Spain has decided not to become a Multicultural Society
Many Spanish politicians, of both left and right parties, consider differences between Catalonia and the rest of Spain not as part of a rich cultural heritage, but as a threat to national unity. A recent speech in Parliament by the Spanish Minister for Education caused much alarm when he talked about the need to “Hispanicize” Catalan school children. Inflammatory comments about Catalonia have become a common part of Spanish politics: whilst they may help win elections, they can hardly be said to promote unity.
There are 9.1 million Catalan speakers, so it is not a minority language. But again, rather than being embraced as part of the Spanish culture, the use of Catalan is often seen as an attack on Spanishness. Bilingualism in schools is a particular focus of dispute. In Catalonia there is almost universal agreement on the current model of public education because it ensures that all children become fluent in both Spanish and Catalan. However, Spanish newspapers and politicians routinely turn reality on itsÂ head by presenting the Catalan education system as divisive and anti-Spanish. They are using the Constitution and the Courts to create a right to be educated in Spanish only. In practice, this would mean the creation of segregated schools and a divided society.