Catalan independence

The Spanish state refuses to allow the Catalans a vote on whether they wish to be independent of Spain. The elected Catalan government is preparing for a referendum at the beginning of October to decide whether to stay or go. The Madrid government argues this is against the Spanish constitution and refuse to sanction such a vote. Polls suggest the independence side is a little  behind.

The Spanish state is now arresting and bringing charges against Catalan politicans who are preparing this vote. They are seizing ballot papers, and  withdrawing powers and money from the Catalan government   to stop the vote taking place.

The EU in its earlier days encouraged regional governments and often appealed over the heads of national governments to them. It created a Committee of the Regions and prefers to run various programmes by sending cash direct  to regional administrations. Now it is more nervous of the centrifugal pull of regions, and keener to help member states that face disruptive regions.

The heavy handed approach of the Spanish state may be making more Catalans favour independence. It is strange to see a western democrcy going to such lengths to stop a vote which an elected regional gvernment wants. When Scotland wanted something similar the UK state granted it. Its not something to do too often, but when there is a strong head of steam behind such an issue and no vote has taken place for a long time it is a pity opinion can be thwarted. The EU once again backs the anti democratic forces.

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117 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    “The EU once again backs the anti democratic forces.”

    Indeed the EU are always profoundly anti-democratic – they know just how unpopular they are with most voters. The existence of the EU makes regions more likely to seek independent directly under the EU. Why have local government, regional government, national government and government from the EU. Far too many layers and very inefficient indeed.

    “The heavy handed approach of the Spanish state may be making more Catalans favour independence.”

    It surely will do.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Agreed, certainly in the UK it swung the referendum in favour of leaving the EU…

      • Hope
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        So May has sold leavers down the river. What happened to the no deal better than a bad deal! EU citizens to keep rights, shared rights with U.K., is she mad? Our laws, our courts, our borders, our money. She has done none of it. We are not even leaving she is proposing a transitional deal to keep us in all but name. Disgusting.

        Let us see what leaver Tory MPs do.

        Let us all hope the stories never get in power again.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, May is really no different (at heart) from “wrong on every issue” socialist Vince Cable. The only difference is she has to pretend to leave the EU to keep her sensible wing happy. They certainly should not be happy with this.

          Why oh why did Michael Gove stab Boris and why did Boris not continue to stand – he would have won against the robotic May despite Gove.

          Farage says it is “two fingers to those who voted for Brexit”. He is quite right.

    • Hope
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      JR, the EU is calling the tune. It tells its puppet Govt across the continent what to do. Hence why no difference between the parties here. You have ably pointed out the vast amount of laws and regs from the EU while our puppet govt implemented pretending it was in charge. The current repeal bill evidences this quite clearly and shows what a lying bunch of corrupt shysters sit in Westminster who defended this to deceive the public.

      LL, The layers hide govt and EU activity to blame others. Cameron could not beat Brown- the most loathed PM in living memory, just behind Blaire. May scraped through over Corbyn. I would have thought the Tory party might have a clue that they need a person with normal Tory values with an authentic personality who connects t the public. May does not need to apply.

      There is no way Hammond, Rudd or other remainers in cabinet fit the bill. Their views are diametrically opposed to the 17.5 million people who voted leave. LL rants on about the socialist, high tax piss down the drain green crap, state controlled, bureaucratic Tory party. He is right. But the party for some unknown reason will not change and always continues to move left. This is not modernization or the answer.

      Last year saw elections across the world where it is evident people want change from the corrupt political systems infesting us. The Tory party needs wake up FFS.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      I see that Sadiq Khan has backed TfL decision to refuse to renew UBER licence, saying all London companies ‘need to play by the rules’. What rules are these? The one that says Black Cabs good (and can use bus lanes and street pick up) yet other Cabs are all bad. Or the rule that says customers have to pay three times the going rate for a taxi and wait far longer for one to come if it does at all?

      One imagines that May and Hammond (who are both clearly big government interventionists at heart) will want to be on the black cab side at heart. She even commissioned the idiotic Taylor report after all. This as they clearly hate the gig economy and business in general. Let us hope some real conservatives can get her onto the Uber and customer’s side

      Let us also hope the courts are sensible (the rarely are and were not last time on Uber). They should tell Khan and TfL to get lost? I cannot think it will make Khan very popular and it will add a lot to many Londoner’s bills and inconvenience. What a pathetic & daft “son of a bus driver” he is.

      I for one will never catch a black cab in London again. They have had an overpriced monopoly for far, far too long.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        All Uber users and taxi customers should Black the Black Cabs in London until the UBER licence is restored.

        Mini cabs should also be allowed to use bus lanes and pick up – a cab is a cab after all so why this taxi cab apartheid protection racket?

        Done “for reasons of safety” they claim – sure and I’m a banana as Hislop might put it.

    • margaret howard
      Posted September 24, 2017 at 12:19 am | Permalink

      If the EU is so unpopular why did so many (incl even Greece) recently vote for pro EU parties?

