After 72 hours in which the Spanish government kept its eyes well averted from the serious accusations hanging over it due to the massive espionage carried out with Pegasus software, dubbed as CatalanGate, the president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, took advantage of a trip to Madrid to raise the pressure on Pedro Sánchez and send him a message: someone must take responsibility. To be frank about it, given the colossal size of a case that has European scope, the only way to take political responsibility is through one or more resignations. The way forward for the parliamentary commission of inquiry proposed in the Spanish Congress of Deputies on Wednesday is still impassable for now and the announcement of a "freeze on relations" is something that no one knows the exact meaning of, as Catalan ministries continue to talk to Spanish counterparts as if nothing had happened. The clearest example is the controversial candidacy for the 2030 Winter Olympics in the Pyrenees, although there are other issues that the Generalitat's departments could explain.
The Spanish executive must make a movement if it does not want the legislature to enter an area of turbulence and, surely, the Spanish Socialists (PSOE) and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) are talking about this. A few commentators close to the PSOE are beginning to publicly assert the gravity of the gangsterish spy operation and the need to pay a price for it. But they are in the minority, since in Madrid the media coverage in the vast majority of headlines is either non-existent or couched as a justification - with this second option also beginning to make its way into the official arguments being heard from the parties. Unidas Podemos is also uncomfortable, although it believes that this is not its hill to die on and the end result is that it is more testimonial than forceful. That is to say, for them it is not, for example, like the labour reform, on which they did go all out.
This is not the first time that an issue of espionage by the Spanish government has impacted with such force on political life. It happened before in 1995 in a political equilibrium quite similar to the current one, with a PSOE lacking an absolute majority and dependent in those years on Catalonia's Convergència i Unió to extend the legislature and delay as much as possible the coming to power of José María Aznar, which would eventually occur the following year. Well, it was the political pressure from the indispensable Jordi Pujol and his valuable MPs which resulted in the resignation of deputy PM Narcís Serra and the defence minister, Julián Garcia Vargas. There were no ifs or buts: either those two heads rolled or the legislature was over. It is true that Pujol saw a unique opportunity to oust Serra, who was one of his declared political enemies, but that is quite irrelevant.
Two cases are never the same, but sometimes they look like peas in a pod. The editorial in Spanish daily El País, which was, then as now, pro-Socialist and supportive of the prime minister, commented: "The resignations only confirm the political consequences that a scandal like that of the Cesid intelligence service wiretapping inevitably had to have. PM González can thus go to Congress today with this evidence that he has understood the gravity of the situation created". The ABC newspaper, from a different point of view, and angry because the resignation had not affected the PM himself, stated: "As a result of the public knowledge that the Cesid had spied on citizens, including the king, conduct which is defined as a crime in the penal code and violates rights recognized in the Constitution, Felipe González has dumped ballast". There are more cases, but it is worth remembering that the case of the CatalanGate espionage is, without a doubt, a vastly weightier matter.
So much so that, for example, the European Parliament has offered parliamentarians a service to detect whether Pegasus has infected their mobile phones as a result of CatalanGate. The service is being offered at the request of the president, Roberta Metsola, as pro-independence Catalan MEPs have been affected, as has been proven. Under normal circumstances one would be surprised by the great speed of the Strasbourg chamber in relation to the inaction of the Spanish Parliament, which have not even hinted at any such measure when it too has deputies whose phones have been infected by Pegasus. It would seem that, in the end, there is not only a Spanish justice and a European justice, but also a way of understanding the protection of parliamentary representatives in Europe that is very different from the Spanish interpretation. And we could go on with this, noting many other points of comparison until reaching the real nub of the problem, which is none other than a different - very different - way of understanding democracy.