There are three points. Firstly, the way in which the Spanish government has taken off the table the 1.7 billion euros for the expansion of the Barcelona El Prat airport; secondly, the blackmailing of the Catalan government, demanding that it "either put up or shut up, but I'm the one in charge"; and finally, the permanent desire to inflict humiliation which this political chameleon named Pedro Sánchez exhibits, capable of transfiguring himself and abandoning ministers and allies whenever he needs to appear before public opinion as a different character. All of this must be the lesson to be learned from the new chapter of the conflict between Catalonia and Spain.
If we were able, for once, to see the wood and not just the trees, and could escape from the Spanish nationalist media narrative that will present the Catalan rulers as so boorish that they have lost a multi-billion euro investment, we would come to a single, clear conclusion: the Spanish government and the airport operator AENA wanted to plan and decide on a highly debatable expansion for the airport, at a time when the aeronautical sector is facing many unknowns about the future that will also affect planning for runway dimensions, and they conducted it as if the Catalan government were simply their branch office. Madrid decides and Catalonia obeys.
There could no better demonstration of a total lack of respect for the Spain of the autonomous communities than this authoritarian and obscene exercise that Pedro Sánchez has carried out on the Catalan government. Good grief, the president of Catalonia, whom you consider your ally and who leads the parliamentary group that supports you in the Congress of Deputies, found out the news at the same time as the media! A momentous decision for Catalonia dismissed on a whim and due to your inability to sit down and negotiate! How can anyone have confidence in a negotiation on the conflict between Spain and Catalonia with those who have not even been able to reach agreement on an airport?
That said, we can also zoom in closer and look at the anecdotes around different statements made, about the changes in the discourse and strategy. Even about the fear of a demonstration against the Catalan government on the airport issue. But all this, in the end, is looking at the trees, not the forest. In the same way it is irrelevant that the Comuns were against the airport in Catalonia, while their silence on the subject was deafening at the Spanish cabinet in Madrid. They will award themselves some medals today but those who follow this issue closely know that they counted for nothing in the decision made by the Spanish government and the Socialists.
This is a campaign by Pedro Sánchez to force the pro-independence forces into a corner and present them - as Salvador Illa said after Wednesday's announcement in Barcelona by the Spanish transport minister, Raquel Sánchez - as a political bloc that, from within the government, serves to get Catalonia to miss all its opportunities. By the way, for at least a few days, no one near the independence movement is going to talk about the dialogue table because it will sound like a joke. Or something much worse.