      • libertarian
        Posted September 24, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Dear Margaret

        It obviously escaped your attention that ALL the parties in the UK are pro EU too. We held a referendum where the people could speak directly and we voted out. Every other EU country that has held a referendum of any kind the EU LOST the vote but made them vote again until they got it right or they just ignored the popular vote.

        Do you understand this?

  2. Newmania
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Succession , would n`t that be great .I saw figures yesterday that showed the Brexit vote was overwhelmingly the retired and unemployed .Imagine if ‘Remainia’ was a place , not just a dream and a vision .What a fantastic wealthy young and modern place it would be . If only we could partition the country and put the Brexit volk on the Isle of White , where many of them already live , to enjoy their all white poverty Empire 2 fantasies and ill – educated inventions alone

    ( Mind you not sure who would do the plumbing in remainia to be fair )

    Reply Many entrepreneurs voted Leave for the opportunities it will bring.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Brussels troll. Talking nonesense as usual. According to him there are 17 million idiots in Britain all over 60 or unemployed.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Newmania, displaying your ignorance again, check your spelling..

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      53.2% in England and 51.7% in Wales voted Leave. If the residents of Scotland and N.Ireland realised that the EU would not replace the “Barnett” support if they left the UK, they might rethink as many SNP voters did in the 2017 General Election.

    • eeyore
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      “( Mind you not sure who would do the plumbing in remainia to be fair )”

      Let’s hope it’s not the same people who do the thinking in Newmania.

    • Newmania
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      The vast majority did not as you very well know in fact the vast majority of the working population did not

    • Oggy
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      You talk absolute drivel.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      ‘Remainia’ already exists. It is called the EU. Is this a fantastic wealthy and modern place, a dream? Most countries are poor or bust and they are terrified, not of losing us but of losing our money. Does that sound like Utopia? Spain and parts of France are very grateful for our ‘overwhelmingly retired’ who spend their pensions there and buy property, thereby helping keep it going whilst their young languish on the dole.

      How were the figures you quote obtained? As far as I am aware it was a secret ballot. More Remoaner lies?

      Your myopia is something to behold.

    • Oggy
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      PS – rather than insulting the hard working intelligent British people who voted for our country back – WHY don’t YOU just go live in Brussells and then all your problems will be solved. I’m sure we could have a whip round here to buy you a one way ticket on the next Eurostar out.

    • DaveM
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      NM. Guess what – we’re still in the EU, and the UK isn’t a fantastically wealthy place!

      Your post is typical of the EU supporting class’ attitude. Well done for reminding us all what a despicably snobbish and priveleged attitude it is. It’s not too late for you to move to another EU country you know.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      More lies and smear to undermine the democratic vote.

      3.5m 0ver 65s + 1.5m unemployed = …nowhere near 17.5m !

      Must be a heck of a lot of early-retireds to have made up that shortfall and we have the usual old cannard from Newmania that Brexit = zero immigration .

      Most retireds have children they are worried about. Most retireds have lived responsible lives and raised families. Most retireds have decades of life ahead of them.

      Most retireds still know how to get their act together and register to vote.

    • sm
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      But there is no need to imagine what ‘Remania’ would look like, just look at the thriving economies and low unemployment figures of Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece. Just look at the wonderful solvency of Italy, at the complete lack of multi-cultural problems across the EU thanks to Mrs Merkel’s open-hearted welcome, at the fabulous unity between nations so well-represented by sharing the EU Parliament each month between Brussels and Strasbourg, at the eager insistence of every EU participant to pay its NATO and International Aid contributions…….

  3. True Brit
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    It was idiocy to grant Scotland’s “Independence” vote to Who? We have a duty to maintain our unity and protect us Scottish brethren. Spain has a similar responsibility. Yorkshire could well do without the rest of you. Really! We know our might! It is our Yorkshire’s duty, to stay with you idlers. We shall make something of you eventually for we ARE Yorkshire and we ARE the United Kingdom of that there is no doubt except in the bonces of traitors and tramps.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      I doubt you’d be able to afford the divorce payment we would demand.

      • Tom Rogers
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        How dare you cast aspersions on Yorkshire, sir! God’s Own County. We want our independence [only kidding].

        • True Brit
          Posted September 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          This IS God’s Own County. You are right though, we do not want independence from our own Country. That would be daft.

      • E.S Tablishment
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Demand?

      • True Brit
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        “divorce payment” ? Well I guess so. After all, England has been the exclusive breadwinner for year upon year whilst you sat at home looking after numerous kids and stoking up the fire all too regularly.

    • Chriss
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      We all know that the average Yorkshireman has always had an over-inflated opinion of his county but your post really takes the biscuit, True Brit !

      Perhaps you could explain how Yorkshire could well “do without the rest of us” when the GDP of your region ( Yorkshire and Humberside ) is the second lowest in England!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_United_Kingdom#Economy_by_region

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Many years ago the locals used to enthuse about Yorkshire grit and cricket prowess (the good old days when I was at Uni there, doing my first degree). Sadly those days are long gone! Eeh by gum!

    • graham1946
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      How does Yorkshire’s output compare to the south east?

