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Friday, 21 September 2012

The spectre of a Spanish Yugoslavia?

Back in June I blogged on the danger to Spanish unity of Berlaymont's moves to restrict the powers of the Autonomous Communities. The Spanish regions see themselves as states making up a Federation, and most actually maintain separate 'embassies' in Brussels. They control 38% of Spain's public expenditure compared with 18% controlled by the central government. In many ways they are the model of the sort of European Federation that Barroso expounded last week.

As the war of words between Catalunya and Madrid begins to heat to an alarming temperature, the Spanish military is exhibiting the sort of sabre-rattling one may expect from the central State. In response to threats of full Catalun independence
A serving army officer, Colonel Francisco Alaman, has fuelled the flames by comparing the crisis with 1936 – when Gen Francisco Franco seized power – and by vowing to crush Catalan nationalists, described as “vultures”. “Independence for Catalunya? Over my dead body. Spain is not Yugoslavia or Belgium. Even if the lion is sleeping, don’t provoke the lion, because he will show the ferocity proven over centuries,” he said.
Strangely, this crisis in Spain has been provoked by Brussels - see my June blog. It may be that this is deliberate; there is, after all, nothing so effective as the prospect of a Spanish Yugoslavia to get Germany to empty her handbag. But if so they are playing with fire.


G. Tingey said...

The levels of arrogant stupidity displayed are really scary....

Anonymous said...

What ordinary people do not understand about the nature of the EU is that it has regionalisation built into its DNA.

So where there are Member states built out of ancient unions or con/federations, the EU does everything it can to undermine the centre.

It has been tried twice in the UK, using the known and published EU regional map, on both occasions the vector was that Prescott insect, and both times it was strongly rejected by the usual suspects, and also a mini-referendum in the North-east, possibly on the basis that he thought that they would vote for typhoid if it had a red rosette... Not so stupid though, are the folk from round those parts.

I am no fan of the United Kingdom, I suspect most people aren't either, most people regard themselves as English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish on these islands, with most Irish having sensibly left the union almost a century back. Remember that the head of this union has stabbed the people in the back several times now, beginning in 1972 with the ECA.

The current underhanded method being used by the EU (empire builders) is to undermine the old UK, by persuading the Scots that they would be much better off out of the UK and using the Euro...

It might just work too...

However, I think the Spanish (particularly in the context of proper regional funding), might be a different kettle of stinkin' fish.

I would like to see parliament organised in a completely different way... see the "Harrogate Agenda"...

However, in the meantime, the EngNat and UKIP vision of "English days" in Westminster, to balance out Holyrood, the Senedd and Stormont talking shops, is a neat temporary measure.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Let's see what the Vatican says eh?

Juan Carlos siding with the military?

Not exactly a rerun of 1936 - but a lot of the same tensions are there.

EU peacekeepers in Spain anybody?

FrankS said...

Maybe Spain will host the dress rehearsal for the next European war...

Sebastian Weetabix said...

The eurocrats are certainly arrogant but they they are very far from stupid and they play a very long game. If you have ambitions to really run the show and be a European state in the proper sense of the word it is necessary to dispense with the national governments.

If Brussels succeeds in gaining total control of the money supply in the face of the Bundesbank and continues to egg the regions on there is no reason why they shouldn't succeed. Divide and rule.

Edward Spalton said...


I think your sentiments show how very successful the EU-inspired programme of "asymetric devolution" has been in setting people in the UK against each other. There was rivalry before but it was generally friendly.

Of course, people are fed up with Westminster: it behaves the way it does because it is Brussels' poodle and it is not surprising that, given the false encouragement of devolution, people should look to the sham of "independence in Europe". The Foreign Office was pushing the regional agenda in 1971 to take people's minds off the powerlessness they would feel in thirty years' time. That was foreseen.

Of course, a politically divided British isles would be militarily indefensible and that has been the aim of every would-be dominant European power since 1707.

Previous to the EU project, British politicians would have had that at the backs and fronts of their minds.

Ian Hills said...

Another beneficial crisis, just like the euro, and just as planned. Call out eurogendfor, the Brussels bootboys.

