Although Spanish history only acknowledges as black legend the propaganda movement promoted by sixteenth century writers of English, Dutch and other nationalities to reduce Spanish prestige and influence, the fact is that the black legend, as Julián María rightly puts it in his Intelligible Spain, revives with any pretext, without fail. Why would that be, we must ask -as the philosopher and essay writer from Valladolid says.
And it is true, Spain is incorrigible. Unable to resemble democratic models of their surrounding environment and always in need of savers rather than politicians. If dialogue is so easy elsewhere, why is it that Spain cannot dialogue? For seven years, since September 2012, Spain has been denying dialogue to the pro-independence movement, convinced that the problem was not Spain's, but that it solely belonged to those managing the politics Spain called the Catalan suflé, and which Madrid considered a momentary surge that was about to deflate and reveal that not so many were behind it. There have been elections, "operations Catalonia", the takeover of Catalan self-government, exile, prison, repression, financial asphyxia, trials in the Supreme Court... but the pro-independence movement remains, it is there where it was, ruling the Catalan Government. Two Spanish PMs have gone through the Spanish government, three general elections have been held (four if there is another one on the 10th November), and there have been more than 400 days of interim government, between Rajoy and Sánchez, in the last 40 months.
The problem, as it is now seen in all its cruelty -even if there continues to be huge reluctance to face the truth- is that dialogue is not part of the manual of Spanish politics. Hence the enormous ridicule of Pedro Sánchez's investiture this week. Electors had made it unambiguously clear with their vote on the last 28th April general elections. They asked PSOE to reach agreements, specially with Podemos, and to prevent a coalition government with the right and ultra rights PP, Ciudadanos and Vox -the so called trifascist. Of course it was not easy! Nobody ever said it would be, but not in many other European countries they would have spent so long disagreeing and so little time devoted to dialogue. They even had the backing of the 3 pro-independence parties, the Catalan left ERC, and the Basques left and centre Bildu and PNV, to unlock the situation. What the first two were going to do was not certain -the arrogant candidate peculiarly thanking them saying he would not give them anything in return- but both ERC and Bildu wanted to at least be consistent with their promises in such a stormy day.
It's hard to know what Sánchez wants, beyond a free investiture in which he can maneuver at will. For this, he needs the PP that until now has not lent itself to the abstention vote. He cannot even count on Rivera of Ciudadanos: "the party of tension" has other plans in mind. There is a new match to be played now with Unidas Podemos after 72 hours of harsh reproach and personal confrontation between Sánchez and Iglesias. We'll see what they are capable of from now on, but what is clear is that a lot of group therapy will be necessary to get the Spanish left out of the current situation. If there is a government in the end, and November elections are avoided, getting it with the abstention of PP's Casado seems easier today than getting it with Podemos' support to such a necessarily unstable executive which is badly regarded by the European Union and rejected by the Spanish deep state.
Pedro Sánchez has entered a tunnel he does not know how to come out of. And Spain has once again proved that it does not need any help to weaken its prestige, they can master that very well on their own.