of a social explosion in the face of the disproportionate increase in poverty. It is Pablo Iglesias who is credited with one of the most controversial decisions of recent times: incorporating the uniformed officers into the daily briefing on the evolution of the coronavirus and the pandemic. Probably, thinking that it was better to have them close at hand, than locked up and seething in their barracks, and maybe even badmouthing the political powers. But Iglesias overlooked one thing: history. The past. The "23-F" - Spain's attempted coup of 1981 - was such a mess that the military ceased to have the prominence that the beginning of the democratic transition had reserved for them. Their presence in the media evaporated and newspapers stopped having a journalist in charge of that news area. Something similar happened with the judiciary: justice came to be thought more important than judges, with some very notable exceptions.

Today, much more than at any other time in recent history, we know the names of Spanish judges, its military is beginning to be part of everyday life, and yet, we do not know who the ministers are, when before it was expected that you would learn everyone down to Agriculture. Political power has had to give way to other powers that have been occupying a greater and greater amount of space. It is clear that if your way of resolving a conflict like the one that Marlaska has with the Civil Guard is to raise wages by completing the imposition of salary parity among police bodies, it sends a lot of messages... but not one of authority. It remains to be seen how the judicial investigation against the Sánchez government for the March 8th demonstration will progress and just how broad its terms will be. My bet is that it will reach as far as the Spanish cabinet itself and the health minister, Salvador Illa, who, moreover, is not an MP and, consequently, can be prosecuted without any prior appeal being made to the two legislative chambers.

You don’t have to be very far-sighted to conclude that hunting season has been opened. A scan of the Madrid press, and not just its traditionally right-wing part, provides a showcase of the gestures that are being made. Meanwhile, Ayuso, controversial president of the Community of Madrid, has publicly crossed the Rubicon: De los Cobos, she says, is a hero of Spanish democracy.