Catalan Independence? Democracy dies in Spain.

I can't comment on Northern Ireland, very little knowledge, but presently crossing the line were children are involved opens people to be dealt with on a multitude of levels, that is a very good thing, they need to be protected. The teachers would or should have known that teaching children of Civil Guards would be a test of their impartiality and fair play.

Both Civil Guards and those Teachers lost the plot and overreacted they were in stressful situation.
The CG got away with it, the teachers not, harsh.
Events can easily be escalated by interested parties when pride, passion and nationalism are in the fold.
I am not sure what you know or don't about this particular case, but one thing is certain it has been exaggerated beyond what did happen. While the point of protecting children is valid the situation was certainly abnormal.
The day after 1 Oct many schools enabled pupils to talk through what had happened as a measure to help them understand and come to terms with what they had seen or experienced. This was seen as a necessary safety valve as the youngsters wanted to make sense of what they had witnessed.
In this particular incident two factors need to be taken into account.
First that some children were offspring of the GC stationed in Catalunya and whose parents were not part of the police deployment. The second was that at least one teacher had received the gentle ministrations of their parents' colleagues the day before.
In the talk one teacher if I am not wrong, who had been on the receiving end, called the police animals, which some kids then recounted to their parents.
Yes it could have been more tactful, yes he could have been more close mouthed, but it should never have got to court.

While appearing as a cautionary action to indoctrinating separatists, it was seen as a direct attack on the educational system here. A perfect example of how politicising and judicialising something that has a capable system of redress already in place serves to inflame both sides.

"Both Civil Guards and those Teachers lost the plot and overreacted they were in stressful situation."

The GC did not lose the plot, they were following orders and had been instructed to act thusly, there are too many examples of similar actions for them to be qualified as losing the plot. Plus the awards that they subsequently received show that their actions were approved by the political directors.
The teachers could have been less antagonistic or openly critical that I will agree, but with emotions running high it's not surprising that some were less professional than normal. But yes they were in a delicate situation with pupils loyalties, but again it should be an administrative problem.
You mean 'Aving a butchers' can't be translated? it would make an interesting and hilarious book English to Spanish translation of Cockney slang.

Ref the extradition:
If Puigdemont is sent to Spain can they prosecute him for rebellion? or can he only be prosecuted for the offence he has been extradited on?

There are already a couple of books of expressions that sound stupid in the other language, maybe another might go down well.
I'd do a Geordie - Catalan/Spanish book but I foresee a limited market.

As to the extradition, the way I understand it he can't be done on rebellion only on the charges that they agree to extradite him on.
This puts justice in an embarrassing situation as they will try his colleagues on charges that have thirty year penalties while the boss only can be banged up for five. Plus it isn't clear that misuse of funds can stick, Montoro, ex-chancellor was explicit that no public monies had been used.
There was a lot of public support and subscriptions, and my partner still has a standing order to the ANC in force.
For example today they were saying that a census of Catalans abroad used public money and was for the referendum. Yet a census has multiple uses and reasons, so they are on flimsy ground on a lot of it.

But if he does land on Spanish soil I would be unsurprised if he was not then tried on the grounds, already stated by the PP, that because it isn't a crime in Germany doesn't mean it isn't a crime here.
The behind the frontiers quote above shows that some would be happy for that to take place.
Stuff in the news.

Spanish justice in the terms of Supreme Court and its circle is trying to come to terms with the refusal of the Germans to extradite Puigdemont for rebellion. After working hard for nine months to convince themselves, the country and then other countries that there was indeed rebellion then they are amazed that it isn't seen like that abroad.
Meanwhile Llarena has a couple of options, he can retire the euro warrant and let Puigdemont wander freely in Europe, or he can go for the extradition. If he does so and there is no rebellion then there is no need for protective custody and Puigdemont can be placed at liberty. Furthermore he would be able to exercise his political rights as a MP and perhaps even be re-elected president.
Either option presents a dilemma and a kick in the nuts for Spanish justice, though in strictly legal terms he should be brought back. Politically maybe it's best to have him outside the borders, but that would be bringing politics into his decisions which he never does at all now, does he?

The PP are now questioning Schengen and the efficiency of euro-warrants, which the PSOE supports. Italy and Austria are questioning Schengen to keep people out, the PP to keep people in. They were happy when they thought that German Justice would see it their way, now the pet lip is seriously showing.