      • zorro
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Chuffin’ great 🙂

        zorro

    • Capt Mannering
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Had the English had a vote, Scotland would have “won” their independence two centuries ago and each of you given a nice shiny farthing for all your past help. ..also a gourd of hot cock-a-leekie soup to keep away the chill if you were early enough in joining the queue. No need replying and saying how generous we English are. We know, we have spoilt you rotten, hence your attitude.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 23, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Small local independent states are the future. Big is dead it doesn’t work any longer.

      The worlds most successful and happiest countries

      Singapore, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Iceland, Austria, Norway, Denmark all have populations smaller than London

      England, Wales & Scotland should be independent states

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    It is reported that T May has to deliver “the speech of her life” today. Not a very high threshold. I have never heard her made even a half decent speech. If she confirms the £X billion payment (for nothing) to the EU she is surely even more dead in the water.

    The idea that we should pay for extra years because of the EU’s “seven year budget period” is a pathetic fig leaf and clearly absurd. The EU set their budget knowing full well that the UK could trigger a leave at any point after the two years. They could have allowed for this eventuality. This is not the UK’s problem unless May foolishly chooses to make it so as looks likely.

    Then she will have to move on to the Party Conference where is seems she will play the cynical (David Lammy type) of evil race card and doubtless drone on about the gender pay gap and “discrimination” too. She still does not seem to understand the basic lesson that “correlation is not causation”.

    The gender pay gap for example is entirely explained by the different work life balance choices, subject choices, career gaps, motivations and job choices that women and men choose to make. I suspect there is now actually an anti-male bias in pay levels, on a like for like basis, in very many areas due to damaging legislation and political correctness.

    She now makes even David Cameron look competent. If only Cameron had really been an EUsceptic, low tax at heart, conservative and not just a dishonest, bogus fake one.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      The argument that “it is reasonably to pay billions to the EU’s seven year budget” fig leaf is just as pathetic as Cameron’s “a treaty is not a treaty once ratified”.

      Even the generally sound Kwasi Kwarteng was pushing this palpable drivel yesterday.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Mrs May is expected to rule out the suggestion that Britain could become a Singapore-style low tax haven to draw business and investment away from the EU.

        Why would we not want to be competitive in the World and become richer? Perhaps she can explain. Hammond keeps saying he want us to be more productive but may clearly want us to remain less productive with a bloated inept state sector and absurdly high tax levels.

        • zorro
          Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Because she is an EU covert agent! Well, clearly not so covert really….

          zorro

  5. Mark B
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    This has the potential to become quite serious. History has shown that when a people are denied something like independence, then trouble and possible revolution and civil war follows. Some may say that Spain cannot descend into civil war but, she and Europe are no strangers to it.

    The Catalans much like the Nationalists / Socialists in Scotland, Ulster and Wales have a rather peculiar vision of ‘independence’. They want independence from their countries but, not the EU. Perhaps because the EU seeks to fund / finance these ‘regions’ separately they think they can go it alone. It is also strange that the EU sees itself as a bulwark against ‘nationalism’ (that’s patriots like you and me) yet, it is those very true nationalists and not patriots that benefit. Odd ?

    One thing is for sure, this is not going to go away. Even if, as we here in the UK have come to learn, that they get a referendum and vote to stay in Spain, the passion from the independence movement will not give up. But I fear the Spanish governments actions, whilst both constitutional and legal, may be seen as heavy handed by more moderate Catalans and Spaniards, and will add to the fervour.

    The long term ramifications are becoming clear. One such is that of Gibraltar and their relations with Spain. This will pull the Gibs’ even closer to the UK. And remember, the Gibs’ also had a referendum and did the Falkland Islands as to their future.

    It seems therefore, that when it comes to democracy the UK is truly a leading player and clearly in that regard has a role there post BREXIT.

    Makes me feel rather proud 🙂

  6. E.S Tablishment
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Spain should arrest and jail the persons who are citizens of Spain but wish to create havoc and chaos. Here we call such people LibDems. But they are too cowardly to assert independence of the weak minded.

  7. Duncan
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    JR

    I have always appreciated your articles and contributions to the debate surrounding the EU but today’s article is almost an admission of defeat. Rather than focusing on the real issue of our times ie, the capitulation of May to EU pressure and the behaviour of ALL Tory MP’s, you try to divert attention away towards the Catalan independence vote

    Let’s go for the jugular shall we? This Conservative government led by the most appalling PM in a generation is about to commit a flagrant act of treachery by one, ignoring the EU referendum result.

    Two, by rejecting the democratic will of the people.

    Three, by signing up to the EEA.

    And finally, by sacrificing the divine sovereignty, independence and dignity of the United Kingdom on the altar of the anti-democratic EU

    The UK was on the verge of reasserting democratic control once again and then we had the misfortune of having a PM and Chancellor who will go down in history as the two people who flushed this nation’s dignity down the toilet

    The Conservative Party will pay a heavy price for their disgraceful treatment of the British people, its democracy and their contemptuous treatment of my country’s sovereign status

    Reply I wrote about the UK and EU yesterday! I will comment on the speech when we know what she said.

    • APL
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Duncan: “Three, by signing up to the EEA.”

