Catalan politics as a microwave

Everyone has an appliance that only the people in the house understand, a door that needs to be closed in a certain way – no, not like that, see? – or a microwave with a slightly broken wheel that only works with a turn of particular wrist If someone new comes along, they simply don't get it.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
13 May 2024 Monday 05:22
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Catalan politics as a microwave

Everyone has an appliance that only the people in the house understand, a door that needs to be closed in a certain way – no, not like that, see? – or a microwave with a slightly broken wheel that only works with a turn of particular wrist If someone new comes along, they simply don't get it. The door gets stuck, the milk in the coffee is cold.

The same thing happens with the Catalan electoral map. That's why a very exasperating exercise on election nights and vote-hungover mornings is to listen to what talk shows are held from Madrid and check that no one understands anything. On Sunday night, a screenshot of Telemadrid circulated showing the favorite result of its pactometer: one in which PSC, PP and Vox would govern together in the Generalitat. They saw it very clearly. At the Ferreras table in La Sexta, there was constant talk of the "left-wing tripartite" and, from time to time, someone took it upon themselves to remind the spectators that this alliance of nature has very little and would be very difficult to explain to the ERC voters.

Territories with complex electoral maps not only generate surprising phenomena – here, in the absence of a xenophobic party in Parliament, we now have two!– but they mutate more quickly and with surprising effect. In Northern Ireland there are now a significant number of Protestants voting for Sinn Féin, something that seemed unthinkable a decade ago, and in Ripollès and la Garrotxa someone who voted for the CUP in the past must have switched to Aliança Catalana unblinking, although surely not as many as some interested readings pretend.

It's normal that outsiders don't know how to use this peculiar coffee machine, understand this map that has hyperlocal parties - not only Aliança, maybe not also the common ones, with a message that is difficult to fit outside the center of Barcelona? - and a lexicon that changes in each electoral cycle. Now Junts no longer speaks of "independenceists", but of "Catalan obedience" parties. It's normal for people, including those around here, to get lost and end up stamping on the microwave door.