Although it's not the first time she's done so, that's no reason to overlook the scandalous ease with which the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, passes the blame on to others, whether it be the Catalan government, other authorities or the full variety of sectors of city society every time there's a conflict. According to her statements since becoming mayor, responsibility for her inability to put together the least alliance to govern the city with a stable political majority falls to the parties; that for her failure to pass a budget year after year falls to the groups on the city council; that for the six times she's been censured by the council, something which has never happened before, falls to Trias, Collboni and Bosch; that for the disaster of rents in Barcelona falls to Pedro Sánchez; that for the conflict with taxi drivers falls to the Catalan government and sustainability minister Damià Calvet; even that for, not their imprisonment, but the approval of the unilateral declaration of independence, falls to the imprisoned Catalan government ministers for fear of being labelled traitors.
With a very poor evaluation of her management over these last four years (fewer than three in ten Barcelonans say they trust her, according to a survey by Feedback for El Nacional - link in Catalan), Colau's strategy is clear for the campaign which will start this Friday: tiptoe around the management she has carried out, bring up topics using a formula of "new" promises she hasn't been able to meet going from the tram to housing, and shift the blame for areas of government she hasn't handled well through inability or lack of agreement.
In the survey we published last Friday, the people of Barcelona failed the city's management in areas as varied as the working of bike lines, the cleanliness of the city, roads and traffic, public safety, the control of anti-social behaviour and prostitution in public spaces, the illegal occupation of properties, the monitoring and regulation of the street black market and housing prices. Curiously, of the five areas she gets a passing mark in, she's against two of them: tourism in Barcelona and the availability and quality of water, a service about which some day she'll have to explain her obsession with ending with a successful, collaborative, public-private model and which will end up being more expensive for Barcelonans for an equal or worse service.
Especially striking is the failing grade awarded by PSC and En Comú voters (and the right too) to her management of public safety. It was merely a question of time before Colau, for electoral self-interest, would blame the Catalan government, its interior ministry and that ministry's head, Miquel Buch, of neglecting their duties and accuse the Mossos, the Catalan police, of not turning up at various joint police operations in the city. Forgetting, clearly, her continuous disagreements with the city's urban guard, the practical disappearance of officers from the streets and a series of mistaken decisions which haven't helped to guide one of the basic policy areas for any city. Colau had to correct herself a few hours later and refute her own accusations against the Mossos. Some see incompetence, others bad faith. But, above all, a burden for the good running of Barcelona.