      I could live with UK EEA membership. In fact that seems the least painful way to sever the political bonds of the EU with the least economic disruption.

      If May repeals the ’73 EEC/EU act, and we remain in the EEA by virtue of the ’94 EEA agreement, I could live with that.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Hopefully they will go down in the history books in the same way Callaghan’s government has. A billion for the DUP, twenty billion for the EU, this makes a winter of discontent inevitable. The ‘money is not there’ argument will not wash anymore. The nurses would be apathetic to believe in this crap for much longer.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Well, that would partly depend on whether people realised that we’ve already given the EU more than twenty billion since the referendum. I know under the existing arrangements they’ll later give us some of that back as the abatement agreed under the present treaties, and I know that we’ll get some of it back for EU-approved purposes, but we have credited the EU’s account(s) with at least twenty billion of UK taxpayers’ money since June 2016.

    • Bert Young
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Duncan , I agree with the priorities you have expressed ; Theresa is under the microscope for any sign of failure and the Conservative Party will suffer . Johns’ views post her speech will be most interesting .

      • Duncan
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        What is at stake more than the necessity to remove ourselves from the EU is the sanctity and legitimacy of our democracy.

        If a democratic decision delivered by referenda and entered into by all is simply ignore, bypassed and dismissed by unelected mandarins then what is the point of democracy?

        Why embrace democracy when these faceless, selfish bureaucrats can conspire to construct events that completely nullifies the very thing we all hold dear ie British democracy?

        I care not one jot for Catalan and its so called struggle for independence. I am far more concerned with diluting the pernicious influence of these destructive, anti-democratic forces that lay deep at the heart of the British state

        Only one thing matters and that is preserving the trust and indeed democracy that makes the UK an example of decency around the world

        What a pity senior British Uncivil Servants and pro-EU Tory politicians fail to adhere to that decency and our democracy

    • Peter Wood
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Duncan,
      This idea may lighten your mood. If Mrs. May makes the expected offer of 20 Bil. and other things, and that gets rejected (no where near enough for the German Empress and her minions in Brussels) then we walk away free and clear having made a ‘good and generous’ offer. Off we go and concentrate on making the nation ready for WTO terms and negotiating FTA’s with the rest of the world.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      We know she is going to cave in already. She has form after all.

      Not that speeches by Theresa May ever say anything very much beyond the blindingly obvious (or often the totally wrong).

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      I think at this juncture, and with the already “known unknowns” from her speech, it would have been pertinent for you to have reinforced your message of yesterday – there is no need for any ex-gratia payment. It is unsatisfactory to have your colleague Mr Jenkin on TV bleating about the poor EU… there will be a hole in their budget… Oh dear, what about the hole they made in ours!! We could do with £500bn back please for being missile! Unless this is a purely Machiavellian tactic of his and May’s (which I doubt) they are clearly being got-at by the establishment. We’re just wondering if you’re in the same boat? Perhaps we’ll know tomorrow?

      Reply I remain against paying them a leaving present and want out in March 2019

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        Missold of course not missile. This time.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Duncan,

      Tomorrow is another day, we “May” or “May Not” have a better idea of this Government’s direction and negotiating skills then…

      But certainly if it’s anywhere near £20 Billion that is being “given” away, they will have questions to answer as to why we have austerity at home but are willing to give away large amounts of borrowed money for no guaranteed benefit to the people of the UK.

    • DaveK
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Only 2 out of 3 Duncan, she rejected the EEA idea.

  8. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    .and as we all know, the EU doesn’t even pay lip service to democracy any more.

    People don’t matter to the EU, nor to the governments they now control so easily, but these signs are simply the visible part, so far of a huge submerged iceberge of a fanatatical dictatorship.
    The structure of the EU is what is wrong, such that so much power now resides with an unelected elite. It won’t get better as nation states become mere satellites of Brussels, but why are so many blind to these obvious signs?

    • agricola
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Because for most European countries their experience of democracy is very short and has not embedded itself in the DNA of the people.

      • Mitchel
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Not just the idea of democracy but,more importantly,the notion of being an independent state.How many members of the EU have,historically,been independent states rather than subjects of the Austro-Hungarian,Russian,Ottoman,Holy Roman and Soviet Empires.And the truth is much of central and eastern Europe has not been economically viable at much above the subsistence level which is why many have been happy to be part of a more prosperous entity.Keynes recognised this when he surveyed the post WWI wreckage in his Consequences of the Peace.

  9. sm
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Apparently, there is a plaque on the Visitors’ Centre of the European Parliament, quoting a pre-war British diplomat, Lord Lothian:

    “National sovereignty is the root cause of the most crying evils of our times…the only formal remedy for this is the federal union of the peoples”.

    • formula57
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      That plaque will be coming down upon Brexit I expect, wont it?

    • acorn
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      The EU Committee of the Regions is the solution to this problem. It has all been anticipated by the alpha brains in Brussels! The EU has already been divided into, currently, 98 NUTS 1 Regions, Scotland, Northern Ireland, London and Catalan being but four.

