During a breakfast presentation and question and answer session in Madrid on Tuesday morning, PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez attempted to untangle the Spanish Socialist Party's idea of Spanish nationhood in the 21st Century, after stating on Monday that "all nations are Spain".
"Is 'nation' a single concept or does it accept complexity? I am more in the latter camp", he mused: "Spain is a nation, it is not 'the Spanish state' as some [separatists] refer to it".
The 1978 Spanish Constitution recognises the "indivisible unity of the Spanish nation" but also the "autonomy of the nationalities and regions it is composed of".
Pressed on the matter, and avoiding a numerical response to the question of how many nations the Socialist Party now believes exist in Spain, Mr. Sánchez replied that. "The nation is not identified with the limits of the state, but with a vocation and a feeling and a will to be".
Pressed further, he suggested a ballpark figure: "at least three, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia. At least".
Mr. Sánchez reiterated the PSOE's support for the current Spanish government on the question of the illegal independence referendum separatists are intent on holding on October 1.
"Faced with an illegal act, the state must guarantee the law, and that's all I'm going to say."
He suggested the Catalan First Minister, Carles Puigdemont, had "not read very much about coups d'etat and constitutions", and that the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, should not "open municipal spaces" for use in the vote.
He rejected, for now, the idea of a new joint motion of no-confidence (with Podemos) in Mariano Rajoy: "I am not going to become Prime Minister at any price, I am not going to play at your turn, my turn".
Asked about his own political struggle over the past year—being forced out as PSOE leader in palace coup, resigning as an MP, and then winning
the leadership of the party back in a grassroots ballot—he replied stoically: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".