The Catalan minister for foreign affairs, institutional relations and transparency, Alfred Bosch, had to step down suddenly on Monday night, just hours after it became known that, at the very least, there had been concealment and malpractice by his ministry in a sexual harassment case that directly affects his chief of staff, who was sacked in January. The snowballing story that followed the original revelation published in the newspaper Ara, has amputated the political career which Bosch started in 2011 at the Barcelona city council, and placed him on a path of difficulties, which may be just beginning. The former minister faced a complete stone wall among members of the Catalan government, beginning with president Quim Torra, who asked for explanations and pointed him to the exit door, as did his fellow ERC party members, many of whom were unaware of the seriousness of the situation, from the very moment when the news broke and went down like a lead balloon in the ranks of the pro-independence executive and the two political parties that comprise it.
There are some types of news which are impossible to put a media spin on, and luckily for the community, which is becoming more aware of these issues, this is one of them. Resignation cannot be called honourable and nor can stepping aside; in cases as unacceptable as this, it is simply resignation, to use a mild word, since, in fact, we are talking about a covert dismissal, as Bosch had no margin to choose anything else. Among other aspects, it was politically unacceptable to have protested the day before on the streets of Barcelona in defence of women's rights while looking the other way in a case like this which directly affected a member of the Catalan government. The public administrations must take the initiative and be inflexible in the face of the social alarm generated by sexual harassment cases, which have become a real social scourge of our time, and they have to be consistently rigorous without ever dropping their guard.
The government responded quickly, though it did not do so until the news was in the public eye. Allegations like this are so unacceptable for any political party that there was no escape route. We saw it a few days ago in a case at the Argentona town council and we see it again today: there is no longer room for impunity in these situations. This is the only good news about these absolutely unacceptable episodes.
Women who suffer these situations need to be assured that the public administrations' protocols which are so proudly presented before public opinion are not just meaningless words. That these protocols are created to protect them in any circumstances, especially if there are people of great public importance who are able to cover up the problem, and that they will be activated immediately. That no shortcuts will be taken, no tricks will be played to avoid their application right through to the ultimate consequences. It is the only guarantee that going from theory to action is not a mirage, and that the public administrations are fully exemplary in their efforts to avoid this from happening again.