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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Blood and Force are no answer to Catalunya

There can be little I can write about Catalonia that has not already been said by every quality paper, every informed columnist and every intelligent journalist - that we are headed into a tragedy, that it's gone too far, that it never should have happened. And also that neither side, both so pig-headedly stupid, so intransigent, so puffed with ferocious virtue, will move. 

Blood and force will not solve the crisis, will not diminish the urge for self-determination. Civil war is not yet possible - unlike the former Jugoslavia, both sides are not in possession of military hardware. Catalonia's leaders will be consigned for the rest of their lives to grim Spanish prisons. Terrorism instead will emerge; taxes will be unpaid, ministers spat at, Civil Guards on patrol will be slaughtered, government buildings bombed, aircraft flown into the Cortes, the King assassinated, innocent lives destroyed. Eventually, after both sides are utterly sick of the bloodshed, Catalonia will regain a measure of self-government. 

Can we ever realise that we can avoid all the blood, the agony, the grief, the lost years, the economic turmoil and cut straight to the deal? Where in God's name is a Statesman or Stateswoman of stature who can halt this descent into Hell and bang both their stupid heads together? 

You cannot, you simply cannot, hold an entire people captive, subjugated, against their will. The right of self determination is inconvenient but unavoidable. That's why we agreed with Scotland's wish for a plebiscite in 2014, in which they voted No, a result (despite what the SNP may think) that both nations agree binds us for generations. We must also face the reality that Catholics in Northern Ireland will outnumber Protestants possibly within my lifetime, and if that rebalance results in a plebiscite that approves rejoining the Province to the Republic then we must learn to live with it. That's what an advanced and mature democracy does. 

For Catalonia, I pray that both sides will pull back, agree to restore the status quo ante, release the Catalonian hostages from Spanish prisons, and above all agree to a binding referendum on independence when heads are cooler, say in 2022, to allow the necessary changes to the Spanish constitution.  


Bernard said...

Where in God's name is a Statesman or Stateswoman of stature who can halt this descent into Hell and bang both their stupid heads together?
Step forward - Tony Blair. ;-)

DeeDee99 said...

The Spanish Constitution doesn't allow a route by which independence for Catalonia can be achieved by peaceful, democratic means; so violent means is the only alternative for those determined enough.

We can expect bombs to start going off in Madrid in the very near future.

Dave_G said...

Radders wrote:

There can be little I can write about Catalonia that has not already been said by every quality paper, every informed columnist and every intelligent journalist

who is he(she)? and who does he/she write for? This individual needs recognition.

Sackerson said...

JD has pointed me towards this account:

English Pensioner said...

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.

Raedwald said...

Agreed that the recent 'referendum' was unlawful, unfair and unrepresentative and agree that under the Spanish constitution the whole thing is wrong and unlawful. Western governments have no choice but to support constitutional rule of law.

Those are the legal forms. The reality is that only a legal, transparent, monitored plebiscite undertaken with the full co-operation of Spain, with a binding commitment to allow independence if the vote is 'Yes' can lance this boil. Either the separatists command a majority, or they don't. We need to have the answer.

And despite all the Catalonians' shortcomings - which are legion - until Spain makes it possible for Catalonia to sesede *democratically* then Spain breaches the fundamental conditions of the Atlantic Charter and the UN Declaration.

Sackerson said...

Well answered, I think.

Domo said...

So we should have supported the soviet union if it had crushed solidarity and poland for its unconstitutional break away from the USSR?

Raedwald said...

in Poland we insisted that the choice was made by Poles themselves in free, fair and transparent elections - just the same right as the Catalonians should have.

anon 2 said...

Well that shows us how our vile, despicable, PM stands concerning respect for referendum results. As if we didn't know already. And to think I used to consider Thatcher too big for her boots.

John M said...

