What the king didn’t say
When the speech ended, customers in this city centre bar thumped tables and whistled contemptuously, then quickly resumed normal conversation: King Felipe may as well have not spoken.
It was the things he omitted that rankled: no words about those shocking scenes of police beating voters on Sunday, no urgent appeal for dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan governments, no acknowledgment of the real hunger here for independence or at least a proper, legal referendum, not even a word or two of Catalan.
Instead, he expressed the position of the government, echoing its firm opposition to the vote, saying Catalan leaders had positioned themselves outside the law. He guaranteed “democratic coexistence” on Spanish terms only.
It was a missed opportunity to push the two sides towards dialogue, one customer told me afterwards. “It doesn’t help the situation at all,” said another. “I was not expecting him to intervene at all, actually, but he should at least have mentioned the violence here two days ago.”