G. Tingey said...

right_w & E Spalton
Except the EU have just completely screwed the vile Salmond's agenda, by telling them that a completely inde[endantr Scotland would have to join the EU as A COMPLETELY NEW NATION, with all the pettifoggin bureaucracy that involves.

WHat we really want is a federated union of the isles, with Ireland back inside, and all sections having devo-max.
Defence is central, some co-ordination of local tax regimes, so difference=s don't get too big.
co-ordination of health & transport for similar reasons, & just about everything else managed for local parliaments...

Fortunately, if EU disillusionment progresses as it is going, this might actually happen.

Anonymous said...

right_writes: "on both occasions the vector was that Prescott insect, "

Ha ha.

Dung beetle?

Anonymous said...

write rights: "and both times it was strongly rejected by the usual suspects,"


Don't forget the original reorganization set in play by that equally repulsive Tory, Heath. He started the regionalisation agenda in this country.

Anonymous said...

FrankS: "Maybe Spain will host the dress rehearsal for the next European war..."

You mean, like it did for the last one?

Edward Spalton said...


I think you have the makings of a good scheme there but, of course, it would not be a completely new nation because it would have the same old people(s) with all their quirks and faults. The EU set out to become a completely new nation and is tending more and more to resemble the old German Reich, albeit in one of its more benign phases up to now.

I dodged the Olympic games by skulking in Ireland, speaking to eurosceptics North & South of the border. It is an interesting place but I don't think an Englishman can ever really understand it. I was talking to one deep thinking man in the South, a conservative nationalist who is also fiercely proud that one of his ancestors won a VC in the British army. It was also recently reported that Eamonn O'Cuiv, a grandson of that ultra-republican De Valera, was pushing for Ireland to rejoin the Commonwealth!

In the South, I think that the Queen's visit either marked or caused a change of mood. It's much more relaxed and natural than in the forty odd years I have been visiting on business.

Of course, there are still huge problems. Sinn Fein is by far the best funded party in the North and making electoral headway in the South. In the South it tries to cash in on anti EU sentiment; in the North it holds itself out as the party which can get along with the EU and squeeze the most grants out of it.

The ordinary people - the landladies in the bed and breakfasts we used, the shop keepers and casual conversationalists in pubs etc - for the most part had almost exactly the same gripes that we do and a very similar opinion of their political class.

G. Tingey said...

I agree.
But even "We Ourselves" might be persuaded, if things get sufficiently nasty elsewhere ...
What we (all of us, & both sides) need to do is to recognise that from the failure of Gladstone's Home Rule Bill up to about 1995 (i.e. just over 100 years, but less than 150) was a truly ghastly mistake, and that everybody did wrong and quite frankly evil things ...
Write it off to expereience, and try again.
If only because we, the peoples of the Isles, are stronger together than apart.

Edward Spalton said...

Whilst still working, I could afford to stay at Castle Leslie-a wonderful place,very unlike a hotel- no reception desk, just a few friendly spaniels in the hall. It's just two miles South of th border which (it is said) the late Sir Shane Leslie had move North, so he would be in the Free State. So he was a nationalist. You could browse in the library too and bits of correspondence from people like De Valera tended to fall out of the books. Pre 1914, he was persuaded by Winston Churchill to stand as Home Rule candidate in Londonderry.

So you are right, things could have been different with a bit of luck - but there seems to be a Bad Fairy (for want of better word) which continually mucks things up in Ireland. Sometimes I think G K Chesterton had a point
"The great Gaels of Ireland, the men that God drove mad.
For all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad"

Incidentally I wrote ( IMHO) a pretty even- handed account of De Valera's wartime neutrality which was published in both a Unionist and Nationalist journal. It attracted favourable comment on the whole but a most vituperative attack in the Nationalist one by a chap who was sure that England had engineered two world wars on innocent Germany!
You can please some of the people.............

Edward Spalton said...

I should have made it clear that it was Sir Shane Leslie not De Valera whom Winston Churchill asked to stand as a Home Rule candidate.