Salvador Illa i Roca (la Roca del Vallès, 5/5/1966) is the second Article 155 with which the PSOE has castrated the autonomy of the PSC with the intention of turning Barcelona's Generalitat palace into a branch of Madrid's Moncloa. It was José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero who wanted this first, and after politically bleeding Pasqual Maragall, passing a Statute with the seal and ribbon of Alfonso Guerra, he sent José Montilla to Plaça Sant Jaume to see if the Catalans would like to be ruled by a postal official. Illa comes from the same factory of suburban Socialist municipalism; he was mayor of La Roca del Vallès (1999-2005), a place that must be home to some beautiful people, but is only known for the Quatre Camins clink and La Roca Village shopping outlet, where clothing brands sell flawed items and production overruns at cheaper prices for Russians to buy.
Unlike president Montilla, who despite possessing the political charisma of a mollusc was able to demonstrate an enviable dexterity in commanding the institutions and a streetwise ability to get his own way in a negotiation, Illa is like one of those garments with a name brand on it but with the greyness of the passage of time, a character who surprises through a mediocrity that seems unrufflable, an ability to say “I love you”, "By June we will have 70% of the population vaccinated” and “Espanyol has finally won its first Champions League” all with the same funeral face as a death mask. If the PSOE was able to sneak Montilla into the Generalitat by taking advantage of the stupidity of the left, which only fell into the trap of investing him as president so that Catalans would not be accused of being racist with the xarnegos, now Sánchez is trying to put political life to sleep with a candidate the PSC had as their consul in Madrit, installed in a ministry that was only in charge of the maintenance staff.
For Illa to preside over the Generalitat would be the best news for the independence movement, because only in this way, having Catalonia again commanded by a functionary without any kind of spirit could the Convergent and Republican bases renew the sclerosis of their parties and recover the illusion that the electorate had before the 1st October referendum
Pro-independence politicians never miss the opportunity to recall that Illa has been one of the worst health ministers in all of Europe, and they are absolutely right. Sánchez wants him to preside over the Catalan government because ours is a very flimsy administration and it does not take a genius to tamper with it (Pujol knew this, and that is why he dominated the Generalitat government, the Catalan Parliament and the Statute of Autonomy and understood that to govern Catalonia it was necessary to create a counter-power in the administration that would go beyond the Spanish control, focused on the media and education). Illa may achieve some glamour in managing Sánchez’s 155 because the autonomous communities system is absolutely dead, no matter how much the failures to comply by Puigdemont and Junqueras seem to have given it yet another life. That Sánchez sends us Illa is not bad news: it shows that even the PSOE sees that Generalitat is just nothing.
In a half-witted campaign in which almost all of the candidates are playing for a draw, with a frightening lack of ambition, it could be surprising that Illa has maintained such a low profile, a continuous "what you see is what you get", as if his mere presence was a reminder of how Catalan politics has degenerated when the process-ism of independence has exhausted all its creative zeal for incomplete roadmaps and structures of state that were only aimed at feeding Convergents and Republicans. In fact, for Illa to preside over the Generalitat would be the best news for the independence movement, because only in this way, with Catalonia again commanded by a functionary without any kind of spirit could the Convergent and Republican party bases renew the sclerosis of their organizations and recover the illusion that the electorate had before the 1st October referendum and that Artur Mas and Carles Puigdemont prostituted, purely to save their own condition as martyrs.
The logical end of the independence process and its political degeneration would be to see Illa storming into the Palau de la Generalitat stuffed into one of his insufferable suit jackets, accompanied by ministers bearing the imprint of Societat Civil Catalana while Miquel Iceta dances to Queen's Don't Stop Me Now
The logical end of the independence process and its political degeneration would be to see Illa storming into the Palau de la Generalitat stuffed into one of his insufferable suit jackets, accompanied by ministers bearing the anti-independence imprint of Societat Civil Catalana while Miquel Iceta dances to Queen's Don't Stop Me Now. If Illa was one of the backroom figures in the PSC's negotiation with Convergència to retain control of the Diputació de Barcelona, in Colau's acceptance of a pact with Collboni for the Barcelona city council, and also a key piece in the negotiation with ERC for Pedro Sánchez's investiture, then all of our ballyhoo that he might take the Generalitat with whatever votes he needs will be just a waste of time. If he lacked charisma, the pro-independence politicians have given him some magnificent publicity by making him the centre of the election campaign, thus certifying that our indepe colleagues have the vision of a mole.
The pro-independence politicians of 14th February accepted the imposition of Article 155 without putting up any resistance, in breach not only of the mandate of the 1st October referendum but of all subsequent elections. If a 155 is to be imposed on the Generalitat, it is better that it comes directly from Madrit under the seal of the PSOE. For Catalonia to end up being ruled by this philosopher fellow who has learned little from the discipline (and that is why he ended up as a civil servant) is so poetic that it is the best image of the agonizing end of the process. We deserve to be governed by a clothing brand that's gone broke, a stock overrun, a pack of underpants that was once the latest thing and is now sold at a bargain price not far from the AP-7 motorway.