Trias blows up (almost) everything

Xavier Trias spends the last few days as a prominent figure in Catalan politics of the last four decades.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
31 March 2024 Sunday 11:19
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Trias blows up (almost) everything

Xavier Trias spends the last few days as a prominent figure in Catalan politics of the last four decades. Despite the fact that there are still some who don't believe it, he assures that the time has come to say goodbye, very close but still without a fixed date. Before this often-postponed farewell, he agreed to review his long career. On April 2, it will be in Xavier Trias bookstores, in conclusion (edited by Ara Llibres), the book in which the writer and lawyer Jordi Cabré i Trias puts in black and white the fortnight of conversations that the uncle and the nephew, from October of last year until mid-January of this year, at a table in the Farga cafe on Carrer Beethoven, which has been converted for many years into the unofficial office of the former mayor of Barcelona.

The author and his character set out to do "something different", so to speak, using the way of speaking so peculiar and so often imitated by a Xavier Trias of whom it is discovered that imitations are his forte (especially that of the former Minister of Finance Cristóbal Montoro). An uncompromising dialectical tug-of-war between two sovereignists of different generations who agree on many things, but who disagree on others, such as the way to move towards independence, an undisguised tension between the confrontation, on the one hand, and the dialogue and the pact, on the other.

La Vanguardia shares one more of these conversations before the book goes on sale. The first copies, just off the press, arrive in the hands of the writer and the politician when this meeting takes place. It's not a memoir. Throughout the 163 pages, Jordi Cabré and Xavier Trias project their vision of a long period in the history of Catalonia and Spain, with special emphasis on the stages marked by the arrival of Trias as mayor, the replacement by Ada Colau, the process, the return of the ex-mayor to win last year's municipal elections and "the game" starring Jaume Collboni with the support of Ada Colau and the popular Daniel Sirera and, finally, the complicated ( and not yet closed) negotiation to expand the government of the city of Barcelona.

"We underestimated the power of the State, its ability to punish us", says Trias. "We underestimated our power", answers Cabré. The politician insists that the rearmament of independence requires the ability to "be influential" in a State which, on the other hand, the author of the book does not believe can be reformed. "Time will prove us right and the Spanish State will see that the relationship with Catalonia cannot continue like this, it will fall under its own weight", insists Trias, convinced that in the confrontation "you have to be intelligent" and that, ultimately , "agreeing is not giving up".

The writer attributes to one of his many uncles – Xavier Trias is part of one of those extended families of the past, with 12 brothers – a clinical eye that may have something to do with his training as a pediatrician. Despite this, the politician resorts to irony and assures: "I've been wrong with almost everyone". And he gives an example: "Rajoy. All my life I have told my party that he was a good man." It was the opinion of the ex-leader of the PP of someone well-regarded by many of his opponents... "Until I tell them that I'm pro-independence, then they get nervous".

The last 22 years of Xavier Trias's political career, since autumn 2002 when he accepted the challenge of running for mayor for the first time in the PSC, have been spent in the Barcelona City Council (with the parenthesis of the period from the municipal from 2019 to the reappearance in the elections of 2023). The book dedicates many of the pages to the victory without a prize for Trias at the polls and to that "a por ellos", which, according to the author, perpetrated on the figure of the winner of those elections the PSC, BComú and the PP . Jordi Cabré reveals to readers a confession from Trias himself: "The invested mayor [Collboni] received him in the office and asked for his forgiveness". "You must think that, because I am Catholic, I forgive easily", interpreted the politician, who in a certain way is sympathetic to Jaume Collboni's attitude. "At some point he decided that he would be mayor at any cost."

Xavier Trias does not hide that from the very night of those elections he had in mind to govern the four years of the mandate with the PSC (nothing about sharing the mayorship for two years each). In the end it couldn't be - the worst misunderstanding is dedicated to the gesture of the popular Daniel Sirera, who propitiated Collboni's investiture - but it's hard to imagine Trias as a person who holds a grudge, if only perhaps he has it for the that made him a victim of the Catalonia operation. "Even if they don't think like him or are his adversaries, there is an intelligent sense in Xavier Trias' politics: not to divide", says the book's author.