      I can imagine an elected Governor of each region, with a local Parliament and an EU supreme Parliament in Brussels. Naturally, they would all use the Euro and pay into a federal type taxation system.

      Should further nationalism break out amongst these regions a federal police force will quickly quash it.

      Simples 😂😂😂

      • Mitchel
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Exactly what Lenin did to Russia,creating a mass of entities that had never before existed.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        You mean the European Gendarmerie:

        http://www.eurogendfor.org/

        I recall a witness to one of their training exercises saying that the opponents were waving Breton(?) separatist banners.

    • agricola
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Napoleon and Hitler had much the same idea.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Of course that would have to be a World Federation, otherwise it would only be a matter of time before the German-led pan-European federation picked a fight with some other federation, maybe the Americans or maybe the Australians …

      It’s still possible to track down various drafts of the proposed EU Constitution, and here is the “preliminary draft Constitutional Treaty” of October 2002:

      https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200203/ldselect/ldeucom/61/6109.htm

      In that early outline version, before the UK government took fright at some of the language and got it changed, the substance of Article 1 was to include:

      “Decision to establish [an entity called the European Community, European Union, United States of Europe, United Europe].

      A Union of European States which, while retaining their national identities, closely coordinate their policies at the European level, and administer certain common competences on a federal basis … “

  10. margaret
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    My daughter attended Granada University in the 1990’s and this was an issue then . She was informed that Catalan had wanted it’s independence for years. I am amazed that the refusal to allow a vote is so overt. Spain and all its regions is a beautiful country. In the past it has been sneered at it , ( how stupid) looking down on it as though it was a cheap country for a holiday. It is a lovely place to visit . The commercialism keeps them in pocket ,but there is far more to the country than holiday destinations . Wales and England are separate Countries, however speaking to a German in Spain I was told that he visited England and went to Cunvay ( Conway).Pride comes before a fall , but certainly has its deep roots in national identity.

  11. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    If there is twenty billion for breeding birds in the Pyrenees and new roads in Poland why have you not lifted the public sector pay cap beyond police and prison officers? And Corbyn and Co are supposed to be incompetent?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget, Hinckley, HS2 and International Development, monies from which could be used to better effect to help the people living in this country…

  12. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Dear John–Very hard to believe what Spanish Courts and Government are doing–Anytime now Juncker et al are going to up and say something though what exactly who knows, perhaps that it is against EU values or perhaps that it is a clear case for a run out of the New European Army (on whose side?)–If Catalonia did leave, it has been pronounced that it would no longer be in the EU, presumably only after, repeat after, payment (on account of EU unilateral sequencing) of a Divorce Bill, which there has to be of course because the EU has a Budget–On the other hand Catalonia is physically at the heart of the EU, unlike our archipelago, and they are not going to like the new border, with France. Viva Catalonia. If they vote to leave there is nothing else to talk about and Madrid are making such an event more likely by the day. Will people be writing in here asking for proof that Catalonia would be better off out as happened the other day in our own context?

    • Tom Rogers
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Yes, I wonder if certain people are going to be flying out to Barcelona to warn them about how “complicated” it’s all going to be and that “it’s a process, not an event” and could take years and years.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Postscript–And presumably they would be thrown out of the Euro only to have to go back in again once they were readmitted–which they of course would be and in nanoseconds

  13. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s a bit like when the Tories decide to screw over the Scots over independence.

    • Chriss
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Can you explain this please ????

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      No, it’s nothing like that, and the question in my mind is whether it could actually become a bit more like that with senior SNP figures being arrested on the orders of the UK Supreme Court. I can see how that could come about, because that court could not allow one of its determinations to be defied and set at nought, but I doubt whether Sturgeon would be prepared to push it that far.

      This is what she has been reported as saying:

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-backs-catalonia-s-right-to-hold-a-referendum-1-4566360

      “It is of course entirely legitimate for Spain to oppose independence for Catalonia but what I think is of concern anywhere is for a state to seek to deny the right of a people to democratically express their will.

      “The right of self determination is an important international principle and I hope very much that it will be respected in Catalonia and everywhere else.

      “The Edinburgh Agreement is a shining example of two governments with diametrically opposed views on independence nevertheless coming together to agree a process that allowed the people to decide and I think that offers a template that can be used by others elsewhere in the world.”

      And logically also a template that will have to be used for any repeat referendum on Scottish independence; she is (again) conceding that it could only take place with the assent of the UK government and Parliament.

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Within my living memory Spain wasn’t a democracy at all, I suppose that somewhat informs the approach on both sides of the argument.

  15. formula57
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The root of the distinction between Spain’s heavy-handed approach to its racist chancers on the make and that adopted by the UK in the case of Scotland perhaps rests upon the fact that Spain would be materially worse off if the separation occurred rather than very materially better off.

    I am disappointed though that the people’s Blue Boris has not linked the Catalan struggle to the case of Gibraltar, pointing to the parallel maladroit, hegemonistic attitude on display from Madrid.

