The announcement presented this Thursday by the PSC, ERC, Junts and the Comuns at Parliament ―with photo opportunity for the promoters included― to amend Catalonia's language policy law and which, as they themselves put it, is intended to avoid the High Court (TSJC) imposition of a 25% Spanish quota in Catalonia's classrooms is unsettling and worrying. It certainly has a broad parliamentary consensus, which ensures it is very transversal, but the agreement has been reached at a political bar that is so low in terms of defending Catalan as the language of the education system that not only does it immediately set off alarms over the Catalan school model and the future of the language immersion policy, but they even ring out as shrilly as over the original court ruling. What's more, far from avoiding the mandatory 25% of classes conducted in Spanish, the amendment ends up opening a door to a percentage that may well end up being much, much higher.
Since we have to assume —because the opposite would be enormously grave and it is better not to even consider it— that such an outcome is not the goal of at least two of the four signatory parties and that, as has been declared in no uncertain terms, the purpose is to protect, it will be necessary to amend what has been presented to Parliament and leave to one side the opacity with which it has been drawn up. Also, to forget about taking shortcuts to save having to reach agreement with organizations that must have their say, such as the Plataforma per la Llengua, the ANC and Òmnium Cultural, to name but three. And, above all, not to swindle those who continue to defend that Catalan is the nerve of the nation and cannot be the object of a political transaction as if it were just one more area of government power. Parliamentary filibusterism must not be used to pull a fast one and it is clearly not the same for Catalan to be, under the current definition, the vehicular language in education, as it would be under the new wording which plans to "guarantee the mastery of the official languages with Catalan as the centre of gravity".
To make such a far-reaching amendment to a statute like Catalonia's Language Policy Law 1/1998 ―in force, then, for 24 years― because it was forced by the aberrant ruling of the TSJC ―since when have educational percentages been decided by the courts in a democratic state?― which has caused so much commotion in the educational community and has aroused so much concern among the Catalan public, should not have been tackled in this way. It was stepping in to the lion's den without any need to. In addition, when the moment used was the day after the demonstrations in defence of the Catalan school model, which the two pro-independence parties in the government endorsed, it is massively contradictory to what they did this Thursday in Parliament.
The way in which, at the end of Thursday evening, Junts corrected its position with respect to the satisfaction of the morning —with ERC not having said anything, at time of writing— reflects that the mistake made hours before was by no means a minor one. And that the wrath of Waterloo had clearly hit its mark. The parties involved neither read the opposition of many, announced in advance, nor saw the dimension of the dark tunnel they were about to enter. And that, in politics, always ends up causing problems. We will see what happens now to this initiative after a disappointing and, above all, extremely risky parliamentary start, when there is a Spanish state sitting opposite for whom the law of the Catalan Parliament may end up leaving, even if this is not its intention, too much wiggle room. And if there's one thing we've learned, it's that when it comes to Catalan, they're very keen to wiggle.