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Sunday, 8 October 2017

Spain blocks any meaningful dialogue over Catalonia

The next few days will be critical for hopes of a peaceful resolution to the Catalan crisis. 

El Pais sets out most clearly the Spanish position;
As things stand today, the Spanish Constitution does not contemplate the right to secession. It obliges all powers to preserve the unity of the state and to guarantee that sovereignty will remain in the hands of all Spaniards.

Accepting a dialogue, mediation or negotiation that might lead to a legal, agreed-to referendum with a binding option for Catalan secession from Spain entails opening up a negotiation for constitutional reform between the governments of Spain and Catalonia, and this is something that the central government cannot do unilaterally, much less under pressure or through international mediation.

The only body that can reform the Constitution is Congress – where Catalans are also represented, by the way. To this should be added all the citizens of Spain, who would have to be consulted in a national referendum.
And there you have it; Spain is indivisible, self-determination, even for a population that meets international criteria for a separate people, will not be permitted. With all offers of external mediation rejected, and Catalans not given the slightest hope of a legal referendum, Catalan leaders are being forced into an unlawful and unwarranted declaration of independence, or abject surrender to Madrid's rule. 

This is not the way to deal with devolution in the 21st century. Even at this hour I hope calmer heads will prevail to avert what would be a catastrophe for the peoples of Spain and Catalonia.


Timbotoo said...

Have you seen the demonstration in Barcelona today In favor of keeping the Catalunia in Spain? According to most accounts there were well over one million participants, far more than the separatists could muster. This is the real (silent) majority in Catalonia.

Timbotoo said...

BTW, El Pais is generally considered a left of centre newspaper, usually highly critical of the Rajoy government.

Raedwald said...

It was big ... yet the Spanish police put the number at 350,000 rather than a million. The question is would they be in the majority were there to br a referendum in Catalonia?

Until they actually have a proper, legal plebescite, overseen by external observers, we just won't know.

DeeDee99 said...

So Spaniards from the rest of Spain will ultimately decide if Catalonia should even have an opportunity to secede, which they won't because they rely on Catalonia for fiscal transfers.

I can't think of anything more likely to lead to civil war.

Rossa said...

Main 'peaceful' option for Rajoy appears to be invoking article 155 of their constitution which suspends Catalonia's autonomy, removes their Govt., and a new election. We'll see today what the response is if independence is debated or even declared. Catalonia faces a stark choice, secede or capitulate. Either way this will not end well. As for that march yesterday, the facist salutes and slogans didn't help the optics in the media around the world.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Fascists were abroad yesterday and in Spain there are some seriously violent nutters just waiting for the fun to start. As I've said before, Spain is a collection of peoples geographically with Madrid drawn at its centre, in much of Spain there is not much love for Madrid but some strange longing to stay within the clutches of the robber barons in Berlin.

Rajoy is still playing hard ball, the Spanish banks are still massively over extended, Spain teeters on the brink of a financial and civil catastrophe.

Certainly, for a start Rayoy needs to be told to pack his bags but then, Berlin is backing the Spanish junta to the hilt, why am I not surprised.

I think that there will be a cooling period but the stresses and fractures are not easily healed and maybe not treatable. Ball in Catalunya's [Government] court - I'd say for now.

Poisonedchalice said...

Major businesses are now voting with their feet as they have little to lose in leaving Catalunya. Although I do believe in Burke's little platoons, there is also the counter argument in this case, of stronger together - much the same as Scotland.

Anonymous said...

I'm in two minds about this, because a split of this sort will throw the cat among the pigeons in the EU (good) but I'm not sure that it is good for Catalunya or Spain, or for that matter us and the Scottish part of us. On the other hand, we let the Paddies go, and although they kick off now and then, on the whole it worked. Indeed, there seem to be more of them in the UK than in Eire, so that tells you a lot.

Raedwald said...

'Stronger Together' is a slogan beautiful in its simplicity with a truth that anyone can see - but it MUST be voluntary. Currently, the Scots haven't moved from the 44% for - 56% against split of the 2014 referendum and so long as the UK keeps devolving tax and spend I think it will stay that way.

You simply can't use military force to 'keep' a people with a separate identity, against their will - it just doesn't work. The rights of freedom that we demand for ourselves we must also make available to others.

Doug Shoulders said...

In Catalunya there is a barely concealed contempt for the south of the country who they view as idlers. (They still siesta down there)
It would be interesting to see how much the tourist industry brings in compared with the fruits of the more industrially and financially bent north.
Additionally, their agribusiness revenues have been severely hit by those countries outside the EU who sell into the EU (Think cherry tomatoes from Egypt for example).
The property market for places in the sun has tanked. There are no language problems for immigrants from South America, come to work and send their earnings back home. Romanians are evident in mugging statistics and there are swathes of young African men just wandering around Barcelona.
Spain received mucho dinoro for infrastructure upgrade when joining the EU. La Familia Sagrada continuous build program, the high speed Barca Madrid train etc. The EU will be having that money back… muchas gracias y el tax?.
For the Spanish the EU socialist dream turning into a nightmare.

Timbotoo said...

There is always a play on numbers for any demonstration., but if most of the newspapers and tv channels say it was a million, it was probably closer to two! ;-)
An easy empirical way of calculating it is to measure the area occupied and divide by three people per sq m.

I think reality is starting to bite at the separatists. Apart from the size of the demo which took them completely by surprise, as they think they "own" the streets is the fact that many big companies are packing their bags to move fiscal centers to Madrid, Valencia etc. this will mean a separate Catalonia will have the status of a third world basket case.

The Falange is an insignificant number of sentimentalists. Unimportant except for photo ops.

Also, the Constitution of 1978 which defines Spain was voted and approved massively in Catalonia as in the rest of Spain. Upon the death of Franco Spain passed from a dictatorship to a democracy by legal means. A fact of which most spanisrds are immensely proud.

Domo said...

Votes matter
Not marches

Domo said...

Also, the Constitution of 1978 which defines Spain was voted and approved massively in Catalonia as in the rest of Spain.

The right to self determination is inalienable
It cannot be surrendered
Especially by someones grandparents

Timbotoo said...

The rules work for everyone or they work for nobody. The law is the same for everyone, or should be. Case in point, the Mossos will probably have to be disbanded as they have shown themselves to be too much of a political police force; aligned with a political project supported by a minority of Catalans. Brownshirts much?

I suppose most of the people who voted in the referendum of 1978 are now grandparents. So what?

There are plenty of Spanish more than willing to help those who do not feel part of the project to pack their bags and leave.

Rossa said...

“I suppose most of the people who voted in the referendum of 1978 are now grandparents. So what? ”

Most of the people who supported Britain joining the Common Market changed their mind when the years until the Brexit vote showed what the EU actually was meant for and where it planned to go in the future. Rightly or wrongly, people do change their minds about what is best for them as time moves on and vote accordingly. Times waits for no-one.