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The images of the last few nights in the city of Barcelona, with the annual Festes de la Mercè as a backdrop, are of a city that is depressing, out of control and, quite frequently, unrecognizable for its savage and criminal vandalism. The response of those in charge of the city, evading all responsibility, is a narrative that has been heard often in the Catalan capital since Ada Colau came to power in 2015, and it is even more disturbing because we have got to the point where we feel that what happened is something normal when a city has a party.

There has been looting, destruction of shops, vehicles burned, people arrested, stabbings, sexual assaults and mass booze parties involving tens of thousands of people that the police were unable to control and limited themselves to moving to areas where the damage could be absorbed.

The Colau effect as a synonym for the loss of the city's prestige is alarming. The silence of her Socialist partners on the municipal government is worrying. And the inability to reach agreements with the pro-independence forces throughout the term, simply disturbing. Barcelona needs to know that an alternative to the current disaster is possible after six years - there are still two to run, if there is no political earthquake in the middle - of walking steadily towards the precipice.

From that irresponsible manoeuvre by the Upper Diagonal lobby supporting Ada Colau to prevent a pro-independence mayor come these consequences. As for the imposter Manuel Valls, who was brought from Paris as a king by the Barcelona bourgeoisie, to end up being only a city councillor - today, he is already back in the French capital, a caricature of impotence. And in the support for his re-election from the so-called press of reference - the same dailies that now criticize him - one finds an explanation for his unstoppable decline.

Barcelona residents need to know that their city has a future and that the current situation will change. That the city will once again be that prestigious urban core that existed under Pasqual Maragall - also under Xavier Trias. That the criticisms of Barcelona's squalor will not be dismissed, as if they were jokes or, worse still, contempt, saying that it's due to a heat wave. That the current lack of law and order does not harden into something that lasts for years. That the Guardia Urbana - the city police - will act as the city police should and that their functions will also include the law and order of the city. That entrepreneurs and retailers will find appropriate frameworks to allow them to develop businesses. And this also means not passively accepting acts of authoritarianism such as last week's blocking off of Plaça Sant Jaume in order to keep away the chants of those protesting against the mayoralty, at the beginning of the Festes de la Mercè.

The 2023 municipal elections will surely reverse the current situation. But how the city gets to those elections is the responsibility of all parties across the city's political spectrum. Of those who have the most councillors, first of all. The idea of "The worse it gets, the better for us", is no longer valid, because some of the capital's emergencies cannot wait for some attention. The risk of losing Barcelona for a decade is real and that is the worst thing that could happen.