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Sooner or later it had to happen: the Spanish government has shown its cards on the Catalan conflict and has placed itself just where its predecessors were when the repression against the independence movement began. Sánchez is a copy of Rajoy, Carmen Calvo a clone of Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Fernando Grande-Marlaska is the same as Juan Ignacio Zoido and so we could go on. The leader of the left-wing coalition government has done a Rajoy and has washed his hands of the withdrawal of the Catalan political prisoners' prison leave provisions arguing that the government neither imposes nor removes sentences. Of course, since we are not in an election campaign, he professes ignorance of the wink he gave to the independence movement some time ago when he hinted that as the state attorney general is appointed by the government, something could be done.

It was all a trick as many of us had already assumed and the current Spanish executive does not have the stomach to open a new era in political relations with Catalonia, has its hands tied by a judiciary which is clearly leaning to the right and, what is more serious, rules but does not rule, since the deep state looks after matters and has a direct line to the Zarzuela royal palace. The Catalan issue as a lightning conductor for the Spanish monarchy's corruption. The gesture of authority of returning to prison those who questioned the unity of Spain to cover up the royal family's corrupt network and the uncontrolled explosion of the fall from grace of Juan Carlos I who threatens to drag Felipe VI with him. The king's sly presence at the summit of regional presidents with Pedro Sánchez presiding over the official inauguration in La Rioja and evading the explanation that Spanish society expects on the monarchic family's accounts abroad.

That the independence movement is lacking a jointly-agreed roadmap is more than obvious. Not being able to offer a unitary response to repression is something worse than a bad symptom. The dates are not the most favourable and the start of the summer holidays does not help either. In addition there are new outbreaks of coronavirus which prevent large-scale mobilizations.

Although there will be an election in the coming months - between November and February, for sure - it would be expected that, as has occurred in the past, pro-independence parties and civil entities would set the minimum height of the bar: a unitary response. On other occasions, agreements have been reached so that the Catalan voice can reach Madrid and the international community loud and clear. It shouldn't be any different now.

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