Rajoy has handled this like a buffoon. What he has now set up is a situation in December where the Catalans - including I am sure many who do not want independance - are going to find themselves forced into the Polling booths by Rajoy and voting in even greater numbers for the Independance seeking parties, not because they want independance, but because they want democracy to prevail.

This problem is going to get worse, not better. If Catalonia turns out in even greater numbers, what will be the pressure on Rajoy and the Madrid Government then?

I see that Theresa May & Macron have already declared to support Rajoy. How have we put ourselves in the position where come December we will be seen to be denying peaceful democracy to those who are pining for it?

Timothy Davis U.S.of A. said...

"Blood and force will not solve the crisis,"

The peaceful part of me wants to agree with this. The part of me that has studied history knows otherwise. Blood and Iron can only be avoided when both sides want to avoid it.

My thought is that neither side in this fight wants to avoid that option.

Anonymous said...

Raedwald said:

'The right of self determination is inconvenient but unavoidable'

True, watching the crowds rejoicing at the announcement of Catalonian independence was a sight we rarely see - but may see more of as the next decade rolls out. To the left in the picture was the Basque ikurrina flag, bit like our Union flag that one. In the background just off centre was the Flemish Vlaamse Leeuw, the flag of Flanders. And finally over to the right and just in camera was the bratach na h-Alba or Banner o Scotland - the Scottish Saltire.

Interesting times ahead.


Bill Quango MP said...

Timothy Davis. History informs us that Catalan and Basque independence was a major cause of the spanish civil war of the 1930's.
High, high up on Franco's reasons to crush the Republican state was a belief that they would. Ever be strong enough to hold Spain together.

In a very bloody war some of the bloodiest acts took place in this region.
And if it's not exactly within living memory, it's certainly fresh enough to be an issue.

The Guardian, with its usual wrongful predictions, said in 2016 Spain was finally ready to talk about the long secret and shunned subject of its civil war past.
And it lamented a single cival war museum for Spain.

But I don't think such buildings are common anywhere? A museum to the English civil war only opened in 2015. 400 odd years after it was all done with.
In the US, aren't most museums local or battlefield or cometary? Is there a single US civil war museum coveting all events ?

Timbotoo said...

The central government has adopted the correct measures. The separatists have committed blatant crimes and should be punished. This is relative however. Obviously, Raedwald, you have never been in a Spanish prison, which are more like two star hotels than Alcatraz.
With a call to elections on December 21, we shall see what the Catalans think. Remember there was an enormous display of support for remaining in Spain after the October 1 referendum.
The separatists will not accept any legality except their own so this will not end well.

John M said...

That is taking a huge risk.

What do you think will happen if come December the Catalans return an even more pro-independance Government? How can Madrid continue to declare it's authority over what is a large region of Spain if they very clearly reject it?

Rajoy is resting his case on the constitution and lawyers, but any fule no that those things are valueless if the people are unwilling to consent to those rules, or do not respect them, or do not have a democratic means to enable change. That is how civil conflicts begin.

Rajoy's intransigence is only going to escalate Spain's problems. Rajoy has turned the issue from one about Catalonian independance into one about wider democracy in Spain. His actions will, I suggest, simply harden attitudes and lead to bigger conflict next year.

Timbotoo said...

Agreed it is a risk and I was surprised that Rajoy called for early elections when he had up to six months grace period from implementing art. 155. Time for heads to cool and evaluate the consequences. He doesn't really have the luxury of time as he is holding together a fragile coalition of parties who are supporting the constitutions use of 155 to varying degrees. The basque nationalist party is also nominally in favor of secession and are opposed to the use of 155. If the Catalans gain independence, they will surely be next and the last one out turn off the lights.

James Higham said...

The issue is the people in charge. The issue of Spain as an entity is another question altogether.

Anonymous said...

Some pretty good posts on here as per, even from timsbottom and Steve is spot on and similarly I did start a recce of 'independence' banners myself and I think I espied a French Catalonia effort and La Liga nord in there too.

