Catalan Independence? Democracy dies in Spain.

With reference to the above Torra has said that a declaration of Cospodal is intolerable.
“Si ETA no consiguió acabar con España no van a conseguir acabar con ella ni Puigdemont ni Torra”.
If ETA couldn't finish Spain then neither Puigdemont nor Torra are going to".

OK she's playing for the party leadership but it comes back to the mentioning ETA and independentistes in the same sentence to bring them together in people's minds. It appeals to the nationalism in Spain which people like Hasdrubal adhere to, and hence casts the independentistes as an enemy to be finished rather than people to talk to.
Finally it also raises the 'finish Spain' concept. It seems that Spain will cease to be if independence happens, which is simply an unintelligent idea. Yet for many Spanish the concept of breaking Spain is very real and perceived as a threat.
The only way I can see it is that their self-image and concept of what Spain is and what it is to be Spanish is at stake. Rather than accept that times and peoples evolve the dinosaurs raise their heads, rather like the old crusties in the mess when change is mentioned.

Again this is not all Spanish, but a significant portion by all accounts, enough for the politicians to play to the gallery anyway.
 
It seems that the PSOE government sees the way ahead with Catalunya as improving the system of finance.

All well and acceptable, but the other autonomies might pose problems here.

Also as the problem is not financially based it won't go away, it might lower its head for a time but it will still be there.

That said it is positive that a Madrid Government is willing to do something at least and get heads together to talk not to bang against walls.
Long may the improvements continue.
 
Thank you @Hasdrubal for some very nice wildlife videos which I do enjoy.

Here is one about another form of wildlife that exists in Spain and is permitted.

 
Lovely images of Spanish wildlife!
The not so lovely images of the Falangistas probably one of their their meetings (pilmigrage) where their founder (Primo de Rivera) is buried in the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen).

Here's a link for those interested:
Spain to begin civil war exhumations at Valley of the Fallen

In essence,The Valley of the Fallen is supposed to be a monument to the fallen during the civil war. In actual fact it has become more of a tourist attraction, and since Franco is buried there, a centre of pilmigrage for right wing elements of Spanish society. I have to say that the Falangists have very very little support now a days.

Interestingly one of the few agendas that is going to be pursued by the new government is the transfer of the remains of Franco to another as yet undecided place.

Other promises like, hold a general election as soon as possible and renegotiate the budgets of the autonomies have gone to the back boiler, we shall be a bit wiser after the meeting between the Presidents.
 
Nice of Hasdrubal to give us a travel tour round his country.

Things in the news.

Sanchez met with Dame Angela, and it's nice to see a Spanish PM speaking fairly good English for the first time.
On the agenda was a discussion about Puigdemont, and though while Angela said that justice will take its course and is independent I do wonder if the Prosecution will receive a discreet phone call or two.

As to the prisoners Sanchez is actually doing something, he is talking about moving ETA prisoners to Basque prisons which makes sense and has said that he has no problem about Catalan prisoners being in Catalan jails. (It means the families don't have to trek between 600-1,000 kms for a visit.)
That may be so but he seems to be assuming guilt before the trial.

Llarenas has decided to definitively prosecute the prisoners on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of funds. It seems a new government and all this talk of moving prisoners has finally stirred him from his long migidiada* or siesta in Spanish.
It also affects the votes in the Catalan Parliament as they now cannot vote.
Interesting programme running tonight on TV3 or I'd give a link showing that on the 20 Sept, for which they were arrested sanchez and Guixart were actively trying to calm things down and advocating peaceful demonstrations.



*Pron. Midge dee adder.
 
Sanchez has told the independentistes that they should turn the page after 1 Oct and move on.
To a point I agree, we need new ideas and strategies certainly, and need to develop a dialoging relationship with Madrid.
Yet it still smacks of being told to shut up and get on with it, and as partner says "I will never forget nor forgive 1 Oct." Well actually she said, "Ni oblidaré ni puc oblidar el 1 de octubre".