  16. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Well the EU was never democratic and it looks like the countries that belong to it are going down the same route including us. If Mrs May signs us up to more of the Eu doling out money like it’s going out of fashion and meanwhile not being able to look after our elderly or our youngsters then this party is chips!! We will never get out if we don’t get out now and this is what the UK voted for. Don’t talk about democracy when the Conservative party wouldn’t recognise it if it hit them straight on in the face!

  17. Andy Marlot
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    If Spain were not part of the “western bloc” and thereby subservient to Washington they would already be receiving threats of sanctions for their government’s behavior. Trump would be threatening who knows what right now. As it is all the craven cowards in other governments stay mute over what is a flagrant abuse of democracy, probably because they are terrified the idea of actual democracy might overthrow them instead of keep them in power as it has before.

  18. Original Richard
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    “The EU in its earlier days encouraged regional governments and often appealed over the heads of national governments to them …….……Now it is more nervous of the centrifugal pull of regions, and keener to help member states that face disruptive regions………
    The EU once again backs the anti democratic forces.”

    I would be very surprised if the EU had changed its original policy as its declared aim is to break up the nation states.

    Smaller, weaker more dependent regions are more likely to be compliant.

  19. agricola
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I think this could be a tactical error on the part of the Spanish central government, particularly as you suggest that the desire for independence might not be in the majority. Such heavy handedness could tip the balance in favour of an independent Catalonia.

    Catalonia is one of the wealthier provinces of Spain, if not the wealthiest, so they have the means to be independent, unlike Scotland for instance. It would be the Madrid government that would loose out financially, so this is possibly their motive in blocking independence. The danger in being heavy handed is that it could escalate into something more sinister.

  20. Diogenes
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    The Catalan revendication for more independence from Madrid dates from much earlier than the creation of the EEC (remember Orwell in Catalonia). It is rather strange to see it here summed up by “The EU once again backs up the anti democratic forces”.
    It is a rather cheap (and not historically competent) way to blame the EU.

  21. Ed Mahony
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    I’m going to stop commenting. Just want to thank you to you for allowing me to comment and for reviewing my comments (and apologies for silly, lengthy and repetitive comments). In return for your generosity, going to keep you in my prayers – requesting lots of peace, joy and blessings for you.
    God bless you!
    Ed

  22. Bert Young
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The Catalans are very annoyed and frustrated . They are major contributors to the Spanish economy and feel that they have been ignored . Spain cannot turn its back on what has been regarded as a thorn in its side for more years than I can remember ; it should face up to the inevitable and accept the result . Of course the EU must keep its fingers out ; any sort of breakaway is a danger to them of its , so called , unity .

    Whether this post will be “moderated” is something of present concern to me . Each day I normally reply with something I regard as cogent and “obeying the rules”; when my response is left out because of some unknown reason , it is then annoying to the point of not bothering to participate in the future . Yesterday was typical .

  23. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    And of course there is England. Or more the point, as far as the Tory leadership and establishment is concerned, there isn’t. I think it may have been PM’s Questions when some MPs were wearing what looked like an ear of corn to promote British farming.

    Yet when a Welsh MP started banging on about Welsh farming this and that, the PM I think countered by something along the lines of ‘this isn’t just about Welsh farming, it’s also about….errr…. British farming’.

    She won’t or daren’t mention England, or English anything, along with many of her ilk. We, the English continue to be ignored and denied.

  24. Bob
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    ” The EU once again backs the anti democratic forces.”

    so why does Mrs May want to continue bankrolling them beyond March 2019?

  25. Chriss
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately Spain does not have a historic reputation or respect for democracy having been rules by Franco up until his death in 1975 and a democratic government was not elected until June 1977. There was also an attempted coup in 1981.

    Like the Scots, the Catalans had every right to ask for a referendum but Madrid, aided and abetted by Brussels, has made a fundamental mistake by opposing it. Imagine if Westminster had taken the steps that Madrid has done to suppress Scottish demands for a referendum ? We can be pretty sure the SNP would have won, despite the dire state of the Scottish economy.

    Catalonia has no such economic problems, indeed it would be a wealthy independent country and, thanks to Juncker and Brussels’ widespread opposition to the vote, one that might well decide it doesn’t need the EU either !

  26. McBryde
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    As I wrote Jin the last topic:

    The fascist show of force in Spain demonstrates how Madrid is committed to the European federal power.

    We have to watch out – I don’t think the ‘powers that be ‘ (merchant banks, corporations, etc??) will let us get away with democracy now.

    All along Brexit has just been an annoyance to those who steer the new European power project, and will stop at nothing to get their way.

    It’s all a pretense. Look how Carney is still in place. Look how May keeps veering off track.

    They cannot be trusted, and strong stances such as seen from Boris will have to become commonplace

  27. TomTomTom
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Seems the lesson the Spanish Government has learnt from the UK Government.

    You should never allow a referendum that you might lose.

  28. McBryde
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Correction: “As I wrote in the last topic”

  29. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The Spanish Government’s heavy handed attitude is not a surprise given their double standard approach to Gibraltar and their enclaves in Morocco and their disregard of The Treaty of Utrecht 1713 and our joint NATO membership.

    One of the few things Blair got right was our devolution, this could have kept the UK together. The problem it left was no English Parliament, which is being brushed under the political carpet as too hot to handle – another election vote winner being ignored.

