Commiserations to Catalonia

Today I am proud to be British and to be leaving the EU. When the UK state and government saw there was considerable pressure for Scottish independence it organised a legal referendum and let the people decide democratically. As someone who wanted Scotland to stay in I always recognised  their  right to self determination. If they had decided to go I  would  have wished them well and urged Parliament to a quick settlement.

The lack of reaction by the EU to the dreadful scenes in Catalonia shows their lack of understanding of democracy. The Spanish state is right to  say democrats need to accept the rule of law. They are wrong to deny Catalans a vote and voice when they think the constitutional settlement behind that rule of law is wrong. The irony is that polls suggest the Spanish state had  a good chance of winning a referendum for the status quo if it had  held one in good time with a good grace. Now a legal referendum is more needed, and less easy for the Spanish state to win. Democracy about the ruke of law, but it is also about responding to  the  mood of voters. Leaders of countries need to retain consent to the system for making decisions.


I thought the EU wanted to promote democracy. It has wanted to promote  regional identity and encouraged the regions against nations. It has sent regions money over the heads of the states. It is now reaping a bitter harvest. Lets get on with rebuilding our own democracy by taking back control

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  1. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The EU would not have been quiet if this had occurred in any of the V4 countries. It has been mishandled badly. How would you vote knowing police had beaten your Granny? Spain has breached article 7 of the UN charter. This will rumble on. The EU has no idea how to proceed. Hoping it will fade away through lack of exposure has already failed because of the thuggish Spanish response. Catalonia has been denied a “legal” vote for 7 years. A top advert for EU “values”.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      You claim to speak for England, this is not true. Lothian question not addressed and Cameron did not implement what he told us on the steps of Downing Street. Only a Tory party would deliver, lies. We have no say over the Scots but they have a say over us!

      You and your party fail to give us a voice or parliament of our own. Similarly my taxes pay for Scotland public services yet I did not have a voice for the referendum. After all it is two parties not one to any agreement. Shameful nonsense JR.

  2. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    “I thought the EU wanted to promote democracy. It has wanted to promote  regional identity and encouraged the regions against nations.”

    It depends doesn’t it. It didn’t do that in Ukraine, it opposed secession of the Russian-dominated regions.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Forget elsewhere how about what Cameron promised us on the steps to Downing Street. It turned out to be pure lies.

  3. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Not opposed to a second Scottish referendum when the time comes then ? Good.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      The PM said after Brexit.
      So no EU/Spanish style refusal.

      • Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        If it happens at all then it should be long enough after we have left the EU for most of the medium term effects to have worked through. Not just the short term effects, which may be a bit negative, but some years beyond that. And then only if a substantial majority of Scots want a second referendum.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      It would be nice to be thanked or even recognised for our full cooperation in the first Scottish referendum, Tabulozero.

      But no. You cannot expect to keep going until you get the result you want. And most certainly not use force if the democratic vote didn’t go your way.

      One referendum per 40 years or so is enough.

      (Remainers keep telling me that I need a second UK referendum because I didn’t understand the first. No thank you.)

      • Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        He is not British, let alone Scottish.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      It’s nothing to do with you, is it, but in case you haven’t noticed there has only just been another referendum in Scotland. When the time comes, and supposing enough Scots still want one when the time comes, then there could be yet another.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      When the time comes. “Once in a lifetime”, wasn’t it?

      • Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        Or once in a generation …

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Why does that follow? The matter was clearly agreed beforehand to be settled ‘for a generation’. If in 30 or 50 years there’s really demand for another then fine. Equally maybe in time there can be another EU referendum.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure we all wish JR a long life but with another ‘once in a Generation’ I’m not sure he’ll be still be a voting MP by then.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink


      It’s only the NATS that want a second referendum. The rest of us are sick to death of it all. We have had the referendum and the result was clear just like the EU referendum. Get over it.

  4. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    It will all end in tears.

    Any State that acts in this manner builds up even more opposition and resentment.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree Alan

  5. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    The EU Committee of the Regions will see Catalonia as progress towards the ultimate EU geography. Post Brexit, don’t be surprised if other Regions closer to home start thinking they can do a Catalonia.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink


      Not sure where you’ve been living for the last 50 years but theres more than a dozen separatist movements in operation across Europe.

  6. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The behaviour of the police sent in to prevent the vote was shocking. It comes after, according to one close observer of Spanish politics, some five years of procrastination by the Spanish state over the issue of a referendum. No one should be surprised by the reaction of the Catalans to their treatment.

    Nor should we be surprised by the lack of reaction by the EU. After all they regard it as part of their remit to replace elected governments, as occurred in Italy and Greece in the past. No doubt they would like to do the same here in the UK to frustrate Brexit, aided and abetted by their supporters here in the UK. I imagine the inhabitants of Gibraltar will be even less enamoured of Spanish claims to sovereignty over their territory.

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      The Spanish central government takes the view that as Catalonian independence undoubtedly impacts the whole of Spain, it should be decided by the whole of Spain. That’s not my view, but it’s something to be decided on the Iberian peninsula not in Brussels.