As to the rebellion bit El Mundo wrote an ironic article about the German decision that effectively takes it for granted that there was violence in the Process and that the independence movement is not a peaceful one.
Once again the more a story is repeated the more it lodges in the minds of people, and this is something I notice in the Spanish press over the Process.
The Process in which I participated is a popular movement and on the streets there were huge demonstrations that were effectively street parties with people happy, enjoying the day and convinced that eventually our voice would get a hearing, and the best way to do this was by being peaceful. It wasn't the Catalans that shattered that image and brought violence onto the stage, yet the media manages to invert the blame.
Also El Mundo runs an article that according to a poll they ran Sanchez is seen as too soft with the separatists, so the direction of Madrid press is clear.
Yesterday, at relatively short notice after the German courts decision there was a 110,000 people march in Barcelona in favour of freeing the prisoners.
This is being asked by the Generalitat themselves as well though I don't see it prospering.
By Spanish law to be considered rebellion there must be use of arms and/or explosives. This condition has never been met but the invention of a passive violence has been the fiction that sustained the preventive prison, and which the Spanish Right find difficult to understand that European legal systems don't actually agree.

The march was held in a party atmosphere with no trouble whatsoever.
For photos:
Manifestación Barcelona: 110.000 personas se manifiestan por la libertad
To show that it's not just me that thinks that the right wing thinking sector in Spain is fairly blind and inflexible in certain ways, here is an article by John Carlin which comments on something that Soraya said.
I would highlight two things, the first in that she talks about apartheid in Catalunya, the constant demonization of the separatists so we appear like the nazis we have been described as, and so people constantly have an extreme idea of what is happening.
Secondly the fact that there can be no appeasement of these people, so the hard-line is reiterated in an appeal to the Right wing voters. But she had years following the hard line and it hasn't eradicated separatism, how far does she want to go?

It's long but worth a read as Carlin is often an acute observer, a bit passionate perhaps but to the point.

Article: In Spanish for you lot.
La pasionaria del PP

La Pasionaria del PP
Dolores Ibárruri | Spanish political leader)

Many ask me if I see any politician in the international scene at the level of Nelson Mandela. I usually say no, but on the eve of the date on which the South African leader had turned 100, I am forced to rethink the issue. A pretender on the stage, is from Valladolid and her name is Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, ex-vicepresident of Government and current candidate for the leadership of the Popular Party.

Mandela fought against apartheid. It turns out that Sáenz de Santamaría too. And, as she made it clear in an interview this week, she is still in the fight today. "In Catalonia," he said, "they practice apartheid." Those that practice this detestable ideology are the Catalan independence leaders, first among them the president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra. "There should be no appeasement with these people," declared the PP Passionaria.

Good. Already. Sorry. Enough of the jokes. What in Catalonia is apartheid? Does this lady know what she is saying? Obviously not, so we'll do her the favour of a brief history lesson.

Apartheid is a word in Afrikaans, a language derived from Dutch spoken by the first European settlers who settled in South Africa in the seventeenth century. It literally translates as separation and defines a system of laws imposed in South Africa in 1948 that forced the different races to live apart in conditions of drastic inequality.

The result was that for almost half a century, until the arrival of Mandela in power, the white minority enjoyed perhaps the best standard of living in the history of humanity while the black majority lived in poverty, condemned to an educational system deliberately inferior to whites, to a public health system light years away from that enjoyed by whites, to live in arid ghettos on the outskirts of cities, to travel fourth class on trains and, of course, not to have the right to vote. If they complained, they were put in jail without trial. If they complained more, they were tortured. If they complained too much, they were sentenced to life imprisonment or killed - sometimes by legal means (with a rope), sometimes with death squad guns. Does Mrs. Sáenz de Santamaría see any resemblance between the constitutional system of apartheid and the current situation in Catalonia?

The detail of politicians imprisoned without trial, perhaps. OK. I'll give you that one. But something else? Do Catalans who wish to remain within Spain not have the right to vote, go to lower schools, do not get attended to in hospitals, tortured and killed? I suppose the would-be boss would answer that I am being too literal, that she used the word apartheid in a metaphorical sense. But in that case, do not you realize, for the love of God, the banal lightness and the incredible bad taste of this little joke? Mandela defined apartheid as "a moral genocide" because its objective was to exterminate the dignity of an entire people. Does not this woman understand how deeply offensive it is to compare such historical cruelty with the situation that exists today in one of the most prosperous, freest and most egalitarian places on earth?

