Read in Catalan

Unbearable: that which cannot be endured or withstood. After the second block of the candidates' debate broadcast by TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio1, I'm not able to find an description which, in a single word, more precisely describes the feeling of shame I've had as a viewer. An eight-way debate of meagre content in which insults took precedence, basically between a clueless right which is fighting over, according to the polls, the last three places in the ranking on Sunday in Catalonia. The televised spectacle of Inés Arrimadas (Ciudadanos) and Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo (Partido Popular), at many points almost turned Vox's candidate, Ignacio Garriga, into a politician no different to the other two right-wing parties.

Three comments and an individual evaluation of each of them. An eight-way debate is useful for nothing positive, since the tussles gets lost in the tedious expanse of minute after minute of boredom. So much time is spent on responses that the only things left by the end are their gestures and attitudes, not their words. If the Spanish five-way debate is already complicated, the Catalan one is far worse. Second, there won't be an opportunity like Sunday for the independence movement to achieve 50% of more of the seats in Catalonia. Beyond the repression and the demand the independence movement take a step back from all its political initiatives there's no strategy whatsoever from the pro-union side. Let's say it clearly: on Sunday, voters are also saying whether they support or not the disproportionate and unjust verdict from the Supreme Court sentencing the Catalan political prisoners to a hundred years in prison.

A final note in the form of an appeal to the pro-independence parties. Don't throw overboard the enormous popular momentum from repeated victories at the ballot boxes and the excitement and hopes of millions of Catalans. Negotiate and agree on red lines which can't be crossed in the Parliament. This Sunday's result will leave, most likely, an key role in Spanish politics in the hands of the independence movement. If so, it must be made clear that there's no solution in Spain without a solution in Catalonia. This must be the maxim under which they get to work from Monday.

A personal and, obviously, subjective note on each of the eight candidates: Gabriel Rufián (ERC), aggressive; José Zaragoza (PSC), orthodox; Jaume Asens (EC-P), naive; Laura Borràs (JxCat), distant; Inés Arrimadas, rude, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, impertinent; Ignacio Garriga, self-important, Mireia Vehí (CUP), lost. And Vicent Sanchis2? In his place.


Translator's note:

1. This Tuesday, Catalan public broadcasters TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio held a debate between candidates representing the main parties in Catalonia who are standing in this Sunday's Spanish general election.

2. Sanchis is head of TV3 and moderated the debate.