He still hasn't taken possession of the presidency of Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce and Joan Canadell i Bruguera, a 51-year-old businessman, has already risen several places on the list of people who are not well-received by the Barcelona establishment. Fifteen days after the overwhelming victory of the candidacy promoted by the Catalan National Assembly under the name Eines de País ("Tools of State"), a hard blow for the pride of the Barcelona establishment (confirming, once again, that its resources to impose its will have lost strength), Canadell's election marks a second turning point. It's enough to have a glance at this Thursday's print papers to see that their understanding of the earthquake that's taken place is limited or nil and that they still haven't taken it onboard that the winners have been elected to bring about a break with the past.
Canadell is not just a president of broad consensus within the candidacy which won by an overwhelming absolute majority but, like anyone who has just taken office, he deserves to be evaluated and judged by his actions. We already know that, in these times, the idea of a hundred days of truce for all new office-holders has gone to a better place. But, after such a series of mistakes over these months, proposing candidates who've earned negligible results, it would seem more intelligent to wait and see. I don't know, perhaps 30 days and stopping whining over the result would be a good medicine.
After 17 years of Miquel Valls' presidency, the Catalan business community has voted for something more than a cosmetic change: it's opted for a breath of fresh air like a gale and to redirect the boat in a certain direction. One of the phrases you hear the most over these days, and which ends up being a refuge for those who lost, is that the Chamber shouldn't do politics and that there are already institutions like the government, Parliament and political parties for that. However strange it may seem, I couldn't agree more: they have to stop doing politics and distance themselves from the docile, well-behaved role of their predecessors. They have to lobby, they have to be at the service of the business community and have to be at the service of the country. Obviously they have to be at the service of the country. Who else does the Spanish Chamber of Commerce serve? I don't remember it surprising anyone, for example, to see its president, José Luís Bonet, alongside the prime minister Pedro Sánchez, elbow-to-elbow, during the first visit by a Spanish head of government to Cuba in 32 years.
With the arrival of Canadell to the presidency of the Chamber, a process is starting which could act as the advance guard for the renovation of other business institutions which have turn overs to come like, for example, the employers' association for small and medium businesses Pimec. Although each body has its own dynamics, it's clear that the leadership of Canadell and his new team will be decisive for building trust in similar changes elsewhere.
The loss of the jewel in the Barcelona jet set's crown and the bad losers many of its members have shown themselves to be, especially its media arms, suggest Canadell won't have an easy time of his mandate. The new team will have to stay faithful to the program it's won on, but also exert itself to bring in new support. What is, perhaps, the most important victory for the independence movement since the events of October 2017 shouldn't be squandered.