      What I don’t understand is why the Spanish government did not simply say that the referendum was illegal, recommended people against independence not to vote and said that it would not be bound by the result. This, I trust, would be the attitude of the Westminster government to a similar move by the Scots Nats. Busing in police from around Spain was like a red rag to a bull and about as popular as bringing in police from England to try to suppress an illegal referendum in Scotland.

      You are right, oldtimer. Gibraltarians will have watched the events with interest.

  7. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Quite so, the cracks in the EU are getting wider. History may thank the Leavers for their foresight.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      And how

  8. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Well said!

    I appreciate the Foreign Secretary’s mind is probably elsewhere, but the FCO’s response yesterday was shameful. It read like it had been dictated down the phone by the Spanish government.

  9. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Any comment from HMG or PM yet? Thought not…. Well done John for your comment.


  10. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I will not waste time on rebuking the (anti democrats ed)in Madrid; there will be legion.
    My concern is the UK primarily, and by association the European nations as we know them. The big issue is that when we leave the ‘EU political project’ it will become unbalanced. We, perhaps unknowingly, have been the major counterweight to German hegemony, both politically and financially, within the EU. The clerks in Brussels (foolish men allowed to hold positions above their capabilities by German connivance) know this. Upon our departure the EU will have to seek those financial resources that we no longer provide, who will replace us? Germany will be dominant in the EU. The EU clerks will go cap in hand to Germany for additional funds, and what will the Germans want for this increase in donations for their largesse?
    I look forward to thoughts..

  11. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    “I thought the EU wanted to promote democracy.”

    Where on earth did you get that idea? The EU is about as democratic as one of those countries that have (or had) “Democratic” in their name, e.g. the old East Germany: the German Democratic Republic or North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The EU wants to promote democracy only so long as the dēmos vote the right way.

  12. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I thought that the behaviour of the Police was disgraceful! They laid into, men, women, old people too. It was totally out of control!

    I pray that we never see such scenes here. I understand that the Police do not have an easy job at all, but in Catalonia, the scenes were beyond the pale!

  13. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    “They are wrong to deny Catalans a vote and voice”

    Wow John, as someone who purports to speak for England, I am shocked you say you recognise Scotland’s right to self determination but not England’s. Just like Catalonia, England still continues to be ignored constitutionally (and financially) by your party, in fact all parties, for reasons of pure self interest by 650 self serving UK MPs.

    Scotland, Wales & NI have been given numerous referendums on their future, England NEVER, not once. Never mind Catalonia, what about giving England a vote and a voice????

    A lifelong Tory voter (no more) your party makes me sick John for spouting on about lack of democracy around the world whilst constantly deliberately choosing to ignore the undemocratic way in which England is governed.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Jools, don’t the English always refer to England when the mean Britain?

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      I was going to make exactly the same point JoolsB. Well done for speaking up for England because we are being supressed by the British government. They will not recognise our country has a right to it’s own representation or even state the great name of England.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t have put it better.

  14. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Events in Catalonia point to our own tragedy. With more courage and determination from the SNP and a defter hand by Westminster government, we could have been shot of Scotland and all its probems and its disproportionate drain on the UK budget, all for only the price of a failed state on our northern border that could have been discouraged by a Trumpian wall.

  15. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Crocodile tears. It has little to do with the EU. And you pretend to know about History. Shame on you.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      At least you haven’t said that it has nothing whatever to do with the EU, which was the claim made by a supporter of the South East England Regional Assembly … I think there may have been something of a change of heart about the desirability of splitting the EU territory up into a multiplicity of regions and cities all connecting directly to Brussels, although that idea is still going:

      However even if Brussels has now got cold feet about it the genie may be out of the bottle insofar as many separatists still assume that once independent their region will be instantly and seamlessly accepted as a new EU member state.

  16. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    It is not for the EU to comment on the UK’s internal affairs, e.g. its lack of democracy (H.o.L. etc.), nor on any riots in the UK, past or future.
    Same with Spain.
    If there will be any riot or bloodshed in the Netherlands, I wouldn’t want the EU to interfere.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      The EU have commented.
      They back Madrid.

      • Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2: Their comment reads that this is indeed an internal Spanish affair – and asks now for calm and dialogue. The link to the EU statement is provided by Denis Cooper

        • Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

          Were the EU supportive of the referendum?
          Did the EU support the views of the Madrid Govt?
          Did the EU condemned the violence by the Spanish Govt forces on its own people who wanted to vote?

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      The Dutch roll over every time. No chance of bloodshed. The last time the Dutch govt ignored its public vote and did what it was told by the EU. Spineless govt, do not fret over bloodshed.

      • Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        @Hope: a hopeless reading of history: when 1 in 5 Dutch indeed voted (as advice) against the deal with Ukraine, the Neth. govt. did not follow this advice but told the EU what to do, which consequently has happened. (Agreement cannot lead in itself to EU membership, no EU obligation to provide military or security assistance)

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      You were obviously watching “Dutch” propaganda news, edited by the EU! The Police were out of control, not the public. Why were they so heavy handed?

      • Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: in the Netherlands we have the benefit of being able to watch quite a variety of foreign channels.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      What if the NL government decided it needed to run a deficit above EU approved levels, would you like the EU to intervene and prohibit that like happened in Belgium not so long ago?

      • Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        @CvM: This has actually happened in the wake of the financial crisis, and the Dutch government gradually brought down the deficit to the current surplus. (Dijsselbloem claimed that this was not because of “Brussels”. Whether to beleive that is another matter)

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Peter vL

      Er wrong try reading treaty article 7

      • Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: Difficult to condemn a nation which kept to its nationally and democratically approved constitution. Nobody just excused the police violence, but that is no article 7 matter.

        • Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink


          No its not and the EU has never bothered about that before article 7 specifically says a state using force against its own people will be expelled. So do it , uphold your own treaties or fold as the EU then isn’t worth the paper its treaties are written on

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Scraping the bottom of the barrel in your first paragraph PVL, although on the general principle that the EU should keep its nose out I have more sympathy with you than our host or most of my countrymen,

      The EU should also have kept its nose out instead of fostering regional programmes (some cross-border) intended to undermine the cohesion of existing nation states and weaken resistance to the transfer of powers from the nations to the EU.

      If the EU isn’t embarrassed it should be. It has helped bring about what is happening in Catalonia.

      • Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        @James Matthews: James, you connect “Catalonia” to regional EU policy, which many English perceive as against them (e.g. no mention of “England” on any regional map). But that is really a typical English allergy, I’ve never yet come across any such negativity in the Netherlands, which also comprises several EU regions (at the highest level: 4 NUTS 1 regions). Does Catalonia receive a lot of EU funding? Being so wealthy I don’t think that to be likely. Independent regions, which would manage to become EU members again, would make the European Council more crowded, not really a Dutch interest.

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Not for the EU to comment on brutal police action in Spain, but not nearly so reticent about Poland’s internal affairs. I wonder why that might be.

    • Posted October 4, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      You should want the EU to interfere. If the Governor of a US State sent in the National Guard to suppress democracy, in a similar manner, then it would be perfectly proper for the President of the USA to express a view.

      You can’t have it both ways. Either the EU is a collection of freely trading independent states or it’s on its way to becoming a single country. If the former then there is no need for a common currency, no need for a EU Parliament, no need for the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties, and no need for an EU President.

      If the latter it needs to start behaving as one.

  17. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    The silence from Brussels is disgraceful. They know like Brexit, if the Catalans were to secede, the Basques would follow and who knows after that so democracy must be squashed even with rubber bullets against old age pensioners, for the greater cause.

    Brussels and Madrid have both seriously underestimated the fierce independence of the Catalans so this will not go away.

    From now on in there will only be one winner albeit it will be spun as a compromise. Like the EC with Cameron if only Madrid had listened but like our civil service, Heseltine, Major, Cameron etc they view their role as saving us from ourselves, always knowing better. Like wise Merkel has been bitten in Germany and there more elections to come where anti EU protest votes are expected.

    Now the Remainers want us to stay in a club that allows one of its members to beat up its citizens merely trying to exercise their democratic rights.

  18. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    You say the lack of reaction by the EU shows their lack of understanding of democracy.. I would like to remind you that Ireland in 1918 voted overwhelmingly for independence and see what we got- you guys, all of you, just make it up as you go along.

    The Catalan vote was only taken yesterday so why don’t you at least wait for a few days to see the fall out from all of this and then to look at the reactions from world leaders..a lack of understanding of democracy..Jeez

  19. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Spain has been too heavy handed in denying these people a say – IMVHO, their response makes them unfit to govern…. but how far up the chain, does that mismatch against democratic desires, go?
    How much responsibility rests with the EU elite – I don’t hear any cries of foul from them, or threats to punish Spain for going too far?
    The “People’s Party” is supposed to be centre or right of centre – they act like the bully boys of the far left.
    Doesn’t this demonstrate all too well, another facet of the EU, the couldn’t care less attitude, when rights of individuals are destroyed!

    I hope nobody in Europe is expecting a happy future under the unaccountable EU elite.

  20. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    “They ( The Sovereign Nation of Spain ) are wrong to deny Catalans a vote and voice when they think the constitutional settlement behind that rule of law is wrong. ”
    JR I believe you are wrong on all counts. The Spaniards in that area of Spain did have a vote, do have a vote and have always had a vote. They still have a vote. Just because the British Government made a stupid mistake in judging that that part of the United Kingdom (ALL, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England …ALL which is MY LAND ) known as Scotland as having a right to separate off from the United Kingdom does not set a sensible or correct template for adjudging other nations. The Spanish government has shown tremendous restraint. One hopes the perpetrators will be brought to justice and of course jailed for quite some time.

  21. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Freedom for Cornwall! Freedom for Berkshire! Independence for Wokingham! Where does it stop?

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Independence for Portmerrion !

      • Posted October 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        I am not a number. I am a free man.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      I wish Buckingham was independent for a few years. It would accelerate debate in the House .

