Catalunya declared independence last night after the yes vote for independence from Spain on Sunday 1st October 2017. A referendum that was held under the most disgusting physical and democratic attacks by the fascist Spanish Government and Police storm troopers.
The response from the EU has been both predictable and depressing to say the least.
Of course the democrats of Westminster have wasted no time in announcing they will not recognise the Catalunya declaration, again to be expected and depressingly so.
The Scottish Government must raise a motion to recognise Catalunya as an independent Republic and give the three unionist parties the opportunity to vote against or abstain. This is a chance for all of Scotland to see their views on democracy, I think it will show its only democracy on their terms.
I personally welcome Catalunya and wish them all the best in the battle they are about to face, and it will be a battle.
I think this also shows the true EU in all its glory, you still sure an independent Scotland will be recognised because you bet the next referendum will not have Westminster agreement and the EU just gave them a huge truncheon for which they can use against us.
Ashamed of the EU this morning, ashamed and will never vote to join that club.
Still throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I see.
Ok, so we’ve established the current management of the EU is not up to the task. Fine. Seek a way to replace those managers, rather than imploding the entire alliance.
As for the EU potentially treating Scotland the same, that is a wilful misunderstanding of the different situations.
Catalonia: Part of Spain. Spain is an EU member with no intentions to leave. Spain has a constitution against secession and has consistently opposed it.
Scotland: Part of UK. UK is leaving the EU, in a rancorous and unfriendly way. UK has no constitution and has allowed a precedent to be set for how to achieve independence peacefully and legally, with a Holyrood majority as the starting point. As weaselly as it is, May does have a legal right to delay IndyRef2 until the end of this Holyrood term(2020-2021 or so). Recently, the EU said it wanted any transition period to be over by December 2020 – hmm!
It’s fairly evident that neither the UN, CoE nor EU actually recognises the right to unlimited self-determination – the declarations upon the subject are quite wishy-washy and seem to be limited to former colonies. I believe the reason the EU hasn’t expressed stronger support for Scottish Independence in the last year and half is because they still hope the whole UK can be convinced to stay a member – and of course, none of our polls shows a majority Yes yet.
You cannot be serious that the Catalan vote was fair and democratic. It wasn’t! The Spanish police saw to that quite thoroughly by consficating ~750,000 votes and who knows how many more stayed home because they feared violence. Whilst I agree and believe that up to 51% of registered Catalans wanted independence, nobody knows for sure due to a sabotaged referendum.
I respect their right to take unilateral action, but another election isn’t such a bad thing – as long as that IS a fair and democratic process by removing spanish police from Catalunya, not banning pro-Indy candidates, etc.. Rajoy will be in a hell of a spot if Puigdemonte is re-elected as President with a mandate to continue the process of independence.
Has any struggle for independence ever been fair and easy? In this, as with everything else, life is hard.
I am not looking for the EU to fail, their actions, or lack of action, will result in that failure. The only way to change the EU is via EU elections, but with increasing movements in other countries dedicated to leave that will become more and more difficult to achieve, so longer term the project will fail, sadly. The ideal of the EU is something I support but the actual delivery of it is a failure for me and I just can’t see that changing anytime soon as long as vested interest and free market right wing politicians and autocrats control the levers of power.
I accept that 750,000 people were unable or chose not to vote in the Catalonia referendum but that does not make the vote any more illegitimate, it is for people to vote. The next Scottish referendum may well result in unionists refusing to turn out, will that make a YES vote void? I don’t believe that it does, again people need to go out and vote and if they chose to put their choice into the hands of those who do vote then they have to accept the result. Will the EU respect a referendum result not recognised by Westminster, even if the UK is out of the EU, I don’t think they will as it would need every member to agree and Spain will not.
I don’t believe that Spain will allow a fair and free election, from what I have read Spain will ban independence parties and politicians from standing or campaigning, what will the EU do then? I suspect that they will sadly stand on the side-lines doing and saying nothing as that is their approach to date. You are of course correct that no independence campaign has been easy, or even free from violence, but there comes a point where those struggles should be behind us. Call me an idealist but people are not slaves and it is time we make the politicians see that because the alternative is mindless subjugation or violence.
Violence is the last thing I want to see but we may be looking at the return of the Basque separatist movement or similar, we may see the return of violence in N Ireland as the polls get closer regarding a united Ireland and a vote becomes more and more likely. Failure to recognise legitimate votes can only result in one thing and it takes us back to the politics of 30s and 40s and all that that entails. My opinion might be seen to be alarmist but I really don’t think I am that far off the mark and speaking to older people like my own Mother there is a feeling of having been here before, certainly my Mothers view.
This all ends badly and does not bode well for our own struggle, Westminster will not agree to another referendum, they know there is every chance they lose, where do we go then?
Thanks for the discussion as always, at least we can right now, it we were in Spain this blog would already be blocked.
Bruce, I’m not talking about abstentions or boycotters when I refer to the 750,000 votes. Those were votes which had been marked, folded up and put into a ballot box… and then stolen and destroyed before they could be counted. Whether the Spanish police targeted heavily Yes areas or areas where a lot of No votes to turn out is immaterial – the vote as a fair and democratic mechanism was undermined.
Any, ANY, sort of election where this occurs is invalid. It is outrageous, but is it really surprising that the losing side would seek to undermine the legitimacy? Unfortunately, they succeeded. History will remember this, though. Certainly, the Catalans will. And if they are not killed in large numbers, they should be able to try again and again and again. Every time they indicate a preference for independence and Spain ignores it, it shames Spain.
