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The MEPs who came together in Strasbourg to discuss the consequences of the Spanish espionage against Catalan independentism sampled, on Wednesday afternoon, a taste of what the Spanish extreme right really stands for in its three political organizations - PP, Vox and Ciudadanos - and, also, from a much more cryptic position, the PSOE. You have to have very little knowledge of what democracy means in Europe to step up, guns blazing, and declare to the four winds that the Pegasus software is there to spy on the Catalan pro-independence leaders convicted by the Supreme Court for sedition and that the focus can be broadened further to those who have been publicly defending since the 1st October referendum or Parliament's 2017 proclamation of independence that they would do it again.

It is obvious that Spain has a difficult and unsustainable position. Incompatible with any democratic approach that could be taken. There has been mass, illegal and indiscriminate espionage against independentists and we still do not know who is ultimately responsible for an act that was illicit, and who paid for the intrusion into the lives of those spied on. We have a certain idea that, one way or another, the responsibility for the scandal lies with the Spanish state, either an official body or the so-called "sewers": in many cases, when they happen to be needed, they are not far away. Another thing is the spying on Pedro Sánchez and Margarita Robles, where Morocco seems to be among those involved, not a good look for the Spanish prime minister after he abandoned the Sahrawi people to Mohammed VI without any convincing explanation, with Spain giving up its former position of defending their right to self-determination.

But let's return to Strasbourg. Hearing former Spanish interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido drop the clangers he did in a minute was enough to make his European colleagues' hair stand on end. He did a margaritarobles, which will end up being the normal Spanish line for defending illegality. Backing the use of Pegasus against people in the independence movement when the general mood of the chamber was to reject the use of the software is a perfect demonstration of the frontier that exists in the Pyrenees. And that Zoido is himself a judge, and was senior judge in Seville and a member of the chamber of the High Court of Andalusia: perhaps aspects like this explain everything that one often doesn't know how to explain. You need to be very undemocratic, or have a very bizarre conception of what democracy means, to think that, apart from in countries like Poland or Hungary, people are going to understand a staunch defence of espionage against political dissidents.

While this was happening in Strasbourg, in Madrid, the Spanish defence minister, Margarita Robles, was appearing before the Spanish Congress's defence committee, supposedly to give the explanation that the executive promised when the Catalangate affair emerged. One should recall that this was the Sánchez government's first line of defence, together with the official secrets committee, in an attempt, unsuccessful, to calm ERC. For two weeks they played with this possibility but like everything that surrounds Pedro Sánchez, it was a fantasy. From the outset the issue was denied, there would be no revelation, as the committee could not talk about Pegasus. Thus began and ended the transparency exercise promised by the government. What now remains is the official secrets committee of Congress, in which, as its name suggests, the secrets are official and it is forbidden to disclose them. And this is as far as the political explanations go.

This is no obstacle because, depending on how annoying the government's parliamentary partners get, the executive might end up dropping some ballast and delivering the head of the director of the CNI, a minor trophy who they will certainly be willing to sacrifice if necessary. She'll find another placement in the future. The Spanish government has made several mistakes since Catalangate broke around 20 days ago. It initially downplayed the scandal's impact, went through contradictory versions, and justified the unjustifiable from parliament, until now, with ranks closed in political and media circles, it is trying to convince the sympathetic press that this is an attack on the foundations of Spanish democracy and national security. What next?