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Mike Wilson

      As most of those places were in fact independent states ( all of them bigger than the 2 most successful states on Earth Hong Kong and Singapore) at one time, if thats what the people want why not?

      Localism is the future

  22. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The supreme law of Spain is in form of a codified constitution which was approved by a national referendum, and as I understand the Spanish constitutional court has ruled that this Catalonian independence referendum, and maybe any such referendum claiming official status and making use of public resources, is unconstitutional.

    So unless it was prepared to collude in the illegality of the referendum the Spanish government had no choice but to try to prevent it taking place. Whether some of the actions of the government’s agents have also been illegal is another matter.

    Presumably if the Spanish government had seen fit it could have sought an amendment to the Spanish constitution to permit an independence referendum in Catalonia, but even if the will had been there the legislative process would have been complicated and would have necessarily involved a final referendum across the whole of Spain to approve the amendment, Sections 167 and 168 here:

    In contrast in the UK it was agreed that the devolved Scottish authorities would be empowered to hold an official, legal, independence referendum by the simpler means of an order under Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998:

    which was only approved by both houses of the UK Parliament as well as by the Scottish Parliament, not by a UK-wide referendum, and so UK citizens resident outside Scotland had no direct say on whether that referendum should be permitted.

  23. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I too am proud to be British and to be leaving the EU. Even if I cannot actually live in the UK due to their absurdly high and complex tax rates.

    Let us hope the UK can leave the EU lower tax rates avoid Corbyn’s Venezuela. This all looks rather optimistic under Theresa but I am an optimist.

    As you say – “The lack of reaction by the EU to the dreadful scenes in Catalonia shows their lack of understanding of democracy.”

    Well perhaps they understand it but are profoundly against democracy as it would be the end of the EU bureaucrats, all their essentially parasitic jobs and their bloated pensions or perhaps rather worse.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Not that proud to be British then!

      • Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        I will use and invest my money far better than May, Hammond and the government will almost anything is better than HS2, and greencrap subsidies. It is surely therefore my moral duty to leave the UK thus reducing my tax bill and use the money to create more jobs and indeed more homes for people in the UK.

  24. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    It is all very well to knock Spain.

    However, I remember the gerrymandering and corrupt politics in the North of Ireland.

    So I prefer not to wear rose tinted spectacles.

  25. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Yes i agree things are bad in spain but that trouble has been brewing there for a long time and especially since the spanish civil war and earlier, so I don’t know how you can blame it on the EU for not being democratic enough. To make sweeping statements like this is a type of fake news and doesn’t help in any way.

    The EU covers a huge geographical area so i ecpect that from time to time there will be local political troubles to contend spain..tomorrow maybe italy..thereafter the waloons in belgium..who knows? So it’s nonsense to shoot first and bame it all on EU democracy

  26. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The rest of the UK not only supported a Scottish referendum but would have honoured the result had it gone the other way.

  27. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    P.S. UK – comment from MP Redwood but not from Theresa May.
    EU: comments from MEPs but not from Donald Tusk

  28. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Spain has only been a democracy since 1975, forty two years is not long to really understand what democracy is. It has been an act of unbelievable ineptitude on the part of the Spanish government that has in effect increased the vote for Catalan independence. It has resurrected all the old memories of the police force as an oppressive and at times murdering arm of Franco’s rule. When the government should have walked on glass they put the boot in. Catalan was the last redoubt of Republican democracy against the fascist Franco, not readily forgotten by the Catalans. I hope someone in the Madrid government begins to think through this situation and acts before they give birth to a Catalan version of ETA.

    Except in it’s possible desire for independence Catalan is not like Scotland, the poor relation of Madrid. While Scotland is a dependent, Catalan supplies 20% of Spain’s national income. In their case the Madrid government is the dependent.

    The EU has been disgraceful in it’s silence over this sad affair with the exception of Guy Verhofstadt who has spoken out, somewhat surprising when one considers his attitude to the UK. What message does this disgraceful affair send to the citizens of Gibraltar. Even the UK remoaners in hock to the EU’s pension scheme might with intellectual honesty begin to have second thoughts.

  29. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting that Brussels should be so quiet on the tragedy in Catalonia. They alone have done more than anyone to promote the regions by undermining national governments.
    Two Jags Prescott was their useful idiot in the UK, trying to break us up into Brussels approved areas but we are not that stupid. I see the EU is again interfering in sovereign countries by threatening to keep N.I in the CU and SM. personally I would like Ireland to be united and end the massive subsidy we provide in money and jobs. Maybe Brussels wouldn’t be so keen if they became net recipients of EU funds.
    We can always hope.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      That idiot may have gone but don’t think for one moment that this Conservative Government is not also full of idiots trying to finish what Labour started with their city deals and localism. Devolution within England not to it, is just balkanisation by another name. Just tune in to the Conservative party conference if you need further proof. All of them refer to the UK as the nations and the regions, just like the anti-English Labour party before them. No prizes for guessing which part of the UK they mean by the regions.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Now if the first Irish referendum had been accepted!

