Catalan independence

I am of course neutral over the issue of whether Catalonia should be independent or remain part of Spain. It does not help  for outsiders to express voting preferences  before elections or referendums in other countries.

I did, however, find the BBC coverage of the Catalan election amusingly inaccurate. Before the poll they were running the Spanish government line that people were switching to parties that wanted Catalonia to stay in Spain, in response to the economic Project Fear campaign that the Spanish government were pursuing. Now we know the result,  nothing of the sort was happening. I loved the irony. The BBC was busily giving credence to the  views of the Partido Popular (a right of centre party it is alleged) that leads the Madrid government and has followed a thuggish policy of trying to suppress enthusiasm for devolved government and independence within Catalonia. That self same Partido Popular itself slumped from 11 seats to just 3 seats in the 135 seat Parliament”!

The one view I do hold is these matters of identity and democratic accountability are best settled by democratic means. If Spain had let Catalonia have a referendum to decide the issue the public may well have voted to stay with Spain, as Scotland did when we rightly offered them the choice. Instead, the unpleasant ways used to try to extinguish nationialist feeling has ensured the independence parties won this latest election. The EU, which used to encourage regional identity and regional political movements now seems ashamed of what it has helped unleash and will not speak out for a democratic way of resolving the tensions.

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99 Comments

  1. JoolsB
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    “The one view I do hold is these matters of identity and democratic accountability are best settled by democratic means. If Spain had let Catalonia have a referendum to decide the issue the public may well have voted to stay with Spain, as Scotland did when we rightly offered them the choice”

    Pity you and your self serving colleagues don’t think the same should apply to ENGLAND John – the only country in the UK NEVER given a referendum and as a result the only country in the UK and western world DENIED a voice, it’s own parliament and it’s own First Minister.
    I do wish our hypocrite politicians would stop criticising other countries and address the elephant in the room much closer to home -ENGLAND and the very undemocratic manner in which it is governed. People in glass houses and all that ……!!!!

    • Mark B
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Hear hear.

  2. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    One has to ask if there is any point in a referendum when various politicians want to ignore it?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Well it shows how much wiser, honest and more independent the public generally are than most MPs. How much better they are at judging the public’s best interest rather than acting in the personal interests of the MPs themselves or their providers of (perhaps green crap or other) “consultancy” positions.

  3. Duncan
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    The EU isn’t democratic, it’s a political entity designed to bypass national democracies and afford poisonous politicians the freedom to construct a future without interference from the dirty masses

    At some point in the future if peoples feel they are being sidelined we will see another conflagration

  4. Richard1
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    It’s the same as Scotland isn’t it? The majority are against independence but in the regional elections the grievance-driven separatist party wins local power. Maybe it’s rational for voters – perhaps, as in the U.K., the more the Separtists whip up grievances and imaginary oppression, the more money is bunged from the centre.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      ……………………more money is bunged from the centre. (ENGLAND and IT’s taxpayers!!!!!)

  5. alan jutson
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see what Spain does now.

    Work with the result, or simply ignore it !

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Dear Alan–Thank God we do not have a written Constitution, especially a relatively modern, apparently totally inflexible, one, cobbled together post Franco–Am I right in thinking that according to Rajoy even if 100% of the Catalans were proven to be in favour of Independence they have no “legal” route forward?–No wonder that I, to the horror of many on this site I am sure, look down my nose at the idea that the Law always has all, or sometimes even any of, the answers.

  6. Gary C
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The BBC . . . . . . . . . (Roll eyes emoticon required!)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      The BBC, lefty, PC, pro EU, art graduate group think. Consistently wrong on nearly every single issue. My advice is a to place bets in the opposite direction to the BBC on most issues and you should do very well.

      • Believe Beeb!
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        The BBC were right, back in early 1970s when they said by the year 2000, because of rising sea levels due to Climate Change, the North Sea would have encroached from the east right up to Doncaster in Yorkshire..the whole of Lincolnshire submerged and Mrs Thatcher’s Grantham underwater.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Well we already knew all this, we had already had the devistating East Coast floods of 1963. Not however caused by manmade CO2, that is very clear.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Gary C.