In case her limited judgment prevents her from understanding, I'll explain it to her. To say that in Catalonia they practice apartheid is not an insult, in the first place, to the elected leaders of their government, who should be big enough, it is supposed, to pass off such nonsense. It is above all an insult to the tens of millions of people who suffered the horrors, miseries and indignities of apartheid. Only the former Defense Minister of the PSOE José Bono surpasses Sáenz de Santamaría in rudeness , with his repeated insistence that the Catalan independence leaders are Nazis. The poor man does not see it, but every time he says it he is defecating on the victims of Nazism. He does not see it, but what he and Sáenz de Santamaría do is expose themselves as not only ignorant people, but mediocre and small-town people. They talk about what they do not know, they have not read, they have not left their mental villages. Zero moral sensitivity. Zero political sensitivity also when Sáenz de Santamaría says that "there should not be any appeasement with these people". These eight words summarize the political ineptitude of a government that not only failed over six and a half years in its attempts to stop the independence movement but instead gave it wings.

Fortunately, the new Spanish Government shows signs of having learned from the nonsense of the PP. The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, seems to understand the value of not always spitting out what one thinks, of measuring words, of treating political rivals with visible signs of respect, of changing the music. During his few weeks in power he has moved the political prisoners from Madrid to Catalonia, which does not resolve the essential barbarity committed against them but is a gesture of humanity and political intelligence absent in his predecessors.

Sanchez has met with Quim Torra without succumbing to the temptation to call him a Nazi or a racist and then commented on the meeting between the two with a cordial tone in a couple of tweets written in Catalan. The usual suspects of the Spanish right have criticized him, leaving in evidence their immaturity. How anchored in the past that they are, how unfit they are to do politics in a modern democracy. Everything can change, but today Sanchez is giving a lesson in maturity. Acknowledging that as president of Government what becomes him is to behave like an adult, with pragmatism, not with tantrums, for the common good. It was long past time for a bit of that in the Moncloa.

Mandela, whose legacy will be celebrated all over the world this week, would have reacted with fury to the foolishness of the commentary on the apartheid of Sáenz de Santamaría and with astonishment at the incompetence of her government in the face of the Catalan crisis. He would have given Sanchez a little applause. Without knowing it, perhaps, Sanchez is following Mandela's manual to solve a problem that, compared to the one that the leader born a hundred years ago managed to calm down in his country, is a children's game.

Ed to remove a smiley that sneaked in. Must be one of the smiley SF.
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FIW I see the FT has written an article supporting the idea of Catalunya as a recognised nation, something I have suggested would be a big step to a solution.
I don't subscribe so here is a translated article telling us about it:

The economic newspaper of the United Kingdom Financial Times published an editorial this weekend in which it suggested recognizing Catalonia as a nation and grant more autonomy, after the meeting a week ago between Pedro Sanchez and Quim Torra in the Moncloa. In the editorial 'A glimmer of hope for the future of Catalonia' , the British newspaper notes that the positions between the separatist Govern and the Government, defender of the unity of Spain under the Constitution "are irreconcilable ", While noting that" the meeting offered a glimpse of hope that a constructive and practical dialogue could be developed in the coming months and years. "

In this scenario, the newspaper believes that the postulates of the PSOE of Pedro Sánchez are on track and advocates "giving Catalonia greater control of its financial resources."

"It should include the explicit recognition of the Catalans as a nation, rather than an unidefined" nationality, "the wording used in the constitution," the newspaper said. The newspaper also launches the possibility of converting the Senate into a chamber of territorial representation and calls on PP and Citizens to make all this possible.

However, the newspaper recognizes that this offer, which it sees as "attractive to moderate Catalan nationalists, would never satisfy intransigent secessionists." "More autonomy within a reformed Spanish state is the most sensible way to move forward," the editorial concludes.
Subscribe to read | Financial Times
In the news:

The new government will not ask the Prosecutors office to ease the pressure on the Process.
Sanchez is happy to have talks, which I applaud, but allows the judicialisation of the Process to continue. On one hand I understand because he can't be seen to give concessions, yet it would help up here and people would trust the Government more rather than being hopeful but sceptical.

