Bullfighting: Property of electoral interest.
While Catalonia debates, Madrid dictates. While Catalonia reflects, Madrid imposes. If her objective was to turn the debate into one of identity, Esperanza Aguirre, President of the autonomous region of Madrid has succeeded. However, it must be made known to her that she has left Catalonia better off than ever. The faultless use of the democratic process which is being used in Catalonia to debate whether or not bullfighting should be prohibited has been, up until now, much more about ethics, science, philosophy and traditions than about politics.
During the official debating stage between the abolitionists and the pro-bullfighting groups which took place some weeks ago, even members within the pro-bullfighting camp made it clear that an open debate was needed on the subjects of ethics, animals, ecology, tradition, freedom and culture. These debates were necessary, even if one were to agree or disagree with half of the arguments being debated. It was in that same week that the President of the autonomous region of Madrid surprised us with a provocation that linked the defence of bullfighting with an attack on Catalonia because in politics there no coincidences or correlations, there are causes and effects. What message is Aguirre trying to send out? If the defence of bullfighting is to make a stand against Catalonia, then to be in favour of abolition is to be in defence of Catalonia. Thus the debate will no doubt become one of national identity and she will have done a huge favor to our ILP (the popular led initiative to ban bullfighting in Catalonia). She will have made it almost obligatory for all Catalonian nationalists to vote in favor of abolition.
Ms. Aguirre, with our greatest respect we say thank you for offering us your help. However, please allow us not to accept it. Not because we are ungrateful. It is just that we would prefer not succumb to your tactless strategy. We don’t want to muddy the waters and we want to put aside the debate about identity.
To use the remark that Mr. Artur Mas made just days after your electioneering outcry, and to employ a bullfighting phrase, we will not “enter the trap”. And why is Mr. Mas right? He is correct because, if Catalonia abolishes bullfighting only for reasons of identity, then the winners will be a few animals. However, if bullfighting is abolished for reasons of moral principles, then Catalonia and its people will also be among the winners.
If any parliament member is thinking of voting in favour of the abolition of bullfighting for reasons of identity, then we will ask them not to, we will ask them not to “enter the trap”. We would instead, ask them to abstain because this ILP is not only a campaign. It is a thermometer with which to measure the moral health of our society. To prohibit bullfighting for reasons of identity would be to deprive Catalans of the chance to show pride in their own moral progression. This is the strategy behind Ms. Aguirre’s decree: she wants to prohibit the citizens of Madrid from having their right to a serious and necessary debate and from the use of democratic processes to change to the way animals are treated. Her objective is to use their suffering as the “Property of electoral interest”.