Do you remember that old advertising slogan for BT which said it pays to talk? Well, what a shame that Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy wasn't listening. If he had listened, the crisis in Catalonia might have been averted, but now he has dug himself into such a big hole he is going to find it very difficult to get out.
Rajoy took a gamble calling early elections in Catalonia after the pro-independence government was sacked. Pro-breakaway parties were in power and to be perfectly honest it would have been very unlikely that thousands of Catalans would have abandoned independence and voted for a unionist party. The three parties which support independence are now in a position to be able to form a government.
So, Rajoy is effectively back to square one. The only thing he can do is open dialogue with the new government if and when it is formed. That is the only way forward because dialogue has always been the only way forward in Catalonia. Rajoy's bully-boy tactics have achieved nothing. It could be argued that he just stoked the fires of independence even further. The Spanish government needs a new approach to Catalonia and so does the ruling Partido Popular.
Rajoy’s PP only got a fraction of the vote in the elections on Thursday. You would have thought that such a strong unionist party would have got some support, especially as the breakaway movement is deeply unpopular with some sections in Catalonia.