Two months after president Quim Torra called the Moncloa palace for the first time in the last few weeks, as he would continue doing persistently during the following days, Pedro Sánchez has returned his call and both sides gave monologues during fifteen minutes. The Catalan actor and stand-up Joan Capri would be satisfied since Sánchez is a worthy successor: he talks and pays no attention to anything said to him. Paraphrasing Capri, he could easily take on as his own one of the phrases the comedian used to say: "If I dedicated myself to the theatre it's because I wasn't good for anything else".
The acting prime minister has let his arm be twisted to try to eliminate one of the hurdles on the path of his negotiations with ERC and to so get the necessary votes for his investiture in the Congress. Torra was boxed in between calls to lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, the first, and the president of Galicia, Alberto Nuñez Feijóo. Then came the turn of the president of Andalusia, Juanma Moreno. Between the four, less than an hour, all dealt with between nine and ten in the morning. Obviously, nobody in Madrid will place any importance on the lack of institutional respect implied by holding conversations with 16 presidents of autonomous communities with the sole objective of the talk with Torra being diluted in the give and take for control of the narrative. In the middle, and without it being the subject of the conversation, which demonstrates its superficiality, the imminent sentence from the High Court of Justice of Catalonia on the inhabilitation of the Catalan president over the banner about the political prisoners hung from the Catalan government palace.
Sánchez took the opportunity of his conversations with the presidents to rescue from the drawer of things which appear to never go out of fashion the idea of holding an annual meeting between the Spanish head of government and all of them. As an idea it's neither original nor new. It is above all a useless idea. Perhaps we're within a whisker of them dusting off another two ideas which also often float up in PSOE circles when it's a matter of beating around the bush: moving the Senate to Barcelona and decentralising state bodies, sending them from Madrid to the Catalan capital. PSOE's leader doesn't appear to understand that these carrots would give very little progress and that such smokescreens are a part of the past.
There's no alternative to a frank dialogue between governments which sets aside the red lines which are preventing agreements which would allow for finding a solution to the conflict and putting everything in writing. A dialogue without a referendum, self-determination and an amnesty would end up being an enormous waste of time.