      Here it is. 🙄

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Not surprising that the BBC, also known as the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation, acted as propagandists for the Spanish government. They perform this duty on a daily basis for the EU against the UK – all that is missing is the introduction: “This is Brussels calling, Brussels calling.”

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.

  8. Caterpillar
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    EU and democracy? Denmark – Mastricht, Ireland – Nice and Lisbon.

  9. margaret
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    A little satirical piece here tinged with Shakespeare and Austin , however definitely John’s composite . The truth is, whatever is put out on the media, the crowds will do their own thing.

  10. APL
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    JR: “I did, however, find the BBC coverage of the Catalan election amusingly inaccurate.”

    The BBC is rubbish. Its news coverage in general is superficial. For some years the BBC has been putting its sports coverage in the news slot. Presumably because it cannot be bothered to source or analyse actual real news.

    It too has a serious problem in that it always pushes the BBC house perspective on any news item. So, Spain is a unified unitary State, there is no support for any regional independence movement, which happens to coincide with the BBC pro European Union stance.

    Likewise, in Scotland, this time Pro independence and anti BREXIT – oddly enough this time too, shilling for the European Union.

    Seven years in government and the administration you support has done nothing to reign the BBC in.

  11. formula57
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    The division of opinion seems very even, with pro-separation parties receiving only a minority of the vote, at c. 48 per cent., and having two fewer parliamentary seats than they won in 2015. (JxC 21.7%, ERC 21.4% and CUP 4.5%.) (Catalunya en Comú-Podem received 7.4% and has refused to position itself as being either pro or anti separation.)

    The EU and the BBC performances have been a disgrace and we may properly resent funding either. Why does this UK parliament continue to provide that we do?

    • Mark B
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      They do what they do because they do not hear us.

  12. Iain Gill
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    We should have a lot more democracy for a lot of things.

    In Spain like the UK the difference between the ruling class and the ordinary people grows wider every day.

    As for the BBC, stop taxing us to pay for this shambles, split if up and sell it off.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it does huge harm slanting the whole of UK politics to the climate alarmist, pro EU, high tax, big government left.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      IG, yes ref the BBC, surely in the 21st Century the relevance of a ‘national broadcaster’, funded in effect by a tax, is anachronistic. Perhaps a PBS type system and independent production companies. Certainly some way to remove its political stance, of whatever persuasion, must be found.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      3.5 million have just stopped paying it without consequence.

  13. alte fritz
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    ‘EU’ and ‘democratic’ do not easily sit together in the same sentence. Democracy, like freedom of speech should be safety valves which relive tensions in societies. Some democratic decision may have unpleasant edges, but argument, not suppression, is the way to address them.

  14. Cobwatch
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning John
    Poland is to be sent to the naughty step, for being too authoritarian. You couldn’t make it up. Meanwhile in Spain police brutality and political prisoners are tolerated. I am confident that a legitimate referendum prior to all this nonsense would have resulted in a victory for the continued Union, but you reap what you sow. There will be another election soon, and another if need be, in best EU style…until the “correct” answer is delivered.

  15. Old Albion
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Indeed, all these ‘regional identity’ votes going on. I wonder when England will get a vote on it’s own form of government?

    • PaulW
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      This is the final step in the break up of a once great empire nation..the break up of the UK itself..blue passports for England, eventually burgandy for Scotland and of course Northern Ireland

      • Mark B
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        I have no problem with the breakup of the UK providing that that is both the will of all the people and England no longer subsidises them.

  16. Chris S
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The separatists only achieved 70 seats in the 135 seat parliament and because they couldn’t present a united front, the largest party, with 25 seats, supports the Spanish position.

    While this is a disaster for the Spanish Government (plus for Juncker and the Brussels Elite ) it is not the kind of result that gives a clear path forward for the separatists.

    In many respects it leaves the whole country in a bind. Madrid will almost certainly try to tough it out and continue with prosecuting Catelonian politicians. This will be guaranteed to harden feelings in the Region.

    Thanks to the foolish behaviour of Madrid, supported by Brussels, this is a festering sore which they cannot heal.

    • Chris S
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Correction : the Citizen’s Party that supports the Madrid position won 25% of the vote and 37 seats, not 25 seats as I suggested above.