It's not just 1 Oct though, it's the whole treatment by Madrid over the entire period and the disdain with which Catalunya and the independentistes were treated by the PP government.
To be told to just pick up where we left off is no longer acceptable, especially when the government appears not to be changing its essence.

Sanchez has also said he will talk with Torra but within the legal framework. This is exactly what we heard before, yet he should at least talk about things, acting is another kettle of fish.
Torra has said he will not discard unilateralism and wishes that to be on the table.
IMO that is correct, it needs to be talked over.

Today in Washington in a Catalan centre he expressed his desire that Catalunya will soon join the nations of the world as a state in its own right.
Setting down markers before the talks.
 
The question is now being asked how far is Sanchez merely nice words, and how far real changes?

So far there has not been any substantial change towards catalunya with the major exception of his being prepared to sit down and talk.

I do note that his first port of call was the Basques to confirm the budget which gives them a big bag of swag. Flanks secured he can now face Torra.

He will exhume Franco as @Civiliam has said, which personally I think is not a bad move as the Valley of the Fallen should be a memory for everybody not just the Nationalists. Yet many who harbour memories of the Republic and who lost relatives in the Civil war will continue to see it as a monument to Fascist Spain.

But while this will cause a storm in certain quarters, and is a significant move, it is still smoke and bells with real change yet to be on the agenda.
 
Update from that in the news.

Sanchez will study moving those ETA prisoners who are over 70.

Supreme Tribunal has rejected appeals against the judicial process against the prisoners. The grounds are that it is possible to have rebellion without use of arms or violence, or if it induces a third party to do so.
-State uses violence and blames the recipients apparently.

Interestingly the last case of rebellion was by the military plotters against the Republic in 1936.
 
Sanchez made a mistake in the way he expressed his turning the page comment.
Tarda of ERC accused him of dynamiting the talks before they have begun.
Meanwhile on the other hand the PP/C front are accusing him of making secret agreements with the independentistes.

This will make the talks difficult for Sanchez. But the lines remains clear, and the red line of the State is the constitution, so in that sense there is no change.
Plus, to quote Fernando Onega, In Spain it has to be black and white, and third ways don't exist. This means it will be difficult to find middle ground and have both sides making concessions.

Torra is also digging in by saying that he will start from the decision of 1 Oct. Also that he will put forward the idea of an agreed referendum with the government.

Many independentistes have come round to the conclusion that new ways of doing things have to be found, and that confrontation has led to a defeat. ERC reflects this, but Torra apparently doesn't, unless he is using unilateralism as a bargaining tool.

Sanchez has stated that the solution will not be found in a year or two, or even six, in this he is totally correct, and I don't know if there ever can be a solution while Spain insists on the status quo.
But insisting on unilateralism at this point in time can only harden the Spanish stance and reactions.
 
Would an agreed referendum be the answer? Actually it might. If Sanchez plays it right, offers national identity within the state, and works to bring round the independentistes in the middle ground he would probably get a good result. Certainly the independence movement would likely not get an overwhelming majority even if they won.

There are quite a number of Catalans who like me see that independence in the short term is off the table and that confrontation also is a dead-end, though there are many who are die-hards. Negotiating so that both sides can breathe and come away with something positive, not money, would be acceptable to many.

Where I live 1 Oct gave on a 60% vote a 96% in favour, so an approximate 60% yes, given that many couldn't vote and the noes mainly stayed away.
In Tarragona that would drop a bit, and in Barcelona a lot more.
The majority grows if you only include Catalans, or those who speak it, the Spanish only speakers are more against, though not all.
So Sanchez could give a referendum but require a 60%+ vote to win and would probably get the result he wants.
That would mean the immediate Process stops, though the work on the longer term would continue. This will run for time now, especially after the PP's actions.
 
