Thursday, October 28

The pride of La Moncloa


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The intention of the Government to modify article 49 of the Constitution to change the term ‘handicapped’ to that of ‘person with a disability’, among other modifications, does not seem like a sufficient occasion to pay attention to the Council of State. This advisory body has issued a report that, predictably, endorses the terminological modification proposed by the Government, but warns of serious errors in the rest of the proposed reform. The issues that the Council of State objects to are not merely formal, but of great importance, because any constitutional modification has an expansive effect as a precedent for other reforms, by other governments and by other parliamentary majorities. However, this Government is especially characterized by despising the legislative technique or by manipulating it, as happened with the suppression of the crime of union coercion, which it took advantage of to attack the Popular Party from the BOE.

The observations made by the Council of State are based on a criterion of constitutional prudence and legislative measure, but the Executive does not believe in prudence or measure. On the contrary, this partial reform of the Constitution portrays all the most pernicious attitudes of a government that has become a constituent legislator. Pedro Sánchez has seen in the revision of article 49 the opportunity for a ‘progressive’ exhibitionism based on recharging that precept with a lot of recognition of rights, a lot of declaration of protection and a lot of invocation of international treaties. But the Council of State does not endorse the use of this reform as a tool for ideological activism, nor as a precedent for other constitutional reforms that only require parliamentary approval without a referendum or dissolution of Parliament. For example, the Council of State criticizes the reference to international treaties on disability because it is not necessary to mention these norms in each article of the Constitution that deals with matters subject to international law. If it is done with the disability, it should be done with all constitutional content regulated by international conventions. It would be absurd.

Similar criticism is made of the specific mention of the rights and duties of disabled people, as if they were not recognized for their mere condition of citizens, without additions or qualifications. This unique assignment of rights and duties to a specific group breaks the homogeneity of the Constitution in the treatment of citizenship as a common condition of Spaniards, and opens the door to include in the supreme norm of the State identity recognitions of groups that can also feel subjected to situations of discrimination. The principle of equality established by article 14 of the Constitution does not need replicas by name because the next step is the fragmentation of citizenship. And the same occurs with other recommendations that the Government ignores, turning a deaf ear to those who have the mandate to advise them and the obligation to tell them clearly, as on this occasion. But La Moncloa is installed in pride. He only wants clappers.

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