The terrible spectacle being played out by Podemos and the PSOE with the Catalan political prisoners, involving their pardon, their release before the next Catalan elections and the reform of the sedition law shows how inhumane politics is, even to the point of exploiting the unjust sentences of the Supreme Court. For more than three years in some cases, and very close to three in the others, the members of the Catalan government, the two Jordis and speaker Forcadell have been encarcerated in a series of different prisons. But time does not seem to pass - it is as if it has stopped or has even jumped backwards. A clear example is how the Supreme Court has seized the jurisdiction of the prison surveillance judges to revoke the status of semi-liberty to which the prisoners were entitled and had been granted. We will see what comes out of this debate, the result of which the court should announce in a matter of hours, although it is assumed that the result will be a stricter regime and the loss of the options for an open prison arrangement via the so-called Level Three regime.
This judicially-based debate is in addition to two others which are political: the demand for the release of the prisoners before the Catalan elections of 14th February which MP Jaume Asens is calling for from within one of Spain's governing parties, so that the Catalan elections might be held with a certain feeling of normality, with their release from prison via a pardon, for example. There is an unwritten commitment that this will be the case and that they will be able to carry out a normal electoral campaign, but it is not so clear how it will materialize with a government so used to saying one thing and then the opposite with just hours separating the two.
Thus, the Spanish justice minister himself, Juan Carlos Campo, who had guaranteed the reform of the Penal Code to modify the outdated crime of sedition has put this initiative on the hold, waiting for a green light from his government which doesn's seem to be coming. The offence will not be wiped from the books, which it should be, since it makes no sense in European comparative law, and the situation is "interim". As has also happened with the budget, in which Sánchez had to choose allies between ERC and Bildu or Ciudadanos, he must also now choose between the reform of the Penal Code or that of the General Council of the Judiciary. For the second the PP is necessary and for the first, not. Although one may well affect the other.
And, in the middle of all this, are the political prisoners and Catalan politics which has en enormous need for an impossible amnesty. Everything that would result from an amnesty would end up as a quick fix to try to turn the page in vain and would have the same wear and tear effect on the Spanish left as a pardon, although the differences between one and the other are huge. Because the only sure truth is that, more than three years after October 2017, Spain has not admitted making any error, has reinforced the identity discourse, has stifled politics and gone to the extreme of disqualifying another active Catalan president from office for hanging out a banner ... and the last straw will be for it to disgustingly exploit the prisoners.
In the Community of Madrid which happily accepts that it is able to speak on equal terms to the government of Pedro Sánchez, which has recoiled from its solitude in the capital to impose Díaz Ayuso in the media war, the fight against the pandemic does seem to be fought by territories. Madrid is a festival of crowded restaurants, which can stay open until 12 midnight, and the streets, at least those in the centre, are strikingly full of both people and vehicles. And in case anyone has forgotten that Madrid is Spain, the special effects for this Christmas consist of endless Spanish flags hundreds of metres long, formed by coloured bulbs that illuminate the city and cover vast expanses of the Paseo de la Castellana, and the streets, squares and emblematic buildings nearby. And while that continues, the spotlight is on Ayuso and Pablo Casado despairs.