Tomorrow is the big day, the new Spanish and Catalan governments meet, it would seem there are no surprises expected.
The Spanish government has already made it clear that here will be no movement on independence and the Catalan parliament voted on Thursday to continue their pursuit of unilateral independence, this was immediately referred it to the Spanish judiciary to be challenged.

The new Spanish government has admitted that the Catalans has been short changed by some 20% on what was allocated to them in this years budget. They will be able to negotiate on this 20% deficit but no additional funds will be made available since they are sticking to the previous governments budget. Presumably next years budget will open for negotiation.

As Dwarf says there seems to be little chance of any change in the next few years, the big question is how population of Cataluna is going to evolve, will there be more or less separatists.
Will the Catalan education system produce more separatist and will the migrant population negate that growth?
 
Not exactly. Torra has not discarded unilateralism as an option.

Sanchez seems to be saying that if the separatists renounce the option then he might talk about initiatives.
But his baseline is essentially that of Rajoy, except that he is prepared to sit down and talk. How far that is pure facade and how far he is willing to make real changes is to be seen.
He hasn't got room to manoeuvre, even after conceding that the prisoners could be transferred to Catalan jails, now effective, the right kicked up about secret pacts with the separatists.
Absolute rubbish because they don't want them in any jails at all, they want them out.
But the PP and Cs howled about putting them in prisons in control of the Generalitat, as if they will be sprung the next day. Ridiculous if you pause to think for about two seconds but resounds well with a certain mindset.

Torra's unilateralism might be part of the negotiating ploy in that he will be willing to put it on the back burner if talks progress in other areas.

He has said he will propose a pacted referendum, Sanchez has said no way.
Pity, it would solve a lot of issues.
 
What is the real stance of the Spanish government casting aside the facade?

Even if the Spanish Government wanted to negotiate (which they don't) they would find the key separatists demand would be unconstitutional, so they could amicably chat about it but not negotiate.

It would seem that the Spanish Constitution would have to be changed before meaningful negotiations could take place, this would have a torturous route through the Courts if it ever reached the starting point.

As far as I can see, at this time there is no gain for the Spain in giving the Catalans independence, apart from maybe political/moral harmony, so why should they even contemplate it?

Unilateral indepence has already has already been proclaimed by the Catalans but in reality its only led temporarily loosing some of their autonomous rights, it all sounds a bit negative at the moment.

Sanchez, with his few seats in Parliament will be treading very carefully since the latest he can delay a general election is 2020, and there local elections are due 2019.

A strongly worded interview published in the Spanish press, but is this the feeling in Spain?(in Spanish).
The headline gives the flavour of the whole interview.
"Con la Constitución no hay más margen que su cumplimiento"
loosely translated 'In the Constitution the only margin is enforcement'

Carmen Calvo: "Con la Constitucio hay más margen que su cumplimiento"
 
Would an agreed referendum be the answer? Actually it might. If Sanchez plays it right, offers national identity within the state, and works to bring round the independentistes in the middle ground he would probably get a good result. Certainly the independence movement would likely not get an overwhelming majority even if they won.

There are quite a number of Catalans who like me see that independence in the short term is off the table and that confrontation also is a dead-end, though there are many who are die-hards. Negotiating so that both sides can breathe and come away with something positive, not money, would be acceptable to many.

