Of all the reactions to king Felipe VI's Christmas speech, without a doubt the most surprising is that of Podemos. Spain's upstart left-wing party, born in the wake of the 15-M anti-austerity movement and, since the November 10th election, waiting in the wings to take up its assigned ministries once the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) reaches agreement on the investiture of Pedro Sánchez, seems to have quickly understood what is expected of it. For Pablo Echenique, the Podemos figure who had the job of appraising the king's speech, Felipe VI partially atoned for his highly controversial address of October 3rd, 2017, he showed better political instinct than he did two years ago, and he expressed views shared by most Spaniards.
I will leave out the third of these evaluations, since it's likely to be right, given that if every political party from Vox to Podemos gave the speech the thumbs up, it must be correct that it is the majority position of Spaniards. Obviously, it's not the opinion of Catalans and Basques, as shown very clearly on Wednesday by spokespeople for the pro-independence and nationalist parties that have majorities in the two territories' respective parliaments.
But let's focus on atoning for 2017 and the sharpening of his political instinct. Although I've read the speech several times to see if I'd missed anything, there is no reparation offered, even with the situation now being much more serious than it was then, since the repression in Catalonia has continued and the pro-independence political leaders remain in prison or in exile two years later. The attitude of indifference now even extends to the European Court of Justice, which has been incontestably clear on the immunity of Puigdemont, Junqueras and Comín.
In fact, Junqueras is still in prison and constitutional law professor Javier Pérez Royo has had no hesitation in describing this situation as "unlawful detention". I simply don't know which paragraph of the king's speech shows an improvement in his political instinct because, beyond explaining that Spain is not isolated, all he really does is turn the spotlight onto the isolation of Spain and the need to correct the discredit of its institutions.
Quite another thing is that in this race to sew up the formation of Sánchez's new government as quickly as possible, people are trying to bamboozle and hoodwink.