Thursday, January 27

A sterile speech

I can’t recall a single December 24th where I didn’t follow HM the King’s speech. In some years my interest in what the King might say even preceded the date when the speech was to be delivered. And in quite a few I have written my opinion on the King’s Christmas message.

I confess that this year I have not felt the slightest interest. I knew that I was going to see it out of obligation, because I cannot continue participating in the public debate in various media and not see an institutional act as relevant as the Christmas message of HM the King. And see it at the same time you are sending it, since body language, as I imagine the reader knows, is decisive in the transmission of the message. In addition, I felt obliged in a certain way to combat my lack of interest, because in this job you have to be tough and old. But I came out of having followed the King’s speech with the same sense of disinterest with which I entered.

It is an objective problem. As long as the shadow of his father is projected over his reign and the emeritus king cannot or does not want to do anything to avoid it and neither does his son, the Christmas message of King Felipe VI will be the evacuation of a procedure, devoid of any relevance.

The trajectory of Juan Carlos I de Borbón about which he cannot give any kind of explanation, as the President of the Government has requested, and about which his successor is not willing to do so, sterilizes the Crown as an institution, regardless of any other circumstance. Mariola Urrea, has explained it very well in “Explanations … what explanations” last December 20 in El País.

Whoever has followed what has been published in the different media during the last months, will have verified that the interest of the citizens was in the investigations of the Swiss Prosecutor, in the lawsuit for harassment of Corina Larsen before the British justice and at what moment will file the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office investigating the conduct of the King Emeritus. Or whether or not Don Juan Carlos will return to Spain and the place where he could establish his residence.

These are the issues that citizens would have or, rather, have an enormous interest in knowing what King Felipe VI could tell them. But if you have nothing to say about them, what you can say about any other topic is of no interest. Your words will go in one ear and out the other.

I think that is what has happened with the Christmas message this year, despite the fact that it has been a correct message both in content and in the way of expressing it. Felipe VI expresses himself with more and more confidence. Body language accompanies the words you speak effectively. The distance between the way he delivers his speeches and the way he did it from his father is more than considerable.

But in the end, once it’s over, you’re left with the feeling that if you hadn’t followed it, you wouldn’t have missed anything. What you said is fine, but its impact is nil. Tomorrow the citizens who have followed him will not remember anything he has said. Good words, good wishes, that will hit the wall that stands between the Crown and society.

The stain that the execution of Don Juan Carlos has left on the Crown hurts the eye. It degrades the institution and degrades us as a society. There have been too many years in which unworthy conduct has been prolonged without being held accountable of any kind. And too many years in which impunity continues after the abdication. HM the King’s Christmas message on December 24 reminds us again every year.