Where I live 1 Oct gave on a 60% vote a 96% in favour, so an approximate 60% yes, given that many couldn't vote and the noes mainly stayed away.
In Tarragona that would drop a bit, and in Barcelona a lot more.
The majority grows if you only include Catalans, or those who speak it, the Spanish only speakers are more against, though not all.
So Sanchez could give a referendum but require a 60%+ vote to win and would probably get the result he wants.
That would mean the immediate Process stops, though the work on the longer term would continue. This will run for time now, especially after the PP's actions.
I wrote about it previously. There is a precedent in Europe. I mean the referendum in Montenegro.
Montenegrin independence referendum, 2006 - Wikipedia
European Union envoy Miroslav Lajčák proposed independence if a 55% supermajority of votes are cast in favor with a minimum turnout of 50%, a determination that prompted some protests from the pro-independence forces. The Council of the European Union unanimously agreed to Lajčák's proposal, and the Đukanović government ultimately backed down in its opposition
As a result
An independence referendum was held in Montenegro on 21 May 2006.[1] It was approved by 55.5% of voters, narrowly passing the 55% threshold. By 23 May, preliminary referendum results were recognized by all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, suggesting widespread international recognition if Montenegro were to become formally independent.
The idea that such an important decision as independecne needs a supermajority is logical. It is possible to discuss would it be 55% or 60%. But 50%+1 vote principle will not be accepted by Madrid and will not be supported by the international community. Unilateral independence will not be internationally recognised.
I understand that the separatist leaders have a hard choice
- if the agree with 60% supermajority principle they most likely will not win
- if they reject the supermajority principle then there will be no any referendum.
 
I've just sat down and watched the evaluation of the meeting, which lasted two and a half hours, by the new Vice-president.

Partner got quite emotional over the tone and obvious intelligence of the woman, and the fact that a government is prepared to talk, negotiate and work with Catalunya instead of veteoing everything and simply saying no all the time. She says that we have arrived where we have because the PP couldn't /wouldn't/ didn't want to do anything else.

The meeting was cordial with a number of positive points but at the end of the day neither government nor Generalitat have changed position over the independence movement.
Carmen Calvo said that in no government in the world is there enshrined the right to auto-determination, which statement contrasts with the UN Declaration, and the examples of Scotland and Quebec. So that is situation no change there.
Persistent questioning by the journos about if Torra had renounced the unilateral position met with an intelligent response to the effect that the meeting was the first in years and that you can't solve the problem in two minutes, but that both presidents had stated their position and that the positions were understood both before and after the meeting.

She also talked about things that the PSOE government was prepared to do, which involve the restoration of certain measures by the Generalitat vetoed by the PP, apparently because they felt like it. These involve social, and environmental measures which were designed to alleviate hardships and promote more environmental awareness.
Also she said they were prepared to talk about initiatives like the Mediterranean Corridor which would benefit Catalunya and Spain.
Also she said that it was the obligation of the government to respect the Catalan Statute, something that had not happened recently.
There were many digs at the PP in that sense.
But the two presidents worked at a lot of things together.

The position of the PSOE is clear, they will try to get the Catalans back onside by promoting initiatives in Catalunya and giving them the things that they should have had before. But the red lines will not be crossed.
They state that political problems need a political solution, something avoided by the PP.

So in a nutshell, initiatives for Catalunya but no political sea-change over independence.

Sanchez has two years before elections and can't move far now, but what he can do he will on the grounds of giving Catalunya what is their due and reconciling Catalans with Spain.
It's a lot more than the PP gave.
 
Listening to Torra's evaluation just now it is not only hopeful, but novel to hear a Catalan President speaking positively about a meeting with a Spanish president.

He said that it had been cordial and positive, that a lot of ground had been covered, some agreements had been reached and that both men had been able to state their position frankly. That they had been able to talk about the problems even when coming from from totally different positions.
That this was a first meeting and that obviously the problem that had lasted such a time can't be solved in a couple of hours, but that it was certainly a positive step.

In response to certain questions he said that he will be prepared to support the government on certain things such as the 'Ley Mordaza' brought in by the PP. This declared certain liberties of expression,demonstration or information to be illegal, a very authoritarian legislation.
Plus the debate over the valley of the Fallen, removal of Franco, and over the Francisco Franco Foundation and similar things.

He stated that he had not asked for a pacted referendum, but that he had stated his position that Catalanism is only asking for the ability to decide the future of Catalunya democratically, which implies voting. And directly to the spanish journalist asking about it that they be able to vote freely without being clubbed while they do.

All in all he was pleased that the government recognised that a political problem requires a political solution and that they had been able to talk freely, something the PP had no interest in doing.
 

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