  30. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Don’t know why you think the EU ‘promote’ Democracy. Extinguish Democracy yes, but not ‘promote’.

  31. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    “When the UK state and government saw there was considerable pressure for Scottish independence it organised a legal referendum and let the people decide democratically” WRONG The UK is in every real respect ONE nation in our hearts and minds. I as a legal subject of the UK did not get a vote in the Scottish Referendum. It is just one part of the nation my forefathers went to war about to protect. It is not for a set of people in one part of it to choose to be something daft. Everyone in the UK should vote if to make them daft and also to make it a backward garden allotment of the EU . In the next “Scottish” referendum we all of the UK should demand to vote on the future of all our nation not just jumped up Krankies. That, and not what you state JR, is democracy.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      As mentioned yesterday it would be very interesting to see how the government of an independent Scotland led by Nicola Sturgeon would react to the Shetlands unilaterally deciding to use public resources to hold an independence referendum.

  32. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    So when did the English as a proud and Historic Nation have a vote on these Regions that are rammed down our throats day in day out on the Weather and News programs or any other program the Stasi can work them into.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Ssssh don’t mention England. It brings them out in hives.

  33. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Like David Davis’s Department for Pretending to Exit the European Union the European Commission has a twitter account; but unlike his ministry the Commission does make frequent use of its account both to promote its views and policies and to counter what it regards as errors and falsehoods that are being circulated in the media.

    There has just been a burst of tweets about Catalonia:

    and a fuller statement:

    “Under the Spanish Constitution, yesterday’s vote in Catalonia was not legal.

    For the European Commission, as President Juncker has reiterated repeatedly, this is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of Spain.

    We also reiterate the legal position held by this Commission as well as by its predecessors.

    If a referendum were to be organised in line with the Spanish Constitution it would mean that the territory leaving would find itself outside of the European Union.

    Beyond the purely legal aspects of this matter, the Commission believes that these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation.

    We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics. We trust the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process in full respect of the Spanish Constitution and of the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined therein.”

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Not sure this is correct Dennis. If Spain was an independent nation maybe. If Spain is a region or to become a region of the EU superstate then what constitution exists? This is specious by Junker because he wants to control Spain and other countries without being directly linked. How about Greece and Italy when the EU organized coups to get rid of their govt.s because they would not do what they were told?

      No Dennis, technically possibly correct, actually not at all.

      • Posted October 3, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        I think it is correct as things stand now. Like the UK Spain is still a sovereign member state of the international organisation known as the European Union, and the legitimacy of this referendum still stands to be assessed in the context of the national constitution of that sovereign Spain. The Spanish constitutional court has done that and declared that the referendum is unconstitutional, and in this instance the EU is not trying to impose its own view above that of the national authorities.

  34. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Union with Scotland Act 1706. Isn’t that what the Government’s foundation on the so-called RIGHT of the present population of Scotland, continually fluctuating, to have a vote on Independence? What is this cloud-cuckoo-land logic? Who in 1706 had a vote here in England or Scotland? It only makes sense if you say it dressed up like a gowned clown and speak from the front of Parliament with so much pomp and ceremony you could do yourself and internal injury if you broke out laughing. How absurd! There is no right. What an absolutely weird and bizarre view of democracy in that it should be based on a decision made when there was no democracy of any kind!!!. A FULL TWENTY ONE YEARS….. BEFORE……. THE LAST WITCH JANET HORNE WAS BURNED IN SCOTLAND

  35. Posted October 2, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Here, here.

  36. Posted October 2, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Hey nuncle – what about kashmir’s right to self determination or is that trumped by trade deals with India?

  37. Posted October 2, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    National identity is clearly deep rooted in many of us .

    The 500 year old partnership between Aragon and Castile is now under threat .

    The 400 year old Act of Union between England and Scotland was under threat but this has been defeated for now .

    The EU is now trying to impose a new loyalty on 27 nation states , some of whom have their own internal dissenting problems , Spain , while others like Hungary wish to pursue their own policies .

    Even the EU must or should recognise that they will be storing up trouble .

    Perhaps that is why they are so keen to establish a European Army in order to suppress future ‘problems ‘as the Spanish [Castilian ] authorities have done in Catalonia [Aragon ] .

  38. Posted October 2, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    “I thought the EU wanted to promote democracy. ”

    Listening to Nathalie L’Oiseau last night was like hearing President Hollande all over again. If we don’t get out quick, I fear we could be on the receiving end of just such treatment as we have seen in Spain, but at the hands of Macron’s single European army.

    The continental cast of mind is very different from ours when it comes to coercion by the state, or rather by the superstate. Gibraltar knows why it is best to stick with us, in or out.

  39. Posted October 2, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    John – I listened this morning to the BBC radio and TV services and not once was there any mention of the brutality of the Spanish police in preventing the Catalan voting. Scandalous of the BBC but no doubt they want to stay on board with the EU, the rulers of which also seem incapable to saying or doing anything constructive over this affair.
    On the other hand, the BBC made much today of their all-expenses paid dispatch of a news person to report on the Las Vegas shooting outbreak, when they already have people in the USA. Still, not their money, I suppose…

  40. Posted October 2, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Much happening today. Las Vegas being attacked by a mad person with a gun , Tory conference in Manchester ( Far better to hold n Manchester than Birmingham ; confrontation is required) I feel that the speeches by the first few were inspiring , however it may not be in the Conservatives best interest to harp too much about the past.
    Phil Hammond titres on the brink of talking about totalitarianism ..everything private.. NO .. there must always be a balance . A good economy is indeed the bedrock of a successful nation , however he talks about an ideology which is bad . NO there must be an ideology , which the North Eastern Mayor talked about and it encompasses a will to succeed with fairness.
    There is my Homage to Catalonia.

  41. Posted October 2, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    A last paragraph of painful wisdom from JR. Nonetheless I can’t help wondering about the consequences. What if a region votes for independence but, some time later, wishes to change its mind? How would that work? Would England have Scotland back, or Spain Catalonia? And at what price?

    Nor is that all. A respect for democracy and self-determination – in other words a helpful response to the mood of the moment – seems the high road to ever-smaller units. One is reminded of traditional French inheritance rules which lead to the endless division of family estates into microscopic and unviable holdings, and effectively force the depopulation of rural France.

    Conventionally, statesmen seek to build. Is there not something wrong somewhere when high democratic principle leads to disintegration?

  42. Posted October 2, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    For the first time ever, I await Peter Van Leeuwen’s comments with interest.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      @James Matthews: I found some other comment (e.g. Denis Cooper’s) far more interesting than mine.

  43. Posted October 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Well said Mr. Redwood!

    When Catalonia declares independence, will you be pressurising the government to recognise Catalonia as independent state and open diplomatic relations with them?

  44. Posted October 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Very disturbing scenes from Catalonia. It had the appearance of the commencement of civil war. Madrid really needs to make a deal rather than impose law under duress.
    I expect the EU will be very concerned about the expression of democracy; it’s not their method.
    And these people want to take control of Gibraltar – Never!

  45. Posted October 2, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Catalonians and the Kurds lay down their safety and in some instances their lives to achieve what millions in the UK simply sign away with a cross on a ballot paper. Shameful but the result of 30 years of pro-EU propaganda, slander politics (race card) and indoctrination

    Our sovereignty and independence can never be traded like a box of apples

  46. Posted October 2, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Can you imagine what the carnage would have been like if the eu had its own army, we want out now so stop pussyfooting around the issue Mr Redwood and give us what we voted for or do the Tories have a hidden agenda to get toppled so liebour /lib???/snp get in and the Brexit can is kicked into the long grass, because if it is your playing with fire

  47. Posted October 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon. And good article,

    Indeed the rule of law must be obeyed by both government and the people, because if not, all we have left is anarchy and possible civil war.

    Both Spanish and regional governments are at fault here. The Spanish government, because at first failed to recognise the need for such a referendum and, then to compound that initial error, decided to use heavy handed tactics instead of just letting the referendum go a head and just ignore it. What could Catalonia do if the entire international community decided to ignore them ? Spain would have been in its right under the constitution to act in almost any way it pleased.

    Now we have a situation that far, far worse than it needed to be. We have moderate Catalans who probably would view the actions of the Spanish government with horror and are now probably considering supporting the separatists. What a Recruitment Sargent Madrid has been to the separatists.

    The EU will duck this and will not be blamed for its involvement, like so much else (eg flooding in England and the Ukraine).

    The Catalan local government could have held a referendum on a referendum. It could have asked the people of Catalonia if they wanted such. If they returned a yes, then the Spanish government would have been compelled to hold one. If the Spanish government denied even that, which I doubt would be legally possible, they would have lost all support in Spain.

    Once again we see politicians taking the people for granted and playing with both their lives and future. A bad thing has happened and, I do sincerely hope that unlike similar matters in the past, the Spanish government has not created a monster in the form of terrorism.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      I doubt that the constitutional court would have changed its view on the illegality of a Catalonian independence referendum just because the Catalan authorities had already held a potentially illegal referendum to demand an independence referendum. What was needed was a referendum across the whole of Spain to approve a constitutional amendment which would permit a Catalonian independence referendum, that would have made the difference.

  48. Posted October 2, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    The Spanish government made a catastrophic decision when it decided to oppose a referendum on Catalan independence. Had they allowed one, it might well have been decided in favour of the status quo, especially if the Brussels had made it clear that EU membership for Catalonia would involve a long drawn out application process.

    Instead they have driven thousands of Catalans towards independence and the Government of Spain looking undemocratic and cruel in equal measure. Contrast this with the behaviour of David Cameron and Westminster. By backing Spain and failing to condemn the violence we have all seen on own television screens in our own homes the EU has done itself no favours.

    It’s hard to see where Catalonia and Spain go from here. The Catalan Government is not going to back down as they now have a large element of world sympathy on their side..

  49. Posted October 2, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s the Spanish govts prerogative to regard the referendum as non-binding if they wish, but to launch violent attacks at polling stations is the behaviour of fascists.

