The traditional Christmas Nativity Scenes in Barcelona's government square have been pretty appalling for the last few years but this year's pathetic attempt is possibly the worst of all. It's supposed to represent a family Christmas dinner but fails to conjure up anything remotely resembling Christmas spirit.
I find this deeply depressing because when I saw the traditional nativity scene in the main square of Plaça de Sant Jaume before my first Christmas in Barcelona in 1988 was one of my most profound early impressions of the city.
I can't find a picture from 1988 but the traditional pessebre is something like this with baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, all the farm animals, the shepherds and the three kings.
I remember being struck by the detail and beauty of the life-sized figures and the subtle lighting. of the scene. I was impressed by the Catalans' good taste, artistry and respect for tradition.
In fact, you can see that the scene is pagano-Christian from the fact that the figures and animals are mostly European-looking but the real confirmation of this here in Catalonia is the figure of El Caganer, literally The Shitter, who is always located at the back of the nativity scene fertilising the ground at the most important moment in history.
The first time I saw El Caganer I wasn't prepared for it in the slightest. The contrast between the tasteful lighting and the artistic figures and the image of someone having a secret shit in the background was more than I could take. I burst out laughing.
The traditional nativity scene stayed more or less the same until the far-left Barcelona en Comú led by Ada Colau gained control of Barcelona City Council in 2015 and since then we've had ....
It's supposed to represent a family Christmas dinner but I heard somebody from the council say it was the Last Supper, which is strange because that took place just before Jesus Christ was crucified at Easter.
As you can see from the picture above, it completely fails to summon up any spirit of Christmas.
The Baby Jesus is just an empty chair with a bib.
And even El Caganer has been reduced to nothing more than a chair with a hole in it.
All I hope is that this dreadful woman gets voted out in the Municipal Elections early next year and Barcelona can go back to being the wonderful city it used to be all year round.