  17. agricola
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Your view that the Spanish government should have allowed a vote on independence with the strong possibility of it going the way of remain was very real. Remain had a reputed 60% before, in a bizarre Francoesque gesture, they put the boot in causing the outcome they least wanted. That reflected the quality of political leadership. Remember , democracy is a very young child in Spain, and much of Europe for that matter. It is only 42 years since Franco, and memories run deep particularly in Catalunia.

    As for the BBC, it is yet another symptom of a deep malaise. It requires a root and branch change of management or the cancellation of the licence fee and their freedom to survive in the commercial world. I favour none political change of the management structure to achieve a truly balanced dissemination of news and current affaires. There is much to be lost in the BBC were they to become just another commercial broadcaster, but this must not get in the way of the obvious need for change.

  18. BOF
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Boris has gone to complain that the Russians interfere in our affairs.

    Meanwhile the BBC , by cant, bias and omission regularly interferes in the affairs of other countries. Also, by the same means attempts manipulate public opinion in our own country. Is it too much to ask that Mp’s take action against the BBC?

    • Doug Powell
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Agree! The 100 Days + crew are doing their utmost every night to undermine Trump – one sided comment presented as Gospel etc…

      As for your question of MPs taking action against the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation? I refer you to the first part of Eliza Doolittle’s answer to the question, “Would you care to walk across the park?”

    • Vlad Tallstory
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Well if the Russians didn’t interfere and meddle with the Remoaners in Parliament someone obviously did.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Try the former PoTUS Barack Obama. I believe he told us that the UK would be back of the queue for a FTA if we voted to leave. Americans never use the word queue, they use line.

  19. Epikouros
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    How often would history have been different if those at the top that govern had used more common sense and been more sympathetic when confronted with problem such as Spain is currently experiencing with Catalonia. As you say how Scotland was treated with a degree reasonableness and understanding has lead to less division and potential conflict. Would Britain have lost the American colonies and would Ireland have seen less bloodshed and misery if that principle been applied to them. The EU is adopting the same arrogance and intransigence that has seen others who have done the same come to grief. Intransigence on Brexit and imposing rules, terms and conditions on any who offer dissent is not in the long run going to win friends and influence people.

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    “BBC coverage of the Catalan election amusingly inaccurate” – indeed as is there coverage of most things from climate alarmism, to bikes and trains V cars and trucks, to taxation, the EU, over regulation, the attack on the gig economy ….. The BBC is amusingly wrong on nearly everything. Unfortunately (though amusing) is has some dire consequences and hugely damages the economy.

    As you say these matters of identity and democratic accountability are best settled by democratic means.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      their!

  21. Kenneth
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I hope our government continues to keep well out of the Catalan situation and I also hope that our PM and government do not make comments about Poland’s internal business.

    As for the comments about the BBC, I have never know the corporation to be so out of touch with reality on so many fronts as it is today.

    They need to do a lot more than just change their news director

    • Mark B
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      The BBC reflect the inner thoughts of the Establishment. It is used as a conduit to the masses by which they can inform us of their desires whilst remaining behind the curtain. They are on transmit mode only and cannot realise that sites such as this are making their grip over us weak by the day.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    John is right ; Spain should have allowed a vote on Catalonian independence before . The outcome now is the Spanish Government has received a bloody nose and will find it difficult to squirm its way back . Spain is geographically and ethnically a very divided country ; the widespread differences in its economy make unity all the more hazardous .

  23. graham1946
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    ‘The unpleasant ways used to try to extinguish nationalist feeling’ is typical of the Continental countries. Most of them have been under dictatorships at some time in recent history and the EU is the latest manifestation of it. It seems there is something in mainland Europe psyche which is accepting of such things. We have not had the same history, except for a brief period under Oliver Cromwell for 1000 years, and he was dealt with, so is it any wonder we don’t fit in?

    We need to be out as soon as possible. Europe will not end up in a good place. Another strong man may emerge and indeed extremist parties are gaining ground. The EU will not be the bulwark against it as they think , but the means of achieving domination of European countries. We will again stand alone.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  24. Doug Powell
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    “It does not help for outsiders to express voting preferences before elections or referendums in other countries.” – Quite Right!

