Friday, October 27, 2017

Constitutional Rumpus in Spain.

There is no doubt that Catalunya could be a successful state if independent from Spain. 16% of Spanish people live in Catalunya. It represents 19% of GDP, 25.6% of exports and 20.7% of foreign investment. It’s the wealthiest part of Spain. And the best football team in the world. But none of this means that it should become independent. On balance, I don’t think so.
The Catalunya regional government has declared that Catalunya is now an independent country, following an illegal referendum, which turned violent and was widely ignored by those who disapproved of it. Huge crowds are out on the streets as I type, hailing the birth of their sparkling new state. It would be easy to be influenced by the joyous celebrations and think independence is a de facto reality and inevitable. But of course it is no such thing.
The Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy has instigated a constitutional Exocet today, and declared direct rule, abolishing the Catalonian regional Govt, sacking Catalonian Prime Minister Charles Puigdemont and calling new elections for Dec 21st. The head of Catalonian Police Chief has also been sacked.  This is new territory, not only for modern Spain but for the European Union. The EU and EU countries are backing the Spanish Government, as they were bound to. The Spanish Senate is backing Prime Minister Rajoy, as it has to.
We can have no idea where all this is going. Spain in not like Britain. It doesn’t have our stable history. It’s less than 70 years since Franco took power by brute force, and held it for many decades. Millions died. I cannot see any option for the UK Govt other than to back Spain. Same applies to other EU countries and the EU itself. Looks an unbeatable coalition. But who can be certain. Just hope it doesn’t turn violent. All we can do is hope. But my confidence is nothing like as buoyant as my hopes. Next few days are going to be very interesting.

1 comment:

Cai Larsen said...

Three points:

1). The violence on the day of the referendum was entirely commited by the police force of the Spanish state.

2). Spanish law states that Gibraltar is part of the Spanish state. I'm surprised at your deferment to Spanish law given previous posts of yours.

3). Legality is problematic in this context.

Surely the principle of self determination is more important than strict legality.

The events that led to Irish independence were illegal - to put it mildly.

Much of the agitation that led to the break up of the British Empire was illegal.

Nelson Mandela led an illegal organisation.

The activities of the suffragettes were illegal.

Being Catholic has been illegal in the past.

Being gay has also been illegal.

Slovenia's cessation from the Yugoslav Republic was illegal.

I could continue keep this one going for a very, very long time, but I'm sure you get the drift.