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A joke's a joke, but now the joke's over, for some at least. Conservative Spanish daily ABC has published a strong-worded criticism of the Tabarnia charade, the map-making exercise promoted by Citizens supporters to depict a supposed geographically-unionist Catalonia. Writer Juan Manuel de Prada says that this sort of idea should be "avoided like the plague" because he believes it is counter-productive for the unity of Spain.

"The instigators of this imaginary land of Tabarnia should not forget that, taking advantage of the noise produced by their initiative, many of those who like to fish in murky waters are presenting a hypothetical secession of this affluent Catalonia as a legitimate concept, alleging that Catalonia (or Spain) are contingent institutional frameworks, which could be dismembered if any given generation, in a given situation, decided to do so", he asserts.

De Prada warns "well-intentioned" unionists that sometimes such hypothetical concepts can carry devilish implications and can end up being used to argue in favour of "the most amoral, arrogant and hateful theses".

The writer also considers it counter-productive to attempt to draw a contrast between coastal Catalonia and the Catalan hinterland, believing that this may contribute to helping the independence movement to take root in some regions due to the perception "of abandonment or absence of the state".

According to De Prada, those who stir up  "reactive hatred against Catalonia" are taking advantage of the Tabarnia farce, and this is not a good option, he says.