    I’m shocked that Theresa May has not condemned the Spanish govts actions, her silence is tantamount to tacit approval.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I would go along with that Bob.

      The actions of the Spanish security forces was not that expected of them in a modern European society… Certainly the Spanish Government should also be criticised for their over the top reaction.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      It’s not just non-binding, it’s illegal.

      • Posted October 3, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper

        “it’s illegal.”

        so is parking on a double yellow line.

        • Posted October 3, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          It’s going a bit beyond that minor infraction!

          • Posted October 3, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper

            “It’s going a bit beyond that minor infraction!”

            how does using a ballot box to express an opinion justify being beaten to a pulp by a masked thug in full body armour?

          • Posted October 4, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            Of course not, but you are missing the point that the offence has been committed by those who used public resources to organise the referendum. In our law:


            “Misconduct in public office is an offence at common law triable only on indictment. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It is an offence confined to those who are public office holders and is committed when the office holder acts (or fails to act) in a way that constitutes a breach of the duties of that office.”

            Parking on a double yellow line does not carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

          • Posted October 4, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

            The Catalonians were voting as private individuals not as holders of public office. There is no excuse for the brutal violence unleashed upon them by the Spanish govt.

            This is the kind of behaviour you might expect from a totalitarian fascist regime. Where is the condemnation from the EU, the self proclaimed defender of human rights?

          • Posted October 6, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            The whole referendum was organised using public resources, a blatantly unlawful use of public resources according to teh Spanish constitutional court. That is where the illegality comes in, rather than in individuals then making use of the opportunity to express their view. I recall standing by a ballot box in Broad Street in Reading inviting people to vote in an unofficial referendum on whether we should have an official referendum on the EU constitution, but that was organised and paid for privately and did not purport to have any official status. You seem indifferent to the rule of law and I suggest that is more likely to usher in a totalitarian regime.

    • Posted October 3, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Funny how all these people keep condemning President Trump for what he says or doesn’t say, or for how he arranges his immigration policy, but can’t say anything about a European country bludgeoning its own unarmed people.

  50. Posted October 2, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Spain’s heavy handedness yesterday just confirms they have NO interest in the democratic process or any belief in the right of self determination. This also re-affirms they don’t give a ‘hoot’ about what the Gibraltarians want.

    The EU’s silence on yesterday’s disgraceful affairs said much about EU democracy.

    We now wait until Wednesday when Catalonia will confirm it’s unilateral declaration of Independence. I wish them well.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      You have been watching the BBC.

  51. Posted October 2, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The manner in which the referendum was both called and held, as well as the violent reaction of the Spanish Government is illustrative of the very different history of Spain compared with the UK. This applies to other EU countries as well where the expression of democratic nationhood has a far more compelling aspect because of the last century’s events. In a more mature democracy it is relatively easier to cope with regional/national demands for greater autonomy or even independence whether this be in Scotland or the UK as a whole, as evidenced in the EU referendum and its aftermath. In Spain this is not so easy as the memory of the Franco years lingers and disunity is genuinely so feared. The conditioning of many European countries towards politics today, whether national or EU-wide, is fundamentally different to that in the UK and it is mostly because of this that Brexit is happening and why it is considered so unthinkable and threatening in most other countries.

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Tend to agree, Richard. Spanish history and temperament is surely a big factor. We only have to look at Spain’s former territories in the southern hemisphere to see the profound cultural differences. However, mainstream trends can always be over-ridden by individuals – but many who did so in the past were killed off. Same in France, with the Huguenots. All good reason not to be all mixed up in one big super-state. As for the UK, long may it survive as such.

  52. Posted October 2, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic – politicians, including Theresa May, and others, have now managed to create a lot of unnecessary confusion about the idea of a “transition” or “implementation” period after we have left the EU.

    As remarked before the six founding members of the EEC allowed themselves twelve years to fully establish their Common Market, in several stages, and that was to be twelve years AFTER the 1957 Treaty of Rome had come into force making them EEC member states, not BEFORE that could happen.

    The opposite case would be that the UK left the EU on March 29th 2019 – as both the UK government and the European Council have said will happen – but even though the EU treaties as a whole would no longer apply to the UK the legal substance of some elements would continue to operate for specified periods by virtue of transitional provisions in the new treaty or treaties which had come into force upon withdrawal.

    So for example it could be that although the UK had left the EU it would be treated as if it was still a part of the EU Customs Union for a period of two years, or however long was deemed necessary to get all new practical customs arrangements in place.

    On the other hand resolving another problem might not need two years, and for that other problem a shorter period could be specified.

    This is only a matter of both sides agreeing what they wish to happen and constructing the correct language in the withdrawal treaties; the word “notwithstanding” may well prove useful in that context.

  53. Posted October 2, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Agreed John.

    I was dismayed by those scenes on TV. Clearly the Madrid government is not aware of the swing in public opinion that happened in the Island of Ireland after the Easter Uprising and the British handling of it. It seems to be going down a similar route.

