David Mejía

Venial Sins in the Palace

«Podemos did not want to set fire to the theatre; they wanted seats in the first row. It wouldn´t be surprising if the monarchy ended up with Pablo I (Irene, thereafter) in the Zarzuela Palace»

Venial Sins in the Palace

Kiko Huesca | EFE

My republican convictions have been reinforced by the last season of The Crown: if the United Kingdom were not a monarchy we would have been spared hours of this Hola (Hello) cartoon with 24 frames a second. Oddly enough, the only person who inspired any sympathy in me was Margaret Thatcher, and that was in spite of Gillian Anderson’s performance: so far from Stanislavsky and so close to the old comedians Martes y Trece.

The way Thatcher’s character was conceived, however, does not quite dull her humble origins or the difficulties a woman faces, as ironcast as she may be, in order to reach and maintain a place in no. 10 Downing Street. In the scenes where she is going over affairs with the Queen, I was incapable of paying attention to the details of the Malvinas conflict, privatizations or the economic crisis. Something more fundamental was distracting me: why does a working woman,  holding an elected political office, have to curtsey before Elizabeth II? And to see the luxury in which her Highness and all of her unproductive offspring, forebears, and inner circle live did nothing to dispel my confusión.

I understand the sensation many Spaniards will have had, looking at themselves in the mirror at the end of an exhausting day at work, after reading about how Juan Carlos II’s grandchildren paid for anything they fancied  with credit cards charged to undeclared money. There are those who regret the fact that the fracture in the monarchy’s reputation has coincided with Podemos’s place in Government, but they are mistaken. If the news that is coming out now had found Podemos pounding the pavement and not treading governmental carpet, if they had been in the subway trains and not in official cars, the street would have gone up in flames. Podemos would have turned that tired and indignant citizen’s face into one of anger, a politically powerful emotion that Podemos domesticates like nobody else.

But Podemos’s battle against the rich has ended well for both parties: the latter have not budged and the former have made money. Something similar could be said of  the caste” [political clique]: Podemos did not want to set fire to the theatre; they wanted seats in the first row. It wouldn´t be surprising if the monarchy ended up with Pablo I (Irene, thereafter) in the Zarzuela Palace. After all, and mutatis mutandis, something similar to what the canon of the city of Vitoria said about Emilio Castelar could be said of Iglesias: he is a republican only because he cannot get to be King.

What saddens those of us republicans who are not furious is that we feel les ashamed of the King that has fallen to us  than we do of the politicians we have elected.  Oh, democracy, mirror of our mediocrity! Whenever some reporter touts the Europeanism of the Spanish people, I smile to myself: our Europeanism is only the consequence of our lack of faith in our politicians.

The question hovering over us is whether the monarchy is indispensable to our constitutional system, or if it was only a prosthetic device needed to solder the country’s democratic vertebrae. Because the question never was if the monarchy was just but if it was useful. The King of 3 October 2017 was useful. Felipe VI’s republicanism is more annoying than the whims of his grandson Froilán, but his enemies know that the institution suffers when different kinds of  Palace veniality are aired. That is why they must be eradicated, so that the monarchy can be associated once again with public service and not with frivolity and privilege.


Crea tu cuenta en The Objective

Mostrar contraseña
Mostrar contraseña

Recupera tu contraseña

Ingresa el correo electrónico con el que te registraste en The Objective