Lessons from London by Jordi Juan


While the figure of Elizabeth II at the time of her death has grown enormously and is receiving all kinds of praise everywhere, it would be worth recalling some of the courageous decisions made during her reign, contrary to the viewpoints of many politicians and Spain. Thinker in I am specifically referring to the policy of reconciliation adopted by the British monarchy in relation to the conflict in Northern Ireland. Thus, for example, Elizabeth II had no problem shaking hands with former Irish Republican Army (IRA) leader Martin McGuinness during a visit to Belfast in June 2012. It had been 14 years since the Good Friday Agreements were signed and the Queen behaved completely normal with the then Deputy First Minister of the Government of Northern Ireland. The same was expressed a few days earlier by the leaders of Sinn Féin, who had received his successor, Carlos III, on his first visit as King of Northern Ireland. The most frequently repeated word in the two speeches was reconciliation.

Here in Spain, on the other hand, the criminalization of the leaders of EH Buildu continues and their timely support for the decisions of Pedro Sánchez’s government becomes electoral ammunition for the opposition. The heirs of Heri Batasuna who obey the rules of democracy rather than promote terrorism from outside institutions, is a major progress. But it may be electorally more profitable to say that Sanchez is a prisoner of “Friends of ETA” or is trying to prevent prisoners from the former terrorist organization from being transferred to prisons in the Basque Country. Yesterday the Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, had to remind himself once again that what he does is only obeys the law.

Queen Elizabeth II in file image

Toby Melville

Similarly, Basque leaders should also learn from their counterparts in Northern Ireland and not veto potential meetings with the head of state. Having received parliamentary representation, EH Bildau refused on three occasions to meet with Felipe VI in the traditional round of post-election consultations. This is another mistake. British policy, which has made many mistakes in recent years, starting with Brexit, teaches us a lot in this matter.

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