    I wish all in the Commons were like minded. There are some in the House who are still trying to discredit the referendum by suggesting possible Russian involvement. These one eyed remoaners never mention the most blatant intervention in the referendum, which was Obama coming here and telling us we would go to the ‘back of the queue’ re a US trade deal if we voted Leave! The same goes for Lagarde et al…. Then, perhaps Remain meddling doesn’t count?

    I had hoped a Brexiteer would have stood up and pointed out this FACT (not fiction) of meddling. Alas, no one brave enough!

    • Mark B
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Hear hear.

  25. CarlosD
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The EU is an economic bloc made up of several countries, it is understandable from their point of view, ie one of administering traDe and economic rules that it would not be encouraging countrìes to fragment or divide off from the main. Qyestion: if Catalonia pursues independence and suceeds then it will put itself outside of the EU.,so what then? Who is going to pay thd public servants the farmers their CAP and the old people their pensions..am afraid it’s another case of not thinking things through properly before acting

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Dear Carlos–Wonderful–But on that basis nothing would ever get done in cases like this with all the conflicting emotions, opinions and priorities–In any case to quote Carlyle “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand”–Just as right now the UK’s main business is to get out of EU.

    • acorn
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      It will be interesting to see how the Catalans define “independence”. What will they use for money; a legal system; a defence force; an external payment clearance and settlement system.

      Then they will need systems for; immigration; WTO (?) trading; customs. They will need a Treasury / Central Bank and you certainly can’t be truly “independent” without a sovereign currency of your own!

      As you say CarlosD, “… it’s another case of not thinking things through properly before acting.” Do you think the Catalans have a David Davis equivalent primed and ready to demand that Madrid AND Brussels do all of the above for an “Independent” Catalonia; Article 50 style?

      • libertarian
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        acorn

        Or they could just go on and reinvent themselves as countless other countries have done on achieving independence in the last 100 years or so.

        Still I’m glad to see you admit that none of the countries of the Eurozone are independent counties any longer

        • acorn
          Posted December 24, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          How many General Elections do you think it will take to re-invent the UK, outside of the EU? How many times will the governing political party ideology change at each of those General Elections?

          I think you know that I have calculated – with many other number crunchers – that leaving the EU, will be the stupidest thing this nation has ever done.

          It will take 27 – hopefully 28 – Heads of State; that is, real statesmen of Churchillian grade, to fix the EU; that’s all; getting rid of the Euro and the European Parliament will be a good start. And, it doesn’t need five presidents; just one General Secretary. Sadly, at this moment, we are nowhere close to achieving that.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Seeing as Catalonia provides the Lions share of Spains tax revenue, I don’t think they would have much trouble paying their own bills. The rest of Spain though……………………

  26. bigneil
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Spain is in the EU so they are finding out they have no democracy. The EU will tell them what “type” of democracy they will have -and it’s the EU kind.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      bigneil

      I am sorry but I have absolutely no problem with democracy or the democratic process for the electorate and the citizens of Denmark, where I come from. We are just another constitutional western monarchy and democracy like |Britain and still member of the EU.
      However, if you can tell my why we are not a democracy bigneil, please let me know?

      • Ian
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        You cannot have a vote to remove the officials at the top of the EU oligarchy. They are the only people who can propose legislation for the EU member states. I would think that should be enough to illustrate to lack of a demos.

        • rose
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          The Commission also decide what to spend, where, and who on. They make the “commitments”, not us. We only pay.

        • PaulW
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

          The EU Council has the final say in everything important, their members are all elected prime ministers iof their respective countries. These people all elected appoint the Commission president and Council President again all rubber stamped by the EU Parliament..again who’s members are all elected..so i don’t understand what you’re on about? Is the British civil service elite elected or appojnted? Better grow up..get real

          • Edward2
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            Do you see the civil service of the UK regularly appearing on TV giving speeches telling everyone what their policy is and what everyone else must do?
            In the council qualified majority voting with limited veto is a disgrace to democracy, especially as out of the 28 member states only 9 pay in.
            My only democratic connection is my vote for my MEP who represents a huge UK constituency and then is just one voice among a few hundred members who have little real power.

