Palencia expressly rejects inclusive language in all its institutional documentation. Last week the City Council approved a motion promoted by Vox for the City Council to be “especially scrupulous” in the “correct” use of Spanish. The motion went ahead with the support of the Popular Group and Citizens, who govern in coalition after being promoted by the far-right party, whose sole councilor leads part of the Local Development Agency.
What applications will this motion have? In practice, almost none of them defend from the government team. The mayor of the capital of Palencia, Mario Simón (Citizens), is committed to following the “technical criteria” recommended in the state regulation and explains that the masculine plural is already used to “simplify” and “economy of language”. “A motion is nothing more than a declaration of political intentions and will not have a significant effect,” he says.
Simón also defends the work carried out by the City Council in matters of equality and highlights the presence of women in municipal positions such as the Police and the Fire service. “The motion was more to an aesthetic and formal aspect, but the important thing is the substance,” he reiterates.
The only mayor of Vox in the City Council, Sonia Lalanda, rejected in plenary session the “unnecessary” use of splitting by gender or the use of the “e” to designate “a gender that does not exist in nature”, although the ” e “final has never been used in municipal documentation or declarations. The inclusive language is, for Vox, a “newspeak” with a “great ideological load as a political and arbitrary imposition of the left”. This newspaper has contacted Vox, but its councilor was on vacation abroad and the party has referred this medium to the plenary session.
This agreement supported by PP, Ciudadanos and Vox also contravenes the guidelines agreed in the current Equality Plan, in point 1.1.3 “use inclusive language”, with the aim of “mainstreaming” gender equality. In this section, the council committed itself to using inclusive language “in all areas.”
Political and technical staff from the City Council and the union sections of the UGT, CSIF, CCOO, USO, SPPMMCYL and SPB and the “employees and employees” of the City of Palencia worked in the preparation of this plan. In fact, the current Councilor for Organization and Personnel, Carolina Gómez, was responsible for equality at CSIF.
“We are not going to drive people crazy”
The deputy mayor and spokesman for the Popular Municipal Group, Alfonso Polanco, takes the issue away and assures that they will continue to work for inclusive language, but “without going overboard” and “making it more difficult”, with a language “more cumbersome, complex and with errors “. “We want to normalize a situation of advance of equality policies but with absolute normality. We cannot maintain an intransigent and too excessive position,” says Polanco, former mayor of the Palencia City Council. Asked Simon if he agrees that inclusive language can be “cumbersome” or not, he unchecks himself and refers to “technical criteria”.
Polanco assures that inclusive language is “a political issue” and “a matter of perceptions” and considers that the government team is experiencing a “difficult balance” by not having an absolute majority and running the city with the support of Vox. “This is evolving, we are going to continue working on the language for inclusion but we are not going to go crazy or drive people crazy with a language that can generate difficulties,” bets the spokesman for the Popular Municipal Group. “Yes to the language for equality but we are not going to go crazy and start using it in all administrative language,” he sums up.
During her speeches, the Vox councilor charged against “the left” that “contaminates a universal treasure and jewel” such as Spanish, although she opted to use the term “Spanish” because it is “a more universal and timeless concept.” Nor did he see it as “reasonable” for the Administration to use the “x” or the @, although it is a possibility that has never been contemplated in the City Council; and thanked the government team for their support in the motion.
“A weapon for the penetration of ideas”
Lalanda agreed that language is “something alive”, but accused “the left” of “trying to change reality by using language as a weapon for the penetration of ideas.” The Vox councilor said that in Spain “it seems that the more kicks are given” to the language, the people are “more modern and better.” To questions from the PSOE, Lalanda assured that “it is not the same” to say on the planes ‘Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard’ than to say ‘Council of ministers and ministers’ “.
Despite the statements of the PP leader, in the plenary session in which this motion was approved, the “popular” councilor who intervened, Víctor Torres, rejected inclusive language and accused the PSOE of “excluding” women. “We support the correct use of Spanish, supporting what the RAE says. Women are included, implicit and represented. It is you (the PSOE and Ganemos) who always mark that disintegration,” he said.
In Valladolid, the Popular Party rejected a similar motion also proposed by Vox. Polanco justifies the support because in Palencia they have “the responsibility to govern” while in Valladolid the PP is in opposition. “We give it the priority it has, we don’t want to waste time with this,” he continues.
The Socialist Party -which voted against- sees the attitude of the PP and Ciudadanos as “disappointing”. “I thought that we were all in favor of inclusive language and I was surprised that this motion went ahead,” laments Socialist councilor Reyes Bodero, who is committed to “letting language evolve.” “It is not necessary to put a brake on it, and once the uses are settled, it will be necessary to put correction rules, but not prevent them,” he defends. The socialist warns that this action could violate article 14 of the Equality Law of 2007.
The only representative of Ganemos Palencia, Sonia Ordóñez, also rejected the motion and describes this decision as “a step backwards” and recalls the guidelines for use of the Women’s Institute Y of the General Council of the Judiciary, stating that the recommended form is the generic.