This is just a horrible disaster from the EU’s perspective. Spain’s instragience is the problem and the EU can’t oppose that because of Spain’s veto, because of the lack of international support for Catalonia and because the EU has no policing powers over its member states and no means of obtaining any, since virtually every member state would veto any attempt. It does not have an army yet – European defence is mostly done by NATO. Which Spain is also part of.
Let’s say that Juncker and the rest, they all condemn Spain. Great. Then what? Spain will just give them the finger and go back to directly ruling Catalonia. The EU has just demonstrated it is powerless and provoked a crisis it can only win with the unyielding support of the other 26(or 27) members. The first rule of leadership is? Never give an order you know will not be obeyed. The consequences of Spain’s disobedience would push the EU into a real power crisis which could see Spain leave the EU and proceed to turn Barcelona into Aleppo, requiring the rest of the EU to invade Spain. Welcome to the Third Great War of Europe – in which I fear that Spain and the United Kingdom would be on the same side, despite the Gibraltar dispute.
Think that’s crazy? Well, just remember exactly what was going on 100 years ago today and how it all started. As abhorrent as the violence in Catalonia has been, I don’t think anyone died. That is a line which has not been crossed yet and Brussels is desperate for it to not be crossed.
I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that more and more European countries want to leave. The British MSM, perhaps? Hardly an unbiased observer. Let’s look at the evidence. Marine Le Pen? Second worst presidential result in the history of French elections. Netherlands? Wilders’ party did not break through and they have no allies. Germany? The popular vote for AfD was smaller than the popular vote for UKIP in 2015 was, in percentage terms. Czech? Their new first place party is only mildly eurosceptic and is mainly opposed to external immigration. Austria’s OVP is broadly similar to Germany’s CDU/CSU. Italy’s upcoming election? The Five Star Movement is anti-elite, not anti-EU.
I think that’s a distinction we should be aware of. Being anti-elite does not require being anti-EU as a whole. If all the EU’s member states elect more radical, anti-elite, reformist parties, then Brussels will change to follow their tune.
But it won’t happen top-down. This is something which has to climb up, from the bottom to the top. Beyond that, all the EU can do is attempt to maintain a status quo which will ultimately see the Catalan parliament restored in time and allow it to resume its push for independence and attempt to prevent the wholesale killing from starting.
Ever stopped to think that a fucking civil war is exactly what Rajoy has been intentionally fuelling for the past few years? That he’s decided a victorous war would make him and his government look decisive to the rest of Spain. Like Thatcher and her Falklands. I’ve seen the pro-Spain videos from Madrid too, of people cheering on the police heading to Barcelona. That is what Rajoy is truly pursuing. Vilify the Catalans, give them a bit of a kicking and be rewarded by Castilan Spain for it.
I knew of boxes being removed but wasn’t aware it was so many but I still don’t think it makes the vote void in any way. Catalonia has declared independence on the basis of the vote and they it looks like they have the support of the people of the EU if social media polls are anything to go by. Maybe not scientific or something the EU will take notice of right now but it will build momentum and it will be the politicians who will look out of touch at the end of the day. Craig Murray and Lesley Riddoch make some really good points and I think they have excellent judgement.
Spain can have their membership suspended if the EU decides and a veto would not make any difference in that case, any increase in violence from Spain and the smaller EU countries I think will start to take things seriously and no matter what Germany or France want it will put the EU under pressure. There are movements like the Dutch Freedom Party, Front National, the Northern League in Italy, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Swedish Democrats, AfD in Germany, DPP in Denmark and there are more and all growing in popularity. Like UKip they were no where 10 years ago but now they win seats and increasing votes, that momentum builds over time especially when the EU can be portrayed as denying democracy.
I don’t think Spain wants another civil war, it will kill off their economy and much of the sympathy it currently gets once the soldiers are back on the streets. Like the UK with N Ireland, if the troubles start you can bet the USA start to put a lot of pressure on the UK and probably for a united Ireland which will lead to an independent Scotland in my mind in that scenario.
It is certainly interesting times. Thanks for such an excellent response and a lot of food for thought and some new learning.
EFTA is not only the fastest way back into the single market, it is also the best medium term (10 years+) destination for Scotland.
Given how I am feeling about the EU EFTA is probably about as much as I would be able to accept and that’s at a push. Saying that we are a few years away from worrying about it anyway.
Thanks for commenting.
I have thought long and hard about this topic as it raises a number of interesting issues. On the one hand, there was a vote of sorts and my heart says that should be respected. My brain, and probably the public lawyer coming out in me, says it was an illegal vote, and breaking the law is just as much an affront to democracy and indeed, less than 50% of people voted in that vote anyway, so I cannot say I am wholly convinced that this is the will of the catalonian-spanish people. In my view the Spanish Government should grant a proper vote for the region, and only then can we know. For the time being in my honest view, democracy is being ignored by declaring “independence”.
I do not think my view makes me an elitist, bigot or against working class or anything or indeed a tory like you often say. It is my balanced conclusion when considering all the facts.
The problem is the Spanish Constitution, like Westminster, is such a fix democratically that Catalonia has very few options if Spain is not willing to act with some sort of decency regarding the question of independence, as I said has very few options. Scotland will be in the same boat the next time also, the UN might recognise Catalonia or at the very least call for fair referendum but who knows. The EU’s actions have been nothing short of a joke and it has turned me off the project even more but as you know I am more inclined to support EFTA than full membership anyway. The way the EU is going though it may not survive the long term anyway. Breaking an unjust law is not an affront to democracy, it is a moral duty.
Thanks for commenting.