            It is you Paul who needs to “get real”

      • David Price
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        “Il ne peut y avoir de choix démocratique contre les traités européens”

        – Jean-Claude Juncker, January 2015.

        “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties”.

        This from the unelected head of the EU civil service. People are not permitted self-determination in the EU where only a highly constrained system is allowed, this is not democracy.

      • Eh?
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        What’s Denmark?

  27. United Kingdomman
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    “…as Scotland did when we rightly offered them the choice.” ( ie, the Scots luckily voted against independence )
    “We” did not offer the Scots independence.Temporarily elected MPs did, without a proper and democratic mandate from their constituents so to do.
    “rightly offered” .No it was not rightly offered. Except in technical terms. MPs had no right whatsoever in offering persons at this moment resident in one part of the UK the option of breaking away from the rest of us unless we”the rest of us” also agree. We do not!!!
    Had the Scots voted for Independence, (their oil which in fact was our oil and not for MPs to give away, sank in price ). Other things being equal, this would have brought the Scots to economic ruin because MPs quite sillily and without due thought and duty exercised their executive trusted privilege by authorising a partial referendum encompassing just 5 million UK citizens and not the 61 million who were disgustingly and undemocratically denied a vote.
    MPs should think of their position both as MPs and still, citizens of this realm, if they dare to authorise another partial referendum in our United Kingdom which is the property of all of us, as a whole.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      The English don’t exist in the eyes of the Con/Lab/Lib parties except as a cash cow for the benefit of the rest of the U.K.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      No ! The most disgusting thing was just before the referendum in Scotland, Gordon Brown made CMD, Clegg and RedEd sign a piece of paper promising the Scots that, if the voted to stay they would get more power and money. Apparently this piece of paper was binding upon the UK Government and parliament.

      I will never forget or forgive this.

  28. hans chr iversen
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    John,

    On this one on democratic rights you are absolutely right and the Madrid government could and should have handled this better, but the usual EU bashing just does seem to continue with you no matter what issue is involved, whether it is involved or not?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Hans–You missed the bit about the EU having been involved up to its neck in encouraging regions–When it suited them that is

      • Mark B
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        And Ukraine.

    • acorn
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      hans, on this site there are only two sources of satanic evil; the EU and the BBC. When reading comments on this site, you must keep in mind the opening scenes in the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The bit with the Monkeys and the Obelisk. 😉

      • PG Tips.
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        @acorn So why did you not ug ug ug ug win the argument in the referendum? Not up to it?

        • acorn
          Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          It’s a bit early yet to say the remainers didn’t win the argument. 😉

  29. Eh?
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I have not heard one single hard-hitting comprehensive interview with a Catalonian nationalist leading politician asked similar questions to those asked of leading SNP
    1/ How will you trade when no-one recognises your independence?
    2/ Which currency will you use?
    3/ Who will recognise the higher education qualifications of your people?
    4/ Who will grant any Catalonian entry to their country even on a holiday or visiting relatives.?
    5/What do you intend to do with your airports as no planes will be landing?
    6/Any thought of how to utilise your empty hotels?
    7/ What will Catalonians eat? Oxfam Food Parcels or United nations airdrop food?
    8/ How will people manage to post letters abroad and have them accepted?
    9/ What will the Catalonian government do when it and Catalonians are disallowed from using internet services such as email and money payment transfers?

    • Backofanenvelope
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      There was once a country called Czechoslovakia………..

      • Eh?
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        And in was not part of the EU and your point is…?

    • Ian
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      It is fair comment to ask if they have already considered each point you make but none of them are insurmountable. It reads like a Spanish ‘project fear’. All the other non-EU nations operate without the help(?) of a (authoritarian ed) political organisation, etc ed Czechoslovakia managed to divide with little pain or animosity so no reason for a Catalonian state to be less successful.

