A worrying civil war-like sensation has settled on the capital of Spain, which is experiencing an unusual face-off between, on the one hand, the Sánchez government and the left in general and, on the other, the judiciary, in such a broad and imprecise sense that it also includes the Constitutional Court. And this last-named sphere is one that goes into battle with its back very well covered by the political right and extreme-right, a very significant part of which we could consider the economic establishment and the usual agitators in the media world that form a choir of print, radio and television voices ready to put an end to Sánchez at any price.
It would be hard to find a recent era comparable to the present, not so much in the energy being put into bringing down the established power - it is very reminiscent of the "Váyase, señor González" with which José María Aznar exhorted his predecessor to depart - but unlike the 1990s, when it was a war between parties, this is a battle between institutions. The judiciary against the executive and legislative powers. It is they, the ones wearing the lace trim, who are waging this battle, and the People's Party (PP) who is accompanying them and taking advantage of it. This Thursday, Congress passed the Penal Code reform bill in the midst of the offensive from the Constitutional Court, which considered suspending the parliamentary debate.
The court backed down and will decide what to do on Monday, between the debate in Congress and the next one, in the Senate. The climate in Madrid is prepared for might happen and it would almost be a surprise if it did not. The support for the conservative members - that is how they define themselves, as if the others, those proposed by the Socialists (PSOE) were not - is staunch, and I would almost dare to say that they will have problems if they do not consummate what they have started and fail to put a gag on Pedro Sánchez. We Catalans, who lived through the outrages of a Constitutional Court which was unwaveringly united at the service of Spain, are less surprised, or not at all. We have been inoculated since 2017 with king Felipe VI's speech on October 3rd which moved into the realms of political power, and we know perfectly well what the law says and what those who interpret the law end up doing.
The difference is that back then all of them joined together to cheer on the same side, behind the soloist who sang the A por ellos ("Let's go get 'em"), whereas now those of the Spanish left hear how how these same chants are directed against them. There's not much more to it, that's how it is. It only needed Inés Arrimadas, in a cocky tone, today in the centre of Madrid and in 2017 in the Catalan Parliament, reminding the speaker of Congress of that situation. "Just as I told Mrs Forcadell in 2017: Mrs Batet, do not allow this." Forcadell ended up, as everyone knows, in prison, something that will not happen now, but Arrimadas knows what she is talking about and her extravagances then in Catalonia make an impact in Congress now.
It was written that this was going to happen sooner or later. They were warned, those of the left who today are complaining and before irresponsibly cheered on the irregularities just because they were doing well. There is nervousness in the Spanish government and also in the PSOE. In the executive, it is because they are not in control at all. And among the Socialists, because their electoral base is in turmoil, there are barons on the warpath and former PM Felipe González, who does not miss the opportunity, sets up conspiratorial dinners with some of his former ministers to whom he speaks about the dangers the party is running.