The man with the clip

Salvador Illa carries a couple of clips in his jacket pockets, which he plays with in moments of tension to relax.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 04:29
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The man with the clip

Salvador Illa carries a couple of clips in his jacket pockets, which he plays with in moments of tension to relax. Catalan politics has recently been subjected to so much stress that it is possible that it has needed an entire additional budget in clips to reach the end of the days without being upset. But the clips are also a metaphor for how he understands politics, and ultimately, life, the socialist candidate who won Sunday's regional elections. His campaign motto was not patriotic but pragmatic: unite and serve. More or less what we use clips for.

Illa has repeated ad nauseam that we must put the emphasis on what unites us to close scars from the past and take a step forward so that Catalonia can once again be the locomotive it was. The country has to be more rational than ever, more emotional than ever.

Between the discreet, dignified and respectful departure from Catalan politics of Pere Aragonès, recognizing responsibility for the defeat of ERC, and the uncritical, daring and arrogant speech of Carles Puigdemont, there are two ways to assume failure. The defeat has been personal, but also collective for the independence movement, the result of a story and an action that led nowhere other than to irrelevance and that has caused fatigue and disillusionment in the sovereigntist ranks.

Between these two political poles, the election winner's speech has been inclusive, moderate and hopeful. A speech that takes us back to the most transversal Catalanism of the best years. The photograph of Salvador Illa and Miquel Roca walking together has been one of the most successful claims of the campaign.

It will not be easy for him to gain support to be president, but he already demonstrated his left hand after October 2017, when he achieved an agreement between socialists and convergents to govern the Barcelona Provincial Council. The PSC occupies the Catalan centrality and the best news would be if all of Catalonia were located in this wise cardinal point of the political compass. Although Illa will need the six-meter clip that appears in the Guinness, and is on display in Florida, to unite so many disenchanted people.