      • Eh?
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Your history is a little……Czechoslovakia was not a member off the EU. The Czech and Slovak people and nations in forming Czechoslovakia was a voluntary equal arrangement on both sides albeit one watched over by the USSR. The last President of Czechoslovakia based in the Presidential Palace in Prague in the Czech lands was in fact a Slovak Gustáv Husák and he was also in the same Party as all Czechs and all Slovaks and was the long-term Secretary General of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. There is not any similarity with Catalonia and Spain proper.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

      Dear Eh?–Why is it not obvious that this sort of stuff would just be history in a few years’ time and hardly the stuff of principle? They are just difficulties in the way of where the Catalans clearly want to be–If you think it is not so clear that is the fault of the ridiculous scarcely-believable stance taken by the Spanish Government

      • acorn
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        Imagine if London decided it wanted to do a Catalonia? London is the economic engine of the UK and subsidises the other UK regions, just like Catalonia subsidises other regions of Spain.

        London has a major advantage of having all the required systems to be an autonomous City State. Would the UK federal government, react in the same manner as the Spanish federal government? The Mayor being accused of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds

        Will the planet end up with circa 1,000 to 1,500 little countries, all with 5 to 7 million citizens; all at war with each other. Has three and a half decades of Neo-liberalism, finally forced the little people to rebel; try and get back what has been stolen from them by the 1% globalised Elite?

    • Edward2
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Did you cut and paste that list from the Project Fear handbook?

  30. D Gardener
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    It seems ironic that Rajoy is constantly pressing his claim on British Gibraltar when Spain already have enough trouble from two Spanish regions within the country. Both only too keen to break away from Madrid rule.

  31. Gawd!
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Doncaster and Barnsley local politicians who have just spent a quarter of a million pounds on a so-named referendum which did NOT ask “Do you want a Mayor at all?” but asked “which of two options of Mayor do they want”. A 22% turnout ( all postal votes ) and now the Councillors say they “have a mandate ” to go for a Whole Yorkshire Mayor option.

    This is what happens when Central Government humours intellectually and culturally inferior ne’er-do-wells in Local Government.
    One recalls the mayor of Manchester wanting a seat on Brexit negotiations. Soon these jumped up politicians will wish to be Head of the United Nations and insist on standing for President of the United States.
    You MPs should never have been silly enough to give little people more than a mobile phone battery amount of power. They can’t stop using that power inappropriately even when driving a car at 70mph. MPs should have known better!

    • Mark B
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Witness the Mayor of London antics recently.

  32. LenD
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    By becoming independent Catalan will very likely put itself outside of the EU. In the xase of Scotland if independence happens they have a good chance to rejoin the EU in a short space of time. In the case of Northern Ireland, with unification comes automatic EU membership. Hard to understand how anyone would want to be out of the EU given the mess that brexit has visited on this country

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      Dear Len–Knickers–Brexit hasn’t even started yet as we are constantly being told–Why is it so hard to understand that we want to be out of something that we detest? There was always going to be difficulty getting to where we want to be

    • Mark B
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Do you agree that it was a mistake to join in the first place? Witness how well non-EU and Eurozone countries do compared to those that remain.

  33. Sure!
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    “Instead, the unpleasant ways used to try to extinguish nationalist feeling has ensured the independence parties won this latest election.”
    So if Mrs Sturgeon flies off to Belgium. She instructs her SNP to stage an illegal referendum. Refusing to obey Mrs May in her unwillingness to grant a Scottish Referendum immediately. SNP activists enter schools illegally, lock and chain the doors to prevent possible removal by the police, have hundreds of its activists outside these illegal voting stations, blocking police. The activists block traffic, hold marches and demonstrations not in cooperation with the police. Police from south of the open border from outside Glasgow are drafted in and local police block their progress. Fight with them.
    Let me see. YES the Spanish government were absolutely correct. A bit wimpish actually.
    Pity we do not have the Madrid government here in the UK instead of the SNP droning on at our tax-payers expense in Westminster in their destructive and obstructive behaviour.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      The SNP are looking after their interests. The very fact that they have chosen the democratic process and play the game rather than go the way of Irish Republicanism is to their credit. I am all for peaceful transition and the will of the people enacted. I just wish those in Westminster were of the same calibre.

  34. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I’d take Mr Redwood more seriously on these issues if he would support a true parliament for England but he is opposed and considers it unnecessary. England is a true nation and is denied its identity by the ruling Unionists. There is something hypocritical about this stance.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      British Unionism is now more important than ever—for political, social as well as economic reasons.

