Friday, December 3

Colau, six years of politics of extravagances in Barcelona




Ada Colau’s ideological agenda continues to mark the management of the Barcelona City Council. Far from governing by and for all citizens, and ignoring the needs derived from the Covid pandemic, the mayor does not cease in her efforts to promote biased policies, some of which border on the extravagance.

An example of this is the project presented a few weeks ago to promote “the new masculinity.” The mayor has always defended sexual freedom and, just now, in parallel to the controversy over the latest homophobic attacks in Spain, has taken advantage of the pull of the demands to promote a «center of new masculinities“To help overcome the” patriarchal model that has done so much damage to us as a society, “Colau remarked. From the opposition, councilors such as Eva Parera from Barcelona pel Canvi, called the initiative “barbarity”.

Among the bizarre policies, those known as ‘tactical urbanism’ also stand out. The ‘paint and color’ of the asphalt, which has gone from being gray and for the car to colorful and for pedestrian purposes, or the radical change in chamfers, especially in those baptized as ‘super-islands’, left few indifferent. Even the former Catalan president, Quim Torra, considered it «frightening». In addition, the environmental and pedestrian benefits have been minimized as some of the elements incorporated into the public road have been questioned for their safety. The controversial bollards even reached the Prosecutor’s Office.

No less bizarre has been the project of the container floors. The project, dubbed Aprop (Provisional Proximity Accommodation) aims to offer temporary accommodation estates “more than worthy”, as Colau defended at the time, which are built with reused shipping containers. Being an express and sustainable solution to the housing problem was the main asset of the Aprop – twelve floors in progress and 82 in anticipation -, although the international press considered them a “can of sardines for the poor.”


Colau has also been standing out since its inception for its winks to like-minded groups, such as with the plans to legalize irregular street vendors. He created Diomcoop, a cooperative through which migrants are trained and helped to obtain their regularization. However, their aid to nearby organizations has been more famous, whose contributions came to be investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office – and archived – as a result of the complaint presented by Lawyers for the Constitution.

Many voices have also criticized the superfluous expenses of Colau, the last of them, the 69,500 euros for a stainless steel sculpture that is confused with the access of a ‘parking’. “It is a tease», Lamented the mayor of the PP Óscar Ramírez.

The creation of a municipal electricity company, also a pioneer in Spain, is another of the Barcelona projects with ‘Colau essence‘and in this case it has turned out to be a fiasco. When it started, in 2018, it was estimated that in a year it could reach 20,000 users and now they do not reach 4,000 who, by the way, pay rates that are not at all the cheapest in the market. In a similar vein, the Consistory tried, without success, to municipalize the water service, which has led to a tough war with Agbar.

Crusade against symbols

His biggest crusades, however, have been of symbolic content, as well as his nods to sovereignty, such as this weekend in Gràcia, where the pardoned Cuixart was the town crier. The celebration of the feast for honor the Second Republic, which has been made official in the municipal calendar, is one of the most iconic examples of countless actions to mark a profile. Another controversial party was the one organized by the City Council to dismiss the statue of Antonio López, the Marqués de Comillas, repudiated by the Colau government for being a “slave driver.” The Juan Carlos I squares or Hispanidad, the Principe de Asturias or Borbón avenues and the Principe de Gerona and the Infantas gardens. A clearly sectarian purge despite the pleas of much of the opposition.

In this line, the recent replacement of the image of the King in the plenary hall will remain as one of the days of Colau’s greatest posture. The mayor chose for that day a mask with Republican colors and, despite the props, it did not manage to be as controversial as was the photograph of Felipe VI himself, whose dimensions – Din-A4 – was seen as an insult to some. It was, without a doubt, the umpteenth day with gesticulation as a political axis.

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