Read in Catalan

The Catalan government's CEO polling agency has just published a survey giving public ratings on the different institutions which to a greater or lesser extent have an influence on Catalan society. In total, twenty institutions are included in the poll (link in Catalan), asking respondents to give their views on a wide range of bodies from the universities to the European Union, passing through the Army and the Catholic Church. It turns out that on this very broad list, the Spanish monarchy, with a score of 2.44 out of 10, is the lowest-rated of all the institutions for Catalans.

Also bringing up the rear in this survey, with marginally more popularity than the royal house, are the banks and the Catholic Church. That the Spanish monarchy is failing to improve its popularity is obvious; the question is whether there is any chance to reverse this situation and enjoy the position of other European monarchies. It doesn't seem at all likely that this will occur, since the discord between Catalan society and the royal family runs very deep and king Felipe VI has made himself directly responsible for the repressive escalation against independentism. A clear example of this is the atmosphere which prevailed during the king's latest visits to Catalonia: enveloped in an exceptional police deployment to contain fierce public protests.

How far removed these survey scores are from, for example, the approval rating for the institution of the monarchy in Norway (9.3), the United Kingdom (7.6), or the Netherlands (7.3). In the UK, it is significant that, despite the holding of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, Queen Elizabeth overcame the obstacle, maintaining an apparent separation from the issue so that the pro-independence parties were not upset. The opposite has been the case here and the monarchy has used the conflict with Catalonia to try and consolidate itself, a goal which does not seem to have been achieved in Spain, but rather has left an impression of irreversible disagreement on Catalonia.

The approval rating of 2.44 leaves no doubt that, in this as in so many other things, it is easier to bury one's head in the sand than to face the problem.