  30. LiamB
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Spain is in a different place and has not got a long history of democracy- that is why Franco made arrangements to reinstall the King before he died- all in a effort to hold the country together. But if the Catalans manage to break away it won’t be the end of things either for the EU because the region could always stay with Spain for EU matters while being autonomous or independent for other local matters. I’m sure there will be other regions as well in Europe that from time to time will break away and Brussels will need to get used to dealing with such upsets.- but it’s not going to be a problem.

    Incidentally, i wonder what’s going to happen to Gibraltar vis-a-vis the EU. The people there voted 90% to remain within the EU- but I havn’t heard a word about it since?

  31. Bob Dixon
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    We need the 2 year transition so our Civil Service can catch up with the rest of us.

  32. Epikouros
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Independence is not something that should attract disapproval. Who does not want to have the right to have their beliefs put into practice and who does not feel aggrieved when they are not allowed to do so. In the modern world where clans and tribes have been moulded into nation states and in some cases large bodies like the USA and the EU many aggrieved minorities are going to be created. Even in the UK like the USA where there are deep historical connections left wing bodies are calling for separation to stop the more right wing parts of the country stopping them having free range to bring in their economic and social ideologies.

    Scotland and California are both calling for succession now so is Catalonia and to a lesser degree other minority groups are also calling for more independence. Other nations and amalgamated nations have trod that path and more will follow some harshly suppressed or at least causing major conflict. Being a minority and being dictated to by the majority is no fun and the larger the constituencies then the broader the political church becomes and so will be the greater demand for the break up into small political units. The end of nation states as we know them is on the cards but not as we envisage it. Globalisation will grow but so will the number of sovereign bodies. The EU is now an anachronism because if nation states cannot quell the growing demand for devolution, greater autonomy or outright independence then the EU is unsustainable and will in the end only fuel more demand.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I’ve heard rumours that the Prime Minister will give an important speech today about the UK exiting the EU, but I can find nothing about it on the website of the Department for Exiting the EU and nor is there anything on its twitter feed. Nor is there anything about it on the No 10 outlets. Does anybody have any reliable information about this?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Not that I would want the government to give any kind of factual “running commentary” on the Brexit process when myriads of mostly anti-Brexit journalists are available to invent their own without being too constrained by facts.

  34. Nothin Burger
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    You would think that leaders of Catalonia if that is what they are or call themselves would grow up. Take a bit more responsibility for the welfare of their people. The Referendum is unconstitutional. If push came to shove the EU , by its own laws and Treaty, I believe, would be forced to send in troops to back the Madrid government in open warfare against “Catalonia” . Personally I have little patience for a little nation within a nation throwing its weight about like the little kid we all knew at school who thought he was Big.

  35. Mark Watson
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Spain has suddenly discovered a legal conscience over Catalonia. Perhaps they will finally accept the legal status of Gibraltar?

  36. nigel seymour
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry John but Farage has been reporting this for years along with the Irish referendum. EU didn’t like that result and forced them to have another one and then sign up to the Lisbon treaty. Will it be Hungary or the Czech Rep that finally see the light and also get out?
    Farage thinks it will be Italy who will be next! Could this be anything to do with Theresa choosing Florence for big kn speech??? God forbid I wouldn’t be so cynical…

  37. ferdinand
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    We shouldn’t be surprised. The EU has always acted that way. It will intersting to see what they do if the Catalans win.

    • Oggy
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Ignore them like they ignore the wishes of the Gibraltarians to remain with the UK.

  38. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Please force a general election, John.

    If we’re going to be a socialist province of the EU we may as well have the real thing.

    Corbyn for PM !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Then at least Labour will get the blame for the UK Venezuela, rather than May’s socialist Tories.

  39. Fed Up
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The Conservative Party and Establishment had one thing to do this parliament – deliver Brexit – but what do we get from the PM – a complete and utter stitch up. I will never vote Conservative again.

    In fact, as far as I’m concerned parliament no longer has any legitimacy.

    • Bert Young
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Fed Up , I feel badly let down – like you The conservative Party has lost its way under a very weak Leader .

  40. james neill
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Mrs may’s damp squib..amounts to no deal is better than a bad deal..she would like, via cherry picking, to have our cake and eat it..but no chance of this…so better wait now until we hear what barnier has to say😢 very disappointing

  41. Prigger
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Warning: For the first twenty minutes: Absolutely a waste of time listening to Theresa May’s speech in Florence. Warning:. The UK negotiating position is to accept everything the EU wishes. So free movement of people; a guaranteed one and a quarter million EU citizens to settle permanently in the UK in the next five years requiring schools, hospitals, welfare, housing..with the right for ever more to vote in our local elections and for existing settled EU citizens despite not having British citizenship to vote for ever in our local elections…with …no guarantee whatsoever the free movement of EU citizens will be limited or curtailed after five years (2016-2021 )BUT they will be “registered” as they are now via NI numbers.
    A complete and absolute sell-out of the Referendum, We will stay in the EU but officially, for peasants’ ears, we will leave it.Of course in that number of years the refugees settled in various EU countries including terrorists will be able to come here to live

  42. Iain Gill
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    What about independence of the British people?

    Come on John you are surely not going to sit on your hands with this nonsense from the worst of the political class?

