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Since Saturday, the president of Catalonia, Quim Torra, has - from what we know, since he himself is the source - been trying to telephone the acting Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and the latter has decided not to take the call. While, moreover, taking pride in his rudeness. I don't know which political school Sánchez attended, but it can't have been a very good one, since he presides over a government that has made institutional confrontation with Catalonia its only tactic for the 10th November general election, and disdain and contempt for president Torra its only device to convince the Spanish right that it can be just as effective at neutralizing the Catalan independence movement as the PP and Ciudadanos. Because this is what the battle is about, and it has now become cutthroat: Torra is to be given no quarter. And not given a phone conversation either. 

In a recent article in this same section, I made it clear that the loss of political power in the Catalan presidency was obvious and worrying. This type of situation always ends up having consequences and, beyond good intentions, it is sometimes difficult to find a strategy that makes any sense politically, or that has been evaluated before it is put into action. As I have also reiterated, we are at this point in the conflict between Catalonia and Spain due to the inability of the Spanish political parties PP and PSOE (as well as Ciudadanos, even if they are increasingly playing a minor role) to engage in real politics and deal with conflicts in the political sphere and not in the courts. They made an error, in 2010, with a Constitutional Court ruling on Catalonia's Statute of Autonomy that inflamed Catalan nationalism, which then very largely crossed over into the independence movement, and they have made another mistake with the Supreme Court's sentences of the nine political prisoners, with very serious charges and convictions that have no juridical basis.

But Pedro Sánchez, with his attitude of not picking up the phone when the Catalan president is on the other end, is neglecting his duties and leaving the very things he preaches, top-level institutional communication and dialogue, out of bounds democratically. You can't go round boasting of doing what you're not, just to win a handful of votes. Even for former Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, correct decorum was the one thing he did not lose and, at a much more difficult time, he took the call made by president Carles Puigdemont. What he didn't do was respond to such an important institutional call via a journalists' WhatsApp group. That is not 21st century communication. It is simply institutional baseness.