Some humour too, spying another money spinning deal, he offered did ah la 'tony bliar' as special EU instructed peace envoy to Iberia, yeah, I see it not clearly. We witnessed, how his efforts in the ME turned out and what with the rise of Izal and Iraq and Syria torn asunder - some peace, some interfering fuqwit creaming a fat salary and doin' nowt but get in the way and filling his boots with the 'Wahhabist agenda' Gulf slush fund pipeline, the mystery a great mystery is why TF the Israelis put him up and put up with him for such a long time?

On Iberian secession, I cannot help but conclude that, the bodged, crass, idiotic response from Madrid to (admittedly) Catalunya's bodged 'illegal' referendum. It was all orchestrated by the chief fuckwits, and EU controllers and Berlin's works, irrefutably it has their WeltNWO imprimatur just so redolent of the total fucks up in Georgia, Moldova? Dacia/ Bessarabia/Transnistria whatever, [Kosova - with UN help] and not to forget the Ukraine - how's that goin' mutti? .............. thus, in Catalunya: utter calamity will ensue.

Aye, someone needs to back down but that ain't in the Spanish/Catalonian make up - unfortunately the way they're all playing it inclusive of our stupid arse of a PM "we will not recognize........." what the fuck other than appeasing and toadying up to mother Berlin what the fuck has it to do with her, why stick your oar in...WHY and before the dust has even been blown up?

Yep, on all sides the red mist is descending and I fear that the Spanish/Catalonia macho intransigence will result in a fight of the raging bulls and to the death, with all Matadors standing aside.

This is a situation where Donald J. Trump could truly make a name for himself but honing and using the tools of the studied, informed diplomat is perhaps not his key forte and therefore won't, another gap for the Russian President to fill - perhaps and wouldn't that stick the finger up to Bruxelles?

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

One of the things that's struck me about this business is the compartmentalization going on.

My Spanish isn't strong enough to follow the spoken word but there was an interesting piece on wee hours BBC about a week ago that was from a Brit married to a Spanish/Catalan lady living near Barcelona. The exclusivity of the two camps he outlined was a surprise....

The BBC reporter said the Catalan and Madrid camps seem only to subscribe to the version of reality peddled by their partisan prominent players. That lack of perspective and engagement is a pretty sure route to trouble.

There's going to be a train crash - but the participants are too busy hurling insults and chucking their weight around inside the carriages to pay attention to where the train is headed.

We get the English translation and reaction from our media / pols... and as every day passes the empty gourd of Theresa May gets used to send more messages from the gallery of Sir Humphreys that are working her mouth.

Charles said...

Mrs May is so busy being nice to the EU she will probably be in Junkers Christmas card. Given that Europe started commenting on our internal affairs and accusing us of post Brexit violence against their citizens, we should feel free to point out human rights violations, corruption and vice in Europe. I know we will not because May would faint rather than fight for her country.

By the way why did we not complain about Merkels wholesale disregard for the rules on immigration last year. Germany should be in the dock for violating eu rules but as usual nothing happens to Germany, a country that pollutes Europe with its cars, lectures us on morality while bankrupting Greece and generally behaves as if the future belongs to it.

I am off for a walk before I start thinking about this too much.

Still Spain looks like a gift that keeps on giving.

Budgie said...

It is no surprise that the SNP loves the EU. The reason is the EU loves "the regions"; including Catalonia. Concentrating on the grievances of "the Catalans" (as though they can all be put in one box) plays into the hands of the EU.

The EU becomes more powerful as the nations of Europe splinter apart. That is what the EU is aiming for. Of course there always were Scot, Catalan, Northern League separatists, but their message remained in a distinct minority until the EU provided positive feedback.

The events in Catalonia don't weaken the EU, they strengthen it - the answer really is "more Europe". It saddens me that a lot of people cannot see the real enemy here.

Anonymous said...

"It saddens me that a lot of people cannot see the real enemy here."

Spain, Rajoy and Berlin but not in order.