On being legal


Last week I met councillor Xavier Trias (Convergència i Unió's candidate for Mayor of Barcelona) on Xavier Graset's political chat show, L'Oracle, on Catalunya Ràdio, and please forgive all this wanton name dropping.
We kicked off with a discussion about Barcelona's squatters. Trias revealed himself to be that most predictable of opinionators: a died-in-the-wool legalist. Squatting contravened the law, he said, and so should be dealt with immediately by the police. Not to respect the letter of the law, he added, would be tantamount to 'living in the jungle'. He remained unmoved by factors such as the current desperate housing shortage, or the extremely positive achievements of some squatting collectives: if they were illegal, out they would go (just, indeed, as they have always had to go, ever since squatting started in Barcelona).
That same day, another convinced legalist, Catalonia's socialist president José Montilla, ordered his ministers to respect the small print of the Constitution by flying both the Spanish and Catalan flags from public buildings (and not, for example, the Catalan flag alone). Interestingly, he omitted to impose this same two-flags law on any of the public buildings controlled by the Policia Nacional and the Spanish military, which have forever only flown the flag of the Spanish state. Highly illicit. What is more, Mr Trias, his apparent terror of jungle life notwithstanding, hasn't so much as whispered one word of complaint about this flagrant flouting of the legal code. Perhaps because he knows in his heart of hearts that an unacknowledged but important aspect of the law is that those who break it with impunity, do so in order to make it clear who's really boss.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -