The tragedy of Spain

The Spanish government has decided to double up its strong arm approach to the Catalan independence movement. The first time it used force, trying to close down the unofficial referendum, it shocked the democratic world and made its position worse.

Once again the Spanish government has decided to take tough unilateral action. This time they plan to close down the Catalan government. What if the Catalan government refuses to be closed? What if it meets in exile? What if some of its employees decline to do the bidding of the Spanish government? Will there now be a struggle to get control of the governing machine in Catalonia? Will this make martyrs?

The Catalan leadership has been careful to let the Spanish state make the tough moves first.Presumably it thinks that  will lead to more local and international support for its cause. The Catalans have consistently sought dialogue and requested legal ways of assessing and responding to Catalan opinion.

It is true the Catalan leaders are acting outside the constitutional law. It is also the case that a democratic state has to keep most of the people most of the time in support of the constitutional franework. If a state loses the consent of a large number of people  to its rights to pass and enforce laws, it will not be able to govern democratically but will need  to resort to using force if it wishes to impose the law without dislogue or compromise.

 

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101 Comments

  1. Stred
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    The answer is a proper referendum with no threats from police or government. Same for Ukraine, then have local government in a nominal state.

    • Hope
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      May is aware that the EU wants an EU of regions as it was the intention. So I am unsure why she denounces Catalan in the manner she does when we voted no to mayors and divide England into regions by incremental deceit. Devolvement helped achieve the first raft of regionalisation in the U.K., the anomaly being England. We have always wanted the same right s as Wales, Scotland and N.Irleland, not more just the same. Cameron lied on the steps of Downtown no Street to say your party was the only party to give us EVEL, a bit like his right to recall. Contrary to the wishes of the public who voted no to mayors, your govt. continues to introduce Mayors which are coterminous with MEP regional areas.

      So when do we in England get our own parliament, our say on an equal footing to other nations in the U.K.? When do we get EVEL that your party promised? When do we get a clean Brexit without extension, no ECJ interference whatsoever for any citizens living in our free independent country, no money for leaving, our laws and our courts and no freedom of movement disguised as a registration scheme? Why is Davis or May even entertaining such talk when we voted leave? Remainers try to make specious distinctions what we voted for etc. All untrue. They lost the vote by democratic will now they should shut up and deliver what we voted for.

      • Hope
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        You say acting outside the law, but is that not how the US was formed? We stand together or hang together was the words of its founders. Their actions were treason.

        We have politicians acting in a similar treasonous way over the EU while still accepting the Queen’s shilling, yet no action against them? Moreover why did Junker etc accept talks with Welsh and Scottish politicians over the EU to undermine the Briths govt talks with the EU over Brexit? It certainly interfered in domestic issues that it had no business to do and the Welsh and Scotts politicians had no right to interfere. Why is May,once again, so hypocritical and still supporting the EU in everything it does? Still no proper answer why she let the EU edit/write her Florence speech. Totally inappropriate.

        • The Prangwizard
          Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. We are being deceived. And Mr Redwod, in spite of his assertions has no intention of campaigning for true democratic justice for England and the English. He will need to abandon his Unionism and while a Tory he will never do that. He is like the EU leadership, they will not abandon it until forced. We waste our time hoping for his support for a true English parliament.

          Reply I have never supported different English MPs in a separate Parliament as you well know. I want English votes for English issues in Parliament and have some of what I want

          • JoolsB
            Posted October 29, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            It’s not only because they are unionists that they resist an English Parliament. An EP would also mean a huge cull in their numbers as why would we need anywhere near 650 UK MPs? Democracy for England comes a very poor second behind the Westminster gravy train.

          • Hope
            Posted October 29, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

            JR, you did not get EVEL as Cameron promised us. Scott MPs still have a say over our lives in England while you have no say over devolved issues in a Scotland! Glad you think it is okay.

        • Roy Grainger
          Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          Not only the USA formed that way but Ireland too – but neither supporting Catalonian independence.

      • Yossarion
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Notice how Corbyn had a Labour East poster behind this week. EUSSR Regions still being used to divide and rule.

      • JoolsB
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Well said Hope. May and Davis have promised even more powers to Scotland, Wales & NI whilst still continuing to deliberately ignore the constitutional deficit which is England. And they have the brass neck to lecture other countries about lack of democracy.

      • Doug Powell
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Quite right!
        The remainers LOST the vote, but what do we get?
        Fifth Columnists/Quislings/Benedict Arnolds all bending over backwards to give the Remoaners a SECOND chance to scupper Brexit!
        Those that WON the vote should be the only ones authorised to oversee Brexit!

        Have pitchfork, will travel!

      • ialbion
        Posted October 30, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        No one gives a dam in Westminster about England under both Parties especially since it was the English who backed Brexit after we get Brexit and we will, an English Parliament is a must I also have a pitchfork

  2. am
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    The chief fault was never to allow a legal referendum. This looked like cowardice and a dictatorial regime despite their current protestations of democracy, rule of flaw, etc. Spain is just a dictatorial regime not willing to part with the Catalonian finances – ever – no matter how much the Catalonians wish to leave. If the referendum had been granted Spain would surely have won it anyway but such is their dictatorial nature they would not allow it. Now, though, they can hide behind the fact that the referendum was illegal. Northern Italy next?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 29, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      As I understand a legal independence referendum in Catalonia or any other region of Spain would have to be preceded by a referendum held across the whole of Spain to approve an amendment to the codified Spanish constitution. It is not like the UK Parliament alone being able to approve a Section 30 order to permit an independence referendum in Scotland without having to ask the rest of us across the UK whether we agreed to the Scots being allowed to have that referendum.

  3. eeyore
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Secession is more than parading the streets shouting slogans. Who will Catalans send taxes to? Who will pay their benefits and pensions? My guess is that it will still be Spain. If you want to know who’s in charge, follow the money.

    When Catalans go on tax strike or refuse to accept their pensions – personal decisions to transfer loyalty, full of ominous consequence to millions of individuals – we’ll know they mean business.

    Unlike Italy and Germany, but like England, Spain has been a united country a long, long time. Would HMG, Parliament and public tamely acquiesce in the secession of a part of England? No, I thought not.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Spain hasn’t been a democracy for very long though, let’s see if it remains one b

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    As you say:- ‘If a state loses the consent of a large number of people to its rights to pass and enforce laws, it will not be able to govern democratically but will need to resort to using force if it wishes to impose the law without dialogue or compromise.’

    I fear it will be a disaster in the short term.

    Yesterday I drove from Sevenoaks to Newbury (in the middle of the day not rush hour). The journey (90 miles and all motorway) yet it took just over four hours entirely due to weight of traffic and insufficient road capacity. An average speed of about 20 mph. How long will it take when the UK population passes 70m people in 2029 as the ONS predict?

    The government seem to want this population increase. So when are they going to allow the building of the roads, airports, schools, houses and the all the infrastructure needed? Instead to pissing so much of out taxes down the drain on lunacies and paper pushers.
    .

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      The economic cost of this totally unnecessary congestion is huge.

      • rose
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Dear LL

        Do you believe the ONS figures? I thought they were based on a method devised to help the tourist trade back in the days when most people arriving were either businessmen or tourists. Census figures won’t be accurate either. Surely it is better to count the NI numbers and ask the supermarkets.

        • alan jutson
          Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          rose

          Slough found the answer to counting the local population accurately.

          They simply did a calculation as to how much human waste passed through the local sewerage works.
          Apparently the amount of waste per human is reasonably consistent.

          This highlighted the fact that the local population was being underestimated by about 6,000 people.

          Once they surveyed the area by air, they found a vast amount of illegal development in back gardens, where sheds and garages were being used to house otherwise unknown people.

          Perhaps the Government should do a similar Nationwide survey !

        • stred
          Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          Lord Green has revealed that the ONS used a much lower net annual figure of 165k than the average of 250k. Using 245k the increase in population is calculated at 8m. In any case, it appears we will be having 250k+ until 2020 and if Corbyn is elected by the snowflakes, who can’t work out why they can’t afford a house, it will be permanent, as he doesn’t want any restrictions.
          https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2017/10/andrew-green-even-the-cautious-ons-is-now-forecasting-vast-population-growth-driven-by-immigration.html

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      I have taken 12 hours with just one stop to drive from Sussex to Ayrshire on the dreaded M6. I know what you mean!

  5. Duncan
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    It is uplifting to see that there are some in Europe who understand the absolute importance of self-determination and will fight for their right to achieve it. In the UK we have people who sign away this right with a cross on a piece of paper. It is the most ignoble consequence of a people that places zero value on one of the most important aspects of human society.

    Will the pro-EU cabal now play the race card against the Catalan people in the way they did against those who chose to vote to leave the EU?

  6. Ian Wragg
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I bet the EU will accept Catalonia as a member of the EU.
    They can then promise Scotland and Northern Ireland membership after Brexit.
    This will play into the EU s hands by divide and rule.
    Only problem is Catalonia is financially solvent were Scotland and Northern Ireland are not.
    All is not well in Brussels. Good.

  7. Newmania
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    ..and yet you maintain a tin ear when it comes to the complaints of the politically subjugated in the UK . That has exactly the danger you describe .This will become clear as we approach Brexit inflation Brexit interest rate rises Brexit cuts Brexit delays, Brexit isolation and expense, already at eye watering levels
    I need hardly say that the EU will be to blame whatever happens in Spain .Regional autonomy is a bad thing when they, very gently recognise sub state identities, but when they do not interfere that is also a bad thing.

    PS I see Mr Warner of the Telegraph has also noticed your conversion from fiscal santiy to spendaholic, now we have a hole you happen to like,to tip my money into.
    Our debts are higher now than they were when you were energetically defending restraint , the risks vastly worse .
    “Poltician in saying any old thing scandal”

    Reply I am recommending using the savings on EU contributions which I want to enjoy from April 2019

    • zorro
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      And those savings will be used productively in the UK and not be spent/sent abroad!

      zorro

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      “..and yet you maintain a tin ear when it comes to the complaints of the politically subjugated in the UK .”

      The politically subject in the UK are those who one an official referendum (unlike Catalan’s) and yet who never rarely hear their side of the argument on the BBC and who can only watch as the great and the good subvert their choice.

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        … politically subjugated…

        • Anonymous
          Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          …won an official referendum…

          • Anonymous
            Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            Start again… please

            The politically subjugated in the UK are those who won an official referendum (unlike Catalan’s) and yet who rarely hear their side of the argument on the BBC and who can only watch as the great and the good subvert their choice.

            (sorry. I’m getting blind spots at close range)

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Inflation is only 3%. Why is that eye watering ? I remember when it was 27%. In 2008 the base interest rate was 5%, Why is a rate of 0.25 or even 0.5 eye watering ?

    • zorro
      Posted October 29, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      ….”This will become clear as we approach Brexit inflation Brexit interest rate rises Brexit cuts Brexit delays, Brexit isolation and expense, already at eye watering levels…”

      Quite amazing your use of language here…. May I ask how old you are if you think that these figures are “eye watering” when compared to recent UK economic history? Are you perhaps 12 or younger?

      zorro

  8. alan jutson
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Just goes to show why we should never surrender Gibraltar to Spain, as that would be another possible hot bed for conflict.

  9. Mark B
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Where is this leading too ?

    Are we about to see either a Yugoslavia or, a Czechoslovakia type end to this ?

    Clearly this all comes down to what is in the hearts and minds of the people of Catalonia. If they think and feel that they will be better served by being independent, then no law can bind them since, it is the will of the people through democratic (the legislature and executive) means that shapes how they are governed.

    The response from the UK government and the world community is the right one. There is no legal right for Catalonia to call for independence. What those that voted for so called independence have in truth voted for isolation. That is not to say that their cause is not just and that their desires should go unheeded but, you have signed up to something, whether it be a constitution or treaty (in our case Lisbon is both) and have to abide by the rules therein.

    I feel for the people of Catalonia but, the Spanish government have acted within the rule of law. But if things escalate and people start to be hurt or even killed, then there will truly be no way back for both parties. You cannot govern a people who do not want to be governed by you. Europhiles please take note !

    • Mark B
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      It is funny how a ‘long’ post on 28, 2017 at 10:51 am with ‘foul’ language and real people named gets posted yet, at the time of writing, my little contribution which breaks no such rules gets held in moderation.

  10. Chris S
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    It is impossible to see how this crisis can possibly end well.

    Had Spain allowed a referendum, Catalonia would probably have lost it. But after their heavy-handed reaction to events in Barcelona, Madrid will now only prevail by the application of force. To threaten the Catalonian leader with 30 years in prison for sedition is a huge over-reaction and it seems likely that crowds of supporters camping outside Parliament will prevent Police from Madrid making arrests or taking control of the building.

    Madrid is calling for new regional elections in December. What are they going to do if there is a big majority in favour of candidates promoting independence ? This seems to be the most likely outcome unless they attempt to ban Catalonian Nationalists from the ballot paper.

    • zorro
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Over egged machismo will be the Spanish undoing…. It always has been and always will be…..

      zorro

  11. agricola
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    In fact the first time that force was used to suppress the Catalans was during the Spanish Civil War and the period afterwards to 1975. An experience many Catalans have not forgotten. The action of the Madrid government is beginning to mirror history, and we all know the results of ignoring history.

    The constitutional law in Spain does not permit any dissention in the form of independence referendums in Catalonia or any of the many autonomous areas unless it has the express approval of all the autonomous areas through parliament. A complete lack of flexibility.

    The big mistake was that Rajoy, in outlawing the referendum missed the opportunity of the Catalans voting against independence. There was every indication that like Scotland they would have said no to the proposal. He shot himself in the foot.

    One would like to think that the EU would show some statesmanship in this situation, but they do not believe in democracy so I fear that their contribution will be worthless. Maybe the good offices of NATO could be made use of, anything to avoid escalation in a wonderful part of Spain. One can understand the reluctance of Gibraltarians to have anything but a working relationship with Spain.

    • Bob
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Rajoy could have held a referendum and spent £9,500,000 (€ equiv) on pamphlets for each household warning that a leave vote would result in armageddon while at the same time denying any taxpayer funding to the independence side to issue any contrary literature.

      That might have clinched it.

  12. robert lewy
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The uncomfortable truth is that Rahoy clearly has no intention of allowing
    Catalonia independence whether or not the majority of the Catalonian people
    desire this.
    Preventing a plebiscite is no more than a sticking plaster and is likely to increase rather reduce the call for independence.

  13. Dave Andrews
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Spain really needs to allow the Catalans a fair referendum.
    The independents are in a bizarre situation where they wish independence only so they can immediately surrender it to the EU.
    The EU has made it clear that an independent Catalonia would not be an EU member and would have to re-apply.
    Let them have a debate and then a referendum. Catalonians would have to vote both to leave Spain and the EU. I expect they will say no, and vote to remain part of Spain.

  14. JoolsB
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I keep saying it John, but people who live in glass houses and all that ……….!!

    The anti-English Conservative/Labour/Lib Dum parties should be relieved that the people of England who will be watching events in Catalonia, aren’t yet demanding their freedom too. Of course May, Davis & Greene are promising many more powers coming back from Brussels to be repatriated to the Scots, Welsh & NI with not one ounce of power still for England. When that happens, surely it will only be a matter of time before there is a similar crisis much nearer to home when the English finally say they have had enough of being the last colony of the British establishment still denied a voice and still no representation.

    Your anti-English colleague continue to ignore England and the rotten deal she gets both financially and constitutionally at your peril!!

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Of course the presence of the EU encourages regions to break away. Why have to kowtow to Madrid and to the EU or for Scotland and Wales to London and the EU?

  16. Anonymous
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Any support for the Catalonians with their unofficial referendum should be well behind the UK’s *official* referendum on the EU then.

  17. MickN
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Such a shame then that our PM has declared that we will not recognise Catalonia – not now or in the future. Might be a good time to make sure your brain is engaged before putting your mouth into gear.

    • zorro
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      unusually quick and decisive comment on the Catalan issue from eternal Brexit ditherer T May….. She does like taking dictation.

      zorro

      • stred
        Posted October 29, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        Possibly taking dictation from the Club de Madrid, which seems to be part of the CP club, the UN club, and the Shared Society club and anti-Brexit club that Treez started gobbling about as soon as possible after she was slotted in.

      • Miss Brandreth-Jones
        Posted October 29, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        We can always changed our mind when we don’t need their support.

  18. Rien Huizer
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    The effect of the first intervention with its clumsy violence may well have been that voters loyal to Spain (around half of the electorate) abstained. It looks likely that they will not abstain from the elections that the government has scheduled and then we have to see what the “will of the people” is in Catalonia. In the winter, without the excitement of costless protest. Given also that the business community and the majority of Bacelona are against “independence” it is likely that we will not see the sorry spectacle of a new country with a hard land border with Spain and hence the EU, dependent on a wide variety of services and imports from that country and not recognized by France or the EU, trying to avoid economic chaos. Not a very good idea to turn such an interesting city into the capital of a failed state ab initio, just because the farmers and developers hate Madrid.

  19. Leslie Singleton
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Dear John–With Guy Fawkes abroad are there any cellars under the Madrid Parliament?

  20. Posted October 28, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    According to the Mail, Mrs May has said that “she does not and will not” recognise Catalonia’s declaration of Independence. Why?
    In my view she should not interfere in the internal affairs of another country just as we would expect them not to interfere in our internal affairs. Surely she should have adopted our traditional approach of remaining neutral in such matters and offering this country’s assistance, if required, to help in any negotiations.
    There is no doubt in my mind that this statement illustrates her pro-EU stance, as one thing the EU fears is independence movements in member countries; It leaves me in even more doubt that she will ever achieve Brexit.
    I await with interest the results of similar referenda in Italy in two of its provinces later this year!

    • Norman
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Please someone tell me if I’m wrong, but I too was puzzled by Mrs May’s statement. Sounded very ill-advised to me, and straight out of Foreign Office Brussels-speak: as helpful and predictable in effect as Obama’s avuncular advice to the UK, prior to the EU Referendum!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Indeed like Heath, Major and Cameron, T May is reliably wrong on nearly every issue. She is just not a real Tory, never was and never will be. She is another daft pro EU greencrap, left, big state, interventionist Libdim.

  21. MickN
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    It looks like Spain could be on the verge of another civil war. I sincerely hope that is not the case. I further predict that we will not be far away from our own version if the 17.4 million that voted to leave the EU are denied their democratic will. Mrs May would be well advised to heed the consequences when people are denied their will at the ballot box. I fear this will not end well for us if she carries on down her present path.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I mention again that although my wife and I have Spanish relations I do not see that as a justification for poking my foreign nose into Spain’s internal affairs. I am not a citizen of Spain and would not presume to chip in on a political debate within Spain.

    I would also recommend caution in British discussions of these events given the rise of separatist extremism within Scotland. In particular I think the UK government should take a quiet look at the persons who preside over the Scottish Parliament and try to judge how they would react in a similar situation where the SNP proposed a measure which was clearly outside the competence of that devolved institution.

    It has been argued that Theresa May has no need to do anything at all to prevent the SNP unilaterally calling another independence referendum without any legal authority because the presiding officer would be bound by Section 31 of the UK Parliament’s Scotland Act 1998 setting up the devolved authorities in Scotland:

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/46/section/31

    “The Presiding Officer shall, on or before the introduction of a Bill in the Parliament, decide whether or not in his view the provisions of the Bill would be within the legislative competence of the Parliament and state his decision.”

    The media have been showing us the presiding officer of the Catalonian parliament counting the votes for and against an illegal motion declaring independence when no doubt she should have forbidden the motion being laid in the first place, and we do not want to encourage any replication of that abuse of public office in Scotland.

    We already have a member of the Scottish government pronouncing upon these events in Spain which are in fact no more a legitimate concern for that devolved authority than it would be for Kent County Council, which is another component of the top tier of local government in the UK – who said that a devolved Scottish government could include an “External Affairs Secretary”, when all foreign affairs are expressly reserved to the UK authorities, was that Blair, or Brown? – plus an unofficial call for the Catalan flag to be flown over the Edinburgh city chambers:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/calls-for-catalan-flag-to-fly-from-edinburgh-city-chambers-1-4598570

    Maybe somebody will correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding is that the Madrid authorities cannot lawfully allow an independence referendum in Catalonia or any other region unless the constitution has been amended to permit that:

    http://www.congreso.es/portal/page/portal/Congreso/Congreso/Hist_Normas/Norm/const_espa_texto_ingles_0.pdf

    “Section 2

    The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common
    and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards … ”

    and that constitutional amendment would have to be approved in a referendum held across all of Spain.

    In the UK without a rigid codified constitution it was much easier to grant the devolved Scottish authorities the special power to hold an independence referendum and that did not need to be agreed by a referendum held across all of the UK.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      From the Daily Record back in April:

      http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-return-holyrood-after-10229505

      “A referendum with no legal authority that’s boycotted by half the country would be pointless.”

      Well, the Catalans seem to be finding some point in an illegal referendum that was boycotted by half the electors, if only to provoke the Spanish authorities to react with more than reasonable force and so gain sympathy, and I hope that the UK government is paying due attention.

  23. sm
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Both Scotland and Catalonia want independence from their historic partners, yet both want to submit to a greater authority, the EU.

    One of the bases of the ideological thrust in the EU is to eliminate nationalism, as demonstrated by, erm, ….. Scotland and Catalonia.

    HELP!!!!

    • Mark B
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      No ! What they want is to eliminate ‘patriotism’ for ones own country and replace it with one of its own. Witness they useful idiots who protest against BREXIT and declare their love for the EU. Not one of them if they knew what the EU was truly about would want to touch it yet, happy they go along with the narrative that it all about trade and lovely foreigners.

  24. Bert Young
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The outcome of the stalemate in Catalonia is a real teaser . If the control that the Spanish Central Government is enforced and resistance in Catalonia increases the outcome will be akin to a civil war . Endeavouring to exert a central mandate on Catalonia will not be achieved by telling the local Police what to do ; local feeling is far deeper than that . Utterances of support – or the other way round , from outside countries will and can do nothing to solve the quandary , the base lines will be a combination of economics and food .

    I forecast that a different compromise has to be reached between the Spanish Central Government and the Catalonians . Forcing a will against such strong opposition in Catalonia will lead to blood shed .

  25. Nig l
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Parallels going back to 16th C when people got fed up with the abuses/excesses of Rome and currently with Brexit and now Catalonia. The thread is ‘excessive’ central consumption and not listening.

    Many in the ex eastern bloc detest the EU but are bought off by the financial inducements which may change when we finally leave.

    When will the powers in Brussels listen before it is too late like Spain or maybe they can’t?

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, there’s a chap here:

    http://brexitcentral.com/government-boldly-lead-vision-global-britain-safeguard-economy-democracy/

    arguing that the government should work harder to communicate more positive messages about Brexit. Well, that’s fine, but surely their top priority should be to counteract the constant stream of negative messages emanating from Remoaners.

    It is inevitable that the unremitting, systematic campaign of negative, but almost entirely false and unsubstantiated, propaganda will eventually erode public support for Brexit, even if that hasn’t happened yet to a great extent.

    And that is what Matthew Parris is relying on in his Times article today:

    https://behindthepaywallblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/mps-and-the-eu-can-together-derail-brexit/

    “MPs and the EU can together derail Brexit”

    “There has never really been a majority for Brexit in this Commons or Lords. Whatever MPs may tell you about “respecting the decision of the British people”, most think that decision was against the national interest. Few care to put their heads above the parapet and most quietly squirm. But with Christmas 2018 in sight, it would be a brave chief whip who assured his party leader that a combination of “we shouldn’t leave, full stop” and “yes we should leave but not on these terms” won’t command a Commons majority once the likely terms become clearer.

    As for the Lords, their loathing for Brexit is constrained only by their sense of the limitations to their democratic mandate. Show them an uneasy Commons plus an electorate that has turned decisively against the terms on offer and there will be no stopping them.”

    Note that sly “limitations to their democratic mandate”, when they have none.

    So despicable Remoaners would be content to see unelected legislators-for-life defying the will of the people, and not just the will as indirectly expressed through a general election but as directly expressed in a national referendum.

    • Chris
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      The question is always the same: why is the government content, apparently, to let the disinformation/claims build up without significantly retaliating? The answerwould not seem to be at all reassuring. Surely Brexiter MPs must be beside themselves with this? If not, why not?

  27. Epikouros
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    It appears that politically Spain has not evolved sufficiently to cope with the freedoms and civil liberties of democracy despite Franco dying in 1975 allowing Spain to become a democracy. If it had then the current situation there would have been far better handled. Spain only had to look at the way the UK has handled Scotland’s independence demands and done the the same.

    Personally I am very much in favour of like minded peoples coming together to seek their own sovereignty and the right of self determination after all I voted for Brexit. I am against it being an issue of nationalism as for me that is not what is about. I am not a little Englander as I want to trade and cooperate freely with everyone as for me that is the path to peace and prosperity. What I do want is domestically to live in a way that I am comfortable with and not to be dictated to by those who have completely different views to my own and that can only be done in smaller communities so that a very large majority have similar views and a very small minority who are opposed to them. As the former will always dictate to the latter and the less of the latter means fewer have to suffer. Not ideal but until someone invents a political system more equitable than democracy then we are stuck with it.

  28. James Neill
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Think we should be more concerned about the cohesion of our own country first. Secondly the winds of change are blowing right across Europe, EU countries and UK are going to have to learn fast how to accommodate themselves to this change without it all breaking into pieces- as someone else said that if we fail at this and a void is created then all of the old “isms” will creep back in.

  29. Brigham
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Mr Dave Davis is at the golf club returning his locker key when Mr Barnier, the membership secretary sees him.
    “Hello Mr Davis”, says Mr Barnier. “I’m sorry to hear you are no longer renewing your club membership,if you would like to come to my office we can settle your account”.
    “I have settled my bar bill” says Mr Davis..
    “Ah yes Mr Davis”,
    says Mr Barnier, “but there are other matters that need settlement”

    In Mr Barniers office
    Mr Davis explains that he has settled his bar bill so wonders what else he can possibly owe the Golf Club? “Well Mr Davis” begins Mr Barnier, “you did agree to buy one of our Club Jackets”.
    “Yes” agrees Mr Davis “I did agree to buy a jacket but I haven’t received it yet”. “As soon as you supply the jacket I will send you a cheque for the full amount”.
    “That will not be possible” explains Mr Barnier. “As you are no longer a club member you will not be entitled to buy one of our jackets”!
    “But you still want me to pay for it” exclaims Mr Davis.
    “Yes” says Mr Barnier, “That will be £500 for the jacket. “There is also your bar bill”.
    “But I’ve already settled my bar bill” says Mr Davis. “Yes” says Mr Barnier, “but as you can appreciate, we need to place our orders from the Brewery in advance to ensure our bar is properly
    stocked”.. “You regularly used to spend at least £50 a week in the bar so we have placed orders with the brewery accordingly for the coming year”. “You therefore owe us £2600 for the year”.
    “Will you still allow me to have these drinks?” asks Mr Davis. “No of course not Mr Davis”. “You are no longer a club member!” says Mr Barnier. “Next is your restaurant bill” continues Mr Barnier. “In the same manner we have to make arrangements in advance with our catering suppliers”. “Your average restaurant bill was in the order of £300 a month, so we’ll require payment of £3600 for the
    next year”.
    “I don’t suppose you’ll be letting me have these meals either” asks Mr Davis.
    “No, of course not”
    says an irritated Mr Barnier, “you are no longer a club member!”
    “Then of course” Mr Barnier continues, “there are repairs to the clubhouse roof”.
    “Clubhouse roof” exclaims Mr Davis, “What’s that got to do with me?”
    “Well it still needs to be repaired and the builders are coming in next week”, your share of the bill is £2000″.
    “I see” says Mr Davis, “anything else?”.
    “Now you mention it” says Mr Barnier, “there is Fred the Barman’s pension”. “We would like you to pay £5 a week towards Fred’s pension when he retires next month”. “He’s not well you
    know so I doubt we’ll need to ask you for payment for longer than about five years, so £1300 should do it”. “This brings your total bill to £10,000” says Mr Barnier. “Let me get this straight” says Mr Davis, “you want me to pay £500 for a jacket you won’t let me have, £2600 for beverages you won’t let me drink and £3600 for
    food you won’t let me eat, all under a roof I won’t be allowed under and not served by a bloke who’s going to retire next month!”
    “Yes, it’s all perfectly clear and quite reasonable” says Mr
    Barnier.
    “Piss off!” says Mr Davis

    Now we understand what Brexit is all about!!!!!

    I just thought you should see this, not necessarily to publish, perhaps to show it to David Davis. Every remoaner should be made to read it. (It was a posting on Guido Fawkes)

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Love it!

    • ianwragg
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Should be read out in the HoC.

      • Miss Brandreth-Jones
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        God ,can you imagine the slow boring monotones and the interruptions ,we would never get to the all important p**** off.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted October 29, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Very amusing, but it is a correct analogy.

  30. GilesB
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Representative democracy is a means to implement, not replace, the will of the people.

    Changes to a constitution, written or unwritten, cannot be acceptable if rejected by a majority of a sovereign people.

    There can be nothing more fundamental than changing the geographic boundaries of a sovereign state.

    The sovereign state is Spain not Catalonia.

    Hence a referendum on Catalonian independence should be for all Spanish electors. As the Scottish independence referendum should have been for all electors of the United Kingdom.

    Otherwise lies madness with ever smaller collectives breaking away.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      That’s an odd idea. If the whole of the UK had been given a vote on Scottish independence then possibly they’d be independent by now even though a majority in Scotland itself voted against. Likewise if the whole of the UK voted on a united Ireland and forced that on NI.

  31. Javk snell
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    It is indeed a tragedy in the making but we have remember where spain has come from- a republican government was voted in in the mid 1930’s which prompted the invasion by Franco from North Africa. Millions lost their lives and a fascist dictatorship ensued for thirty five years after which a constititution was hobbled together by Franco and his military cadre in an effort to hold this country together..a king from the old family was groomed and later installed but none of it mattered as we witnessed the tragedy of the basque region..so now it is Catalans turn..what is needed now is some imaginative thinking on these matters through europe as a whole if we are to avoid chaos going forward.. in my opinion Spain needs to be allowed to go back to being a loosly held federal republic within the EU for whatever region so wishes. And the same goes for the UK..if a region or country like Scotland wants to stay seperate for economic reasons within the EU then it should be allowed.

  32. Jason Wells
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The Catalan separatists are a bit like the UK brexiteers out for their own self serving interests irrespective of the possible damage to their own people, region and economy driven only by ideas of nationalistic sovereignty, fear of foreigners and generally introverted sentiment- headbanger stuff

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the Brussels perspective on Brexit voters.
      17.4 million again all odds voted for OUT.
      Get over it.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Where as the Greeks held a referendum to demand an end to austerity, only for the Greek government to ignore it and impose even tougher austerity imposed from the EU.

      Not forgetting the threats made to other EU members that funds to them will be stopped if they do not take their quota of illegal migrants. Nothing in the treaties they have signed which states they must, yet, they get the threats.

      And apart from Germany, how many countries are doing well economically in the EU ?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Fear of foreigners is nothing to do with the Catalan separatist movement. You just made that up.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I find that the earliest items in my “Regionalisation” folder date back to 2002, fifteen long years ago now, and one of them is a reference to a comment made by Guy Verhofstadt in December 2001 when he was the Belgian Prime Minister:

    “We must attempt at European level, to put regions on the same footing as states.”

    So in a way he may now be getting his wish with the putative promotion of Catalonia from being just a region of Spain to an independent sovereign state …

    And there is no doubt that the EU, and especially the fanatical eurofederalists like Guy Verhofstadt, have played their part in encouraging the break up of the member states into more easily dominated euroregions, Scotland just as much as Spain, and even if they are now shedding crocodile tears over recent events in Spain.

    That was quoted in one of the newsletters of the EU’s Committee of the Regions, “Regions and Cities of Europe”, No 36, September 2002, page 4, which unfortunately is no longer readily available online so you will have to take my word for it.

  34. ferdinand
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    The Spanish Government has said that the percentage of people voting in the ‘illegal’ referendum was insufficient. They can remove this criticism by allowing Catalonia to have another referendum where all can vote without the violent intervention of Madrid.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 29, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      It wasn’t ‘illegal’, with inverted commas to call the validity of that adjective into question, it was just plain old illegal under the constitution of Spain, according to the judges appointed to sit on the court charged with upholding that constitution. And if the Spanish government did propose to allow Catalonia to have another referendum no doubt the same court would reach the same verdict unless the constitution had been suitably amended, which constitutional amendment would need to have been approved by a referendum across the whole of Spain.

  35. Naughty teacher
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    A moderate nationalist is impossible. An oxymoron which, most of the Labour Party Front Bench will be giggly in learning is not a toothpaste additive enhancing the whiteness-brightness of their fangs and cranial forked protuberances.
    “A moderate nationalist is impossible” is too short a sentence by 3000 words to penetrate the mental fog of the Tory Front Bench and have an optimist’s hope it will sink in. Dopes.

  36. Annemieke Lommaert-B
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Therefore, Mr Redwood, with all respect, it is high time the UK government issued a statement NOT in support of Mr Rajoy’s actions but calling for international arbitration. The invocation of art. 155 of the Spanish Constitution is contrary to the rule of law, as well as of the Declaration of Human Rights as well as the EU’s own declaration regarding this. What are we waiting for? For blood to flow on the streets of Barcelona?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 29, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      If you believe it is against the rule of law you should ask the Spanish constitutional court to rule against the invocation of Article 155. I guess the judges would say that on the contrary the Spanish government has a constitutional duty to invoke that article and impose direct rule to prevent secession of a region of Spain, but courts can be unpredictable and you may drop lucky.