      British Unionism instead of Hollywood Braveheart Scottish Nationalism.

      The world seems to have gone mad in the last few years. I wish we could return to steady, safe Conservatism (and if people want to be risque, then have 4 children instead of 2, or travel through Central Asia on a motorbike, or make love to your wife by the Grand Canyon, but not through all this mindless, political semi-anarchy we seem to be experiencing from both the left and the right.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I agree. I think we need at least to be asked. But I fear that they do not want to put their Union of unequals at risk by losing their cash cow

  35. Rien Huizer
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Franco would not have let this happen, a pensionado friend tells me..Democracy may be the least bad form of government, for people who try to govern a country where a civil war and subsequent suppression of political activity has not been forgotten, clinging to formal structures like the constitution is quite normal. Will they send in the army if the firebrands march again?

  36. Ed Mahony
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    You target: 1. a centre-right-wing, Spanish party, 2. the EU and 3. the BBC

    But don’t mention:

    1. The important role of left-wing anti-globalisation’s contribution to Catalan independence

    1. How the EU played key role in enhancing prosperity in Ireland and the key role of that in the peace process

    3. The irresponsibility of the Catalan independence movement, like that in Scotland, of promising things on the economy and security it cannot deliver

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      ‘The important role of left-wing anti-globalisation’s contribution to Catalan independence’

      – and right-wing populism, using anti-globalisation in their approach.

      Give me the right-wing Conservatism of Madrid (trying to stop Spain breaking up into economic, political and social chaos) over the dangerously, destabilising approach of right-wing populism.

    • APL
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Ed Mahony: “How the EU played key role in enhancing prosperity in Ireland and the key role of that in the peace process”

      The RoI wanted independence from Britian, but it’s economy is so linked to the UK that it needed to figure a way to keep it’s economy going when the UK entered the Common Market.

      So Eire entered the EU too. Which gave it the added bonus of the funds that the UK paid to the EU, were recycled to the RoI. That way Irish politicians could take British money, without seeming to take British money.

      ‘The peace process’, could have been much enhanced during the last quarter of the 20th century, had the Irish government not turned a blind eye to the movement of Republican terrorists across its border with Northern Ireland.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 23, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        I’m not taking away from the financial contribution the UK has made to the EU and how Ireland has benefitted from that. Good on the UK for that – for contributing (amongst other ways) to Ireland’s increased prosperity. But it’s also good geopolitics as there is now peace in Ireland and the UK now has a strong trading partner in Ireland, north and south.

        You seem to focus on the Irish government. I agree to a degree. But I think you also need to focus on the faults the British government made as well (as well as politicians in Northern Ireland from both sides).

  37. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I cannot help using standpoint analysis, I suppose this is due to studying every day of my life and empathising with many different patients for 47 years to gain an understanding into their id and problems. The problem for me is that now I seem to understand the problems all face and sometimes cannot find my own view. I read’ Homage to Catalonia’ and saw George Orwell’s take on the state of affairs during civil unrest , but can we really say anything potent about it until we have lived in someone else’s shoes?

  38. Prigger
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    “Legal action to see whether UK could unilaterally stop Brexit gets go-ahead”

    If the Law interferes with our the wishes of our people just one more time….

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-article50/legal-action-to-see-whether-uk-could-unilaterally-stop-brexit-gets-go-ahead-idUKKBN1EG1MB

  39. Original Richard
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    “The EU, which used to encourage regional identity and regional political movements now seems ashamed of what it has helped unleash and will not speak out for a democratic way of resolving the tensions.”

    Not at all. The EU has a very high embarrassment threshold.

    In fact the EU is delighted with the situation.

    They want to see the break-up of the existing nation states and do not care how it happens.

    Divide, weaken and conquer is their long-term plan.

    They will be working hard on Miss Sturgeon and Miss Wood.

  40. Mark B
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    This all very predictable and from these very pages many, including myself, knew that the actions of the Spanish government would drive many moderate people into the arms of what I regard as sudo-nationalists. If the Spanish government still refuses Catalonia a vote then this will only get worse. The Madrid government has been truly humiliated.

  • 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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