Still if Puigdemont is extradited for misuse of funds and walks rather than being placed in protective custody then there may have to be a review of the other cases.

Borrell the new Foreign Minister has asked Belgium to act in defence of the Supreme Tribunal and defend its independence.
Belgium has asked for more data to be sent so they can judge.

So political pressure is being placed so that a foreign justice system reviews its decisions to reverse the setback that the home justice system has received. A strange way to accept the decisions that Sanchez said he would do, and a strange way to stay out of a judicial system and maintain separation of powers.
If the Supreme Tribunal has a weak case or cannot defend itself then it should not be the politicians who bail it out.
Sanchez has started on an interesting foot in Madrid, proposing social measures that are not too radical but enough to show he is trying to get things moving after the immobility of the past years.

PP and Cs have effectively ignored the measures he is proposing and simply laid into him for opening the door to the separatists and giving in to them.
Predictable and will get worse when the PP choose their leader, likely Soraya, then the stakes for the hardest anti-separatist party will be high and Sanchez will get it from this direction in spades.
Mind this might allow him to sneak in a few social measures which would otherwise come under heavy fire.

He did say that the CT took away the Statute that the Catalans had voted on and left them with one that they hadn't. Very true and the first time such a reasonable comment has been made in Parliament. He said that the Catalans had to have something they could vote on as that was the only way out of the conflict.
Seems clear that he is on the way to proposing a new Catalan Statute as a solution.
Not unreasonable to a point, and far more than the PP would have dreamed of going as they started the independence ball rolling by actively working to get the Statute emasculated.

However as Joan Tarda pointed out we have been saying for years that the way out was by voting, just not on a Statute but on a matter of greater importance, and something PSOE will not give.
Meanwhile a photo-journalist has started legal proceedings against a NP in mufti, but who identified himself, who worked him over and broke his nose. The NP claims he was set on and defended himself.

Meanwhile 43 cases of violence on 1 Oct have been binned by a judge saying that the violence was proportionate to the situation.

The judicial system has an obligation to investigate all cases of this nature whether 1 Oct or not, and not just throw them out of court because of the political leanings of the judge. He might have reasons but doing so arbitrarily simply causes us to believe he is political and to distrust the system and therefore by corollary the State.

Also as Sanchez is not changing the stance of the Prosecutor over the prisoners, which I understand is difficult with PP-Cs baying for blood, and has just asked the CT to veto a measure passed by the Catalan Parliamentary Table, we ask how far is he sincere?

The question is if he is simply playing for time with talks and nice words to ensure votes in Parliament while effectively doing nothing? Or is he genuinely sincere in finding a solution?

FWIW I think he would like to find a solution, but he is mistaken if he thinks a new Statute is the answer, that has already been tried.
Meanwhile the jury is out.
Big news Llarena has withdrawn the Euro Warrants against Puigdemont and the rest. Against the impossibility of judging him for rebellion, and consequently only for misuse of funds, he has decided to change tactic.
Puigdemont and the rest can now roam freely in the world but cannot set foot on Spanish soil without being arrested for rebellion and the rest.

In his declaration Llarenas let fly against the Germans accusing them of lack of commitment, and of taking a decision based on an incorrect conclusion, (that the process of investigation was not concluded). Furthermore he states that "not only does it short-circuit the operation of the international cooperation that we have promoted, but it unduly deteriorates the assessment of responsibility that the investigation has gathered along with a firm decision to prosecute. "

By no means is this a victory, although it allows those abroad to rest easy and move freely, which in itself is positive.

Llarenas to my mind has once again allowed political influences affect his decision. He considers that Puigdemont is the ringleader of the 1 Oct operation, and therefore if he can't try him alongside the others then the case loses both force and sense. Puigdemont was a moving force behind the Referendum but was by no means the only one, and let himself be (badly) influenced over the declaration of independence. It shows Llarenas hasn't got a full understanding of what happened and is happy to construct his own, as he has shown fairly regularly

In his criticisms of the Germans he also shows he misunderstands the Euro Warrants which are not just there to back up one countries decisions, though in the vast majority of cases this would indeed be so. They are also there to point out abuses or over-steppings of the mark which in this case did happen. Llarenas cannot see this and prefers to maintain his fiction of rebellion with its passive violence, and will not contemplate that he might actually be mistaken. Something we should all do from time to time.
He maintains that there was violence on 1 Oct, and there was, but it wasn't a rebellious violence, it came from the State. He need only compare Nicaragua today with the passive crowds on Catalan streets to see that.
I have been away in the Peaks and lost the plot of the Catalan independence.
Even there, the 'Green and pleasant land' is is quite yellow and parched but still lovely.