  37. Nig l
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Much is made of democracy and that Spain as a sovereign state should be respected. Interesting on the basis that Rajoy heads up a minority government who cannot get their budget through and relies on the Basques whose sympathies will be with the Catalans and are unlikely to support any punitive measures against them.

    Not sure where the democracy lies and certainly he will be in even more trouble if the Catalans vote unequivocally to leave in the snap election.

    Not quite as clear cut as all the black and white Federalists would like.

  38. BertD
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Today we have another example of Tory inner circle humour. That he has apologised hardly excuses the feeble attempt at humour by Gove. It is not just the ignorant content that we have in mind it is the stupidity of making such ill thought out offensive remarks of this nature at any time..and coming from such a high profile political figure..makes you wonder

    • ianwragg
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Some people just want to be offended.
      I thought the remark was witty and topical. Then again I’m a persecuted minority, white working class Englishman.

      • miami.mode
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        iw. If a woman close to you had been assaulted in a similar manner to which the Gove’s remarks were addressed, doubtless you would be the first to laugh uproariously if a high profile politician made a very public joke of it.

      • Nig l
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        My mother used to say. Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me. I also found it amusing as did the audience.

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        +1 Ian.

        The tyranny of the permanently outraged.

    • rose
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Humour doesn’t travel well. It is all too easy to distort out of malice on the way. It was a light-hearted occasion with comedy and less than brilliant impersonation going on. The Noble Lord Kinnock added to this particular joke. No criticism of him I notice. The pity was that Gove was pandering so much to the BBC – and now panders to the language police by apologising.

      Let other people make their jokes. If you don’t find them funny don’t laugh. It isn’t compulsory. Let’s have something important on the news.

      • rose
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        PS as a woman who has been both pestered and frightened, I found the remarks amusing and well directed. Do you think black humour should be outlawed?

    • Prigger
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Gove doth apologise too much, methinks.

      Of course there is nothing to apologise about

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      It’s just an excuse to board the outrage train, Gove and Kinnock didn’t say anything you couldn’t hear on a BBC comedy panel show every day of the week.

  39. Sam Duncan
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    “It is true the Catalan leaders are acting outside the constitutional law.”

    They’re acting outside of any kind of law. No electoral commission, or independent and impartial observation. No printed ballot papers. No electoral register. No checks of any kind to prevent fraud. Then a 90% “mandate” from a minority of the electorate. Given the circumstances, how can anyone be sure that even that figure is reliable? It’s about as trustworthy as an internet poll. If a Mugabe or Kim had conducted a vote in the way the Catalans have, the international condemnation would be deafening, and rightly so.

    No. While I agree that the Spanish government has been extremely unwise in its response and its problems are largely of its own making, I find it hard to muster any sympathy for these chancers. Who’d want to live in a new state run by people with such little respect for the rule of law anyway? How can anyone be sure that they have the “consent of a large number of people to [their] rights to pass and enforce laws”? The one result we can be confident in from their dodgy “referendum” is that two thirds of the Catalan population have not given that consent. But they press ahead regardless. No wonder over 1000 businesses have left the region over the last few weeks and its credit rating is rapidly disappearing round the U-bend.

    And don’t forget: if they get away with it, it will only embolden others. The Scottish nationalists tried respecting the law and failed. What happens if their close friends in Catalonia succeed by simply pretending it doesn’t exist?

  40. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Spain would not like to lose a prosperous Catalan in their finances. They say as the 29th nation in Europe they would be the 13th richest..

    • Welfare Investigator
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Most Catalans appear to work night-shift only….and sleep night-shift only. That, or the people on the streets are Spanish actors shipped in, pretending to be Catalans.

  41. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    John and other Brexiters seem to be striving to somehow blame the EU for the situation in Spain, in fact they are doing (for once) what they should be doing and staying out of it, as should we. Why May felt the need to announce she’d never recognise Catalonia I don’t know, probably just the way all these leaders who meet each other on the international circuit stick up for each other.

    Reply No I dont mainly blame the EU but they are part of the story. I have explained the views of both sides and am not myself on either side

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Alas nearly everyone in Catalan will be forced to take one side or the other.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 29, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      The EU is staying out of it now, having previously helped to foment it.

  42. Prigger
    Posted October 29, 2017 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    The people and nations offering un-requested guidance to Madrid are hardly qualified. Two minutes ago, historically, Germany was reuniting the Fatherland with incursions into Poland, Russia ,Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, etc etc . France fancied it had some interest in Vietnam which has a culture, history and eating habits of Bohemian Paris as we all know. The UK has taken 500 years and is still threatening to rule Northern Ireland directly.
    The Catalans and Spanish would do well to stay away from the advice of such loons. Nothing they do can be more tragic and stupid than British French and German wisdom. Combined with Russia they amount to the Four Horses of the Apocalypse.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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