Having a specific political map is one of the telltale signs of the existence of a “distinct society” (that is the term Canada used to refer to Quebec in the self-determination debate). I don’t mean just institutions of your own, but also a separate political party system.
The picture that will emerge from the polls in the Basque Country on Sunday will have nothing in common with Spain’s. The Basque-only political parties will garner massive support and some of the Spanish parties that compete to be top dog in Spain will become fringe or irrelevant players.
A difference of such magnitude is truly exceptional worldwide. Over here we are so used to it that we take it for granted, even though it attests to the historic failure of Spain’s nationalistic project of unifying the country into a single nation, a project shared by the Spanish right as well as the left.
A country where such distinct societies exist cannot have a homogenising project nor regional governments whose powers are granted as an act of grace. Instead, it requires a complex structure which must include the actual possibility to secede. On Sunday the Basque Country will declare itself a distinct society. And it isn’t the only one within a state that hopes to become a fully homogeneous society.