After reading Dwarf's post I want to clarify some of my comments which may give the wrong impression.

First reference the Civil Guards(CG): I found the images of the injured Catalans appalling, I think it achieved the reverse of what the Spanish Government wanted, not only did the vote take place, the world sat up and started to have a more serious look at what is happening in Cataluna. The CG were sent there to stop an illegal act (in the Spanish Governments eyes) and they did the job, badly. If fully kitted riot police are sent in to stop anything, they don't tend to negotiate, they will use force, the government knew this.

The Spanish Government had already declared the vote illegal and without any intervention by the CG's, no big consequence. If there was some plan of a 'show of force' or deterrent it demonstrates a remarkable lack understanding of what drives the Catalan separatists 'lets put the fire out with fuel', I am surprised that Europe didn't fire some warning shots at the Spanish Government.

Ref the incidents with the teachers, If I remember correctly, I was not aware that this had taken place until it was highlighted by yourself, did a google 'What happened with teachers and CG children in Cataluna' (in Spanish). One of the articles I read was by Vanguardia and it did not place the teachers in a good light.

Are the articles total fabrication?

I have to admit to mainly reading El Pais, also ABC and local press Las Provincias and Levante.

If some dubious acts did take place then these teachers did the cause no favours, the press of either side will pounce on any unsavoury event to give them headlines to promote their sales and political agenda.

I don't 'live' Catalan independence like yourself and merely read some articles in the mainstream Spanish press, (little is said over here) these articles are ones that will be consumed in Spain so I'm open to being influenced.
Although my view is of little consequence and the outcome of 'independence' will probably never affect me, I find the topic very interesting and spend far to much time reading what I perceive as reasonable arguments on the subject.

As an outsider I am looking more towards the consequences of independence (like with Brexit) rather than how to reach independence, not convinced that the separatist are looking that far ahead or even of putting in place your 'desirable and viable plan' to convince the Catalan doubters.
Glad you enjoyed the Peaks, Britain in summer is great, except the last time I was back. Ten days of 14ºC and rain.

Points accepted. But I think the teacher thing is really overblown. Teachers got clubbed and said unfortunate things about the GC in front of GC kids. The point I made is that it should never have got to court but taken through normal disciplinary channels.

I maybe didn't read the Vanguardia article you did, though they are reasonably balanced about things. However El Pais and ABC are both well-biased against the Separatists and from what I gather latched on to the incident as an example of Catalan indoctrination in schools.
El Pais in better educated language.
(I am open to be corrected on this if someone shows me otherwise.)

May I suggest that if you want a balance then the Madrid Press will only give you an anti bias. La Vanguardia tries to be balanced and critical. But to get the other side of the argument try El Punt Avui El Punt Avui
It's in Catalan but it'll give you the other side then that will balance the others.

As to the consequences of independence it has been hotly debated and if it was more certain then maybe we would have more support. Certainly the younger generation are more secure with the concept. One comment I heard a lot over the World Cup was that Croatia has only about 4 mill and they have a viable country, why not us? Seems reasonable.
I see that Judge Llarena has had a good go at the Germans with an undisguised annoyance.
When they decided to have Puigdemont arrested in Germany it was because they assumed that it would be simply paperwork. Now the Germans have told them that the case for rebellion has no foundation. This gives a smack in the face for the credibility of the Spanish Justice system in international eyes.
So Llarena's reaction is very Spanish, the Germans are wrong, they didn't read the case right, and essentially his message is 'they are wrong because they don't see it like me.'
This I have noted is a Spanish character trait, all nations and peoples have them, us Brits as well. But there is a tendency to the 'I am right and everyone else is wrong, and if you don't agree with me you are against me.' This does colour life at various levels, and certainly is a tendency in government.

