We are now in the fourth day since the lock down was announced by Pedro Sánchez on 14 March, the Estado de Alarma, similar to a “state of emergency” but a lower degree within the Constitución.
I had intended to shortly publish today’s blog post but I am going to reserve today’s piece – including some further reflections on Daniel Defoe’s “Journal” – and put that up later. Things are moving fast here in Spain.
I have been watching the live debate in the Parliament (Congreso de Diputados) in Madrid today. Deputies were sitting two or three metres apart, in a much reduced national parliament, and political parties have dropped all of their customary partisan rhetoric. This is now a changed political situation with all the characteristics of wartime solidarity.
The exception was the right wing Vox party which acted in a publicly embarrassing manner by calling for resignations of ministers. That tells the Spanish nation all it needs to know about populist opportunism which seeks its own ends, even in a time when the country is united behind the government and so many public workers are putting their lives on the line. (In response to that unhelpful Vox intervention, the Prime Minister simply expressed his hope for a full recovery for the Vox deputies who now had a positive diagnosis for the virus. Masterful.)
There will be a Cabinet meeting at 17.00 today in Madrid, chaired by King Felipe VI himself. Unlike UK the constitutional monarchy, he may at times take an active role in exceptional times for the nation. The King will then speak to the nation at 21.00 today, so I will reserve my blog post for after that address to the nation, as it will set the tone, as we brace ourselves for the worst. We all know the worst is yet to come. Nobody can predict how bad it will be.
This blog post is now paused until later today, after 22.00 Spanish time.
Update 18 March 2020
I will be writing a new blog post later today about the situation here in locked down, Costa Blanca, Spain; but it is less urgent to describe the situation here (where we can do little to help) than to INSIST that people in the UK take proactive self-protection in the absence of any sensible consistent government action. (Why aren’t pubs shut? Why are schools even open till tomorrow! Why are NHS staff not even being tested? etc. etc.)
Above all, STAY AT HOME. I have been saying this to my own daughter in North Wales for several days. It is now appearing in community messages, in the absence of governement instruction to the citizens of UK. #STAYHOME #QuedateEnCasa Or die.