  54. Posted October 2, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    The best thing for spain would be if they abolished the monarchy and set up a loose federation of republical states for those that want to remain within the EU and a brexit for those that want to leave

    • Posted October 2, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Larry..yes i agree the Catalan people are an enlightened proactive lot who have little appreciation of royalty and all of the trappings that come with it. They have republical sentiments by history and nature and want to govern themselves..and it’s hard to blame them

  55. Posted October 2, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Here we go again- taking back control- that old chestnut- there is no control as we see from Spain- no control on the peoples side and no control from the governments side- it’s all nonsense- and if anyone thinks that the same violence couldn’t break out on the streets of Britain at any time and that we’re all so perfect? well I would ask them to think twice

  56. Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    The scenes from Catalonia were shocking and a disgrace . The Spanish Government should simply have allowed the referendum there to go ahead without interference and then ignored the result ; there was no need for the police violence and intervention .

  57. Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    You will never get the wish expressed in your final sentence until you get rid of Mrs May – out of her PMship and out of government altogether.

  58. Posted October 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    You have referred to broken constitutional arrangements but no mention yet of the position of England. A nation with no parliament of its own. You speak with forked tongue on this one.

  59. Posted October 2, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, I read that ex-minister David Jones confirms that the government is making plans for “no deal” with the EU and should publish them. That doesn’t seem such a good idea when the EU is behaving like an enemy and would no doubt seek to frustrate our plans.

  60. Posted October 2, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    The regions of Catalunya created a Commonwealth in 1914, they got their autonomy in 1931. All that was suppressed under Franco. When the new Spanish constitution was adopted in 1978, it gave back a large autonomy to Catalunya. This was very much contested by the Partido Popular (right-wing) in 2006, and in 2010 the central government desestablished some aspects of the autonomy previously obtained in 1978. Therefore the continuing tension and strengthened calls for autonomy.

    So, where is the meddling of the EU in all that? Maybe only in the heads of some British people, who feel confident enough to talk about anything and everything specially when they do not have the beginning of a clue on the topics.

  61. Posted October 2, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    “Lets get on with rebuilding our own democracy by taking back control”

    Agreed, but is it going to happen?

    Are we going take back complete control of our laws, immigration policy, money and assets?

    Whilst Mrs. May correctly ensured that the Conservatives had a majority on all select committees after the recent GE so that Parliamentary business could run she continues to make the mistake of appointing twice as many EU supporters to her cabinet as EU leavers.

    This is causing anti Brexit cabinet decisions and thus hampering negotiations with the EU. This will result in the EU hardening their stance and will inevitably lead to the EU offering a terrible deal if one at all.

    Since Parliament will be given “a meaningful vote” at the end of the negotiations is Mrs. May hoping that the eventual deal will look so bad that Parliament votes to go back into the EU ?

  62. Posted October 2, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Catalonia have the euro and want to be ruled by the EU from Brussels . They just want to cut out the middle man . The francoist Spanish Gov . Scotland wanted the same to cut out Westminster . However rule by Brussels and locked in the euro is NOT repeat NOT Independence . The Balkanisation of the large countries suits the EU agenda very well .
    The disappearance of the Nation State is their declared aim . ONLY a full Brexit is Independence . The Scots and Cats are fooling themselves very childishly IMO .

  63. Posted October 2, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    No condemnation from the UK government. Why not? They would soon be on the case if it was Russia or anyone else they didn’t like.

  64. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    “I thought the EU wanted to promote democracy”
    No offense, John, but you really thought that?
    It’s one of the most undemocratic organisations on the planet and their reaction to Catalonia and their attitude toward Brexit just confirms that to me…

  65. Posted October 2, 2017 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Modern Spain was set up by Franco who reintroduced a king and a constitution shortly before he was a total mismatch to try to keep Francos stamp on things to last for even after he departed this world. It was built on a false premise that Spain was a national entity. We are only seeing the start of failure of this strategy today. Tip of the iceberg.

    Same can be said for Scotland and Ireland and many other smaller nations throughout europe

  66. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    “I thought the EU wanted to promote democracy.” That was a good one!

  67. Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    So, 21,000 attend a Country Music concert in a No Gun Zone and a guy with 17 guns tries to kill people so the answer is 21,000 if they get back home alive should say “Get thee behind me Satan!” and hand in to a police station even their guns at home which they were not allowed to take to the Concert. Yeah sure.

  68. Posted October 3, 2017 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    The Tory Party Conference is very exciting.

  69. Posted October 3, 2017 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Wherever you pro Catalonia Independence people live in the UK, what would you say to all of the UK minus the 20 square miles stretch which includes your home being declared independent from you? Well we’ll vote on it as you appreciate will be an illegal ballot of course according to UK law but anyway, best wishes for your future economic development. Try Oxfam.

  70. Posted October 3, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    As a Catalan living in Wokingham, I am glad to read this article, particularly given the disappointing response from the Foreign Office, and the lack of much needed support from the EU and from other member states.

  71. Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Why hasn’t the BBC asked Catalonian politicians
    1. What currency will you use?
    2. When will you apply for EU membership and how long will it take?
    3. Who will trade with you and how?

  • 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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