Llarena withdrew the Euro warrant, though hasn't discarded a re-issue after reworking it. This allows him to maintain the rebellion charge in vigour and maintain his personal image of what is right and wrong about all this.
However it leaves him open to a charge of discrimination against the other prisoners, legally if he feels Puigdemont is guilty of misuse of funds he should extradite him.
Agora Judicial has said it is a disaster for the system because strategic considerations were placed before strict legality.
Ágora Judicial | Asociación de Juezas i Jueces
Herein the thing, Llarena is one of those who firmly believes in the unity of Spain and the conservative idea of what Spain is and should be, which is his right. However he believes that his duty is to protect that and as such has stepped outside strict legality and re-interpreted rules as he needs to enable him to impose that idea on the situation. The means serve the end and in this he was supported by the Government.
It is difficult for one such as him to accept that things are not seen in such an authoritarian light in the rest of Europe, and so it is back behind the Pyrenees and 'Spain is different'.

To quote Pilar Rahola will the new prosecutor allow changes to happen despite a threatened mass resignation of the traditionalists in the system? "On this depends whether he maintains the honour of Black Spain, or settle down and recover the honour of Modern Spain. there is no middle ground."
Dear @Dwarf
I think you have been reading La Vanguardia and other Catalan favourable press.
The dilemma the Germans have faced is not that the case has no foundation but that there is no equivalent crime of "rebellion" in Germany. The looked at in the case of the German law for "high treason" which is not exactly the same.

According to Der Spiegel (and other German press) the EAW has a few flaws, one of the main ones that some crimes contain no equivalent between certain countries and rebellion is one of them. The judge has to decide on whether it would be a crime in the judge's country before the person can be extradited. The only reference to rebellion in Germany is a political matter which is not covered under the EAW.

This works the other way around and they gave a couple of examples of crimes in Germany which contain no equivalence in Spain (for example, holocaust denial).

However, you're right and the Spanish should have investigated this before issuing a warrant for rebellion. If they' simply provided a bit of proof on financial irregularity then Puigdemont would be facing trial in Spain by now.
Dear @Dwarf
I think you have been reading La Vanguardia and other Catalan favourable press.
The dilemma the Germans have faced is not that the case has no foundation but that there is no equivalent crime of "rebellion" in Germany. The looked at in the case of the German law for "high treason" which is not exactly the same.

According to Der Spiegel (and other German press) the EAW has a few flaws, one of the main ones that some crimes contain no equivalent between certain countries and rebellion is one of them. The judge has to decide on whether it would be a crime in the judge's country before the person can be extradited. The only reference to rebellion in Germany is a political matter which is not covered under the EAW.

This works the other way around and they gave a couple of examples of crimes in Germany which contain no equivalence in Spain (for example, holocaust denial).

However, you're right and the Spanish should have investigated this before issuing a warrant for rebellion. If they' simply provided a bit of proof on financial irregularity then Puigdemont would be facing trial in Spain by now.
Yes I do read La Vanguardia, which is actually quite mild compared to El Punt Avui, and they did state exactly what you say. That there is no exact equivalent between the crimes in the countries. It was more my way of expressing it rather than what the papers said.

However I read it also that the German Judges said that there was no violence in the actions of the accused to warrant a charge of either rebellion or treason, which I think is the German almost equivalent.
They did say there are perhaps grounds to study the misuse of funds.
The Spanish law itself says that rebellion needs violence with use of firearms or explosives to be classed as such, and by its own definition the actions of Puigdemont & Co do not qualify.
That's why I used the no foundation expression, and I would argue that even if I were non-indy as I think it is a misinterpretation of the law.

Your last comment I agree with totally, and I think part of it was so that Llarena could say to the world that his version of events was correct, and his interpretations justified because of the diabolical separatists. His reactions and railing against the Germans show how far it hurts that not everyone sees it that way.
The PP has a new leader, Pablo Casado who beat Soraya by a fair margin.

Casado will now take the PP towards the right and in his speech has set out exactly where he wants to go, essentially a return to aznarism. He wishes to connect with the Spain of the flags on the balconies.

For Catalunya he has committed himself to a firm defence of the Unity of Spain, reform of the electoral law, and work on education to stop 'indoctrination'.

As a person he doesn't strike me as being a talented politician at all, rather a young, good-looking product of the party system whereby you only rise if you hold to the party line. There was a minor scandal recently when his masters degree looked to be gifted as he didn't theoretically meet the attendance requirements, and he claimed a diploma was a