Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Catalan Thing

Well, it wasn't in truth the best of weeks for the Catalan thing. Francina and the Earth Mother Patricia, who is apparently still the health minister, decided that all this business with insisting on nurses imported from Andalusia being word perfect in Catalan might not just be wholly sensible. It wasn't good for Catalan, and it also wasn't good for Francina and the deconstructing pact. Més, as might have been expected, were hopping mad, though for appearance's sakes they weren't mounting the press conferences and firing off volleys of rebuke.

Francina, doubtless not wishing to appear to have taken over the education ministry despite having done so, despatched Pilar, the minister in charge of Francina's ministry, i.e. the presidency, to have a word with the press. We are working on getting the broadest social and political consensus, she waffled, noting that there wasn't enough of the C-word. The unions were not for consenting.

Not reticent like Més were the Obra Cultural Balear. Unaware that there was not consensus within society, as Pilar had attempted to explain, the OCB announced that "any measure" will be taken to ensure that the bedside manner is pursued with nary a syllable of Castellano being uttered. Any measure, they suggested, will include the mobilisation of civil society, that part of it which presumably does consent.

Meanwhile, Biel Company, the nominal leader of the PP, opined that Francina was more Catalanist than the Catalans because of her health service Catalan imposition. Which was rather odd, given that Francina had just withdrawn the imposition. Still, Biel observed that Francina had taken fright in having done so, as there would otherwise be demonstrations she couldn't afford, and he wasn't referring to the OCB.

Attempting to keep the Catalan thing afloat was the education minister. Marti March, for whom one newspaper headline suggested that education policy was being designed for his own personal glory, had come up with yet another new plan for education (these new plans surface every three to four years). Marti's plan, it would appear, will relegate English and foreign language teaching into virtual non-existence if schools choose to do so. Meanwhile, Catalan will be given pre-eminence. So basically, Marti was going back to the future circa 2008, and was thus paving the way for a new government to reverse his plan.

Educationalists, some of them, were as outraged about this as the OCB were with Catalan being given the health heave-ho. One teachers association, PLIS, which has the motto "educación, por favor", demanded that the government stops plissing all over education and does something sensible for once. Which of course it won't.

Striding confidently into all this Catalan carry-on came the leader of Ciudadanos, Xavier Pericay. Buoyed by the fact that his party could see its parliamentary representation leap to the princely sum of seven seats as opposed to the currently modest two, Xavier has been carrying a torch for what his political critics (i.e. Més) refer to as the "new Bauzaism". In other words, if Xavier and the C's end up in a coalition with the PP, there will be a revival of J.R.'s anti-Catalanism in schools. Therefore, there will be a new educational plan. And so it will go on and on and on.

Marti, meanwhile, had disappeared so far up a tortuous explanation littered with levels of language ability and pedagogical whatever, that he totally failed to remember to mention the C-word. Will there be the broadest social and political consensus for what may end up being almost exclusively Catalan teaching? He didn't let on. This despite the fact that he had been hauled up in front of the press alongside Pilar. Broadest consensus (or something of a charade to demonstrate it) for one thing, but not for another: it all rather depends on what the government is seeking consensus for.

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