With the arrival of the governments of the People’s Party (PP) and Vox in the Valencian Country and the Balearic Islands, the first signs are being seen of which portfolios will be emphasised through radical policy changes, thus leading to major reversals for the progress that had occurred in them. We are seeing it at present through appointments that are not just ridiculous but in many ways embarrassing. The announcement that the new minister of culture in the Valencian Country would be a bullfighter, retired and obviously representing the ultra-right has this grotesque and retrograde aspect that makes the Botanical Pact of the last two Valencian legislatures seem to be several decades more modern. The PP-Vox executive feels nearer the 1950s and 60s, the age of black and white TV, while the left-wing government is more like the latest OLED technology.
In the Balearic Islands, the autonomous Parliament has chosen Vox deputy Gabriel Le Senne, a sexist and homophobe, as its speaker, also with the support of the PP, Vox and s’Unió. His letter of presentation is certainly worrying, but votes from these three parties were enough for him to be elected in the first ballot. Between June 27th and 30th, the new government will be formed, and we will see what new surprises it offers us. As it was predicted, another area where a significant backward move will be noticed in the two communities is in the Catalan language, the real spinal column of the dismantling that the Spanish right is willing to carry out in order to make Spanish the only language in both territories, and leave Catalan as something as marginal and folkloric as possible.
Thus, the name changes, starting with the capital cities where València (with Catalan obert accent) can now also be called Valencia, and Castelló de la Plana for which the Spanish version, Castellón de la Plana, is now interchangeably correct. The new mayor of València, María José Catalá, already announced certain Catalanophobic plans for the city after taking office and spoke out categorically emphasizing that the official languages are both Valencian and Spanish.
‘’For me, it was important to be here today, in the Royal Basilica, next to the Virgen de los Desamparados [Our Lady of the Forsaken] and to thank her for the privilege that life has given me,” said Catalá in a post shared on her official Twitter account.⁣
“I ask our Patroness to guide this Government in making decisions in favor of Valencians and always protect the city of Valencia.”⁣
⁣Her land is the Valencian Community (instead of talking about the Valencian Country, as until now), and its flag is the senyera. In both communities this backward movement will become more than evident and the primacy of Spanish will end up completely marginalizing Catalan. “We’ll begin to see it at official events, on autonomous television channels, in school, medical centres and other public services,” said Catalá.
All this amidst enthusiast clapping from Madrid – political applause, but also economic and above all from the media – which has never believed that Catalan is a linguistic asset, but quite the opposite, a disturbance to the absolute dominance of Castilian. There is a lot of work to be done in this matter, even if it is resistance, but it will have to proceed more through cultural bodies like Òmnium than through the weight of politics, because the municipal elections of May 28th have left a territory that is devastated and bleak. You might respond that the PP has already governed on other occasions in the two communities, but it has never needed the far right as on this occasion. A party, Vox, which is showing that it will not waste the opportunity to push back on political, social and linguistic progress.
Produced in association with El Nacional En
Edited by Eunice Anyango Oyule and Judy J. Rotich