  43. Anna
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I do wish that people like Remainia would reflect that ‘old’ (those who mainly voted ‘leave’ ) does not necessarily mean ‘stupid’, ‘uneducated’, ‘ill-informed’ or ‘xenophobic’ which seems to be implied in the sneering denunciations of their choice. Many of these people might not have had the opportunity to attend university as so many younger people have, but are nevertheless intelligent, well-informed and have held down responsible positions and gained wide experience in the course of their working lives.

    He might also reflect on the ignorance of many young remainers who, when questioned on their reasons for voting remain: ‘peace’, fuss-free holidays’, ‘getting a job abroad’ and have no concept of the profoundly anti-democratic nature of the EU, its corruption, profligacy and aloof detachment from the preoccupations and struggles of the people they control. indeed, it was only after voting ‘remain’, terrified by Project Fear, that I have come to realise what a mendacious, sclerotic and self-serving organisation the EU has become.

  44. stred
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    What do you have to say about the statement that no country will pay more or receive less during the extra 2 years after 2019. In other words, Germany and other richer countries will not pay more to support the subsidised countries, who will still receive their cash. And we will continue to pay the difference, as we do today. The present budget is being expanded to include Junker’s plans for a superstate. And during the four years, we will have to allow free movement, including those new EU citizens invited by Mrs Merkel and approved of by banks and the UN.

    She waffles about the UK being a strong independent country, then caves in to the Commission and big business. This PM is a disaster and never should have been trusted by Davis.

  45. Javk snell
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Despite all the hype.. i did not detect anything new from her speech just Mrs May asking for a creative solution without saying what she really wants??

    I’m sure the EU side will not be impressed.. they wil see it as more of having your cake and eating it..and as Barnier said a few weeks ago..it will not happen!

    • Oggy
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Agreed – it was just mainly waffle without any real substance, apart from the 2 year transition – sorry extension to our membership of the EU.
      I hope the EU rejects her speech outright so there is no transition. No deal is looking favourite at the moment.

  46. Briton
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    There should be a transition period of twenty four hours for Mrs May to resign. We do not want an EU Prime Minister thank you!

  47. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Re. Catalan independence

    I thought Franco died in 1975 but perhaps that was just a rumour.

  48. Tabulazero
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    How incredibly generous of you.

    … so basically your long-term idea is to have a custom deal which we have already told you we will not give because it would be dumb for us to do so.

    In the meantime, you very kindly propose to pay as a gesture of goodwill €20bn for staying another 2 years with full access to the Single-market (which is what you would have paid anyway had you stayed) as you take the time to find exactly what Brexit means Brexit means and a better way to undercut the EU… Sounds like an incredible good deal.

    Moreover, there was no acknowledgement of the UK’s previous liabilities such as the pension liabilities for British civil servants who served the UK’s interests for 43 years and are requested to continue to do so until the UK is ready to move on.

    Do you seriously expect us to pick-up the tab for Farage’s retirement benefits ?

    Do you seriously expect us to pay for breaking the long-term leases of all the EU institutions that we have to repatriate to the continent as a result of your brilliant idea ?

    That must be British humour at its best.

    And finally, could someone pleas fact check your Prime Minister all-important foreign policy speech?

    It’s becoming embarrassing.

    There is not 600k Italian nationals living in the UK unlike what Theresa May just said. By country of birth, circa 200k according to the ONS.

    She is of by a factor of 3.0x but we know from her statistics on the number of foreign students overstaying their visa that she is not a number person to start with.

    Sometime I forget that Brexit Britain need no experts.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 23, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Who knows? She was speaking in Italy and maybe as a matter of politeness she chose to use the number cited by the Italian consulate in the UK.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38067343

      “Italians in UK
      600,000
      Estimated population according to Italian consulate”

  49. Oggy
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    The question on the ballot paper 15 months ago was ‘Leave or remain’ – maybe I missed it in the small print – but where did it say anything about extensions to our membership if we voted to leave ?
    Nigel was correct, today Mrs May put two fingers up at the 17.4 m who voted to leave.

  50. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 23, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Even while all this is going on in Spain, and Nicola Sturgeon is chipping in but extolling the virtues of the Edinburgh Agreement, idiot journalists still think she has the power to unilaterally “call” another independence referendum:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/jack-mcconnell-indyref2-should-be-parked-for-five-years-1-4567124

    “Speaking to Stephen Jardine on BBC Radio Scotland this morning, Lord McConnell was asked for his view on when Nicola Sturgeon should call another referendum.”

  51. LondonBob
    Posted September 23, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    A sensitive issue, best we keep our counsel and not comment.

    • hefner
      Posted September 25, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Very sensible comment.

  52. No More Tricks
    Posted September 23, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    TM and Hammond are like some evil James Bond characters.
    Only John Redwood commands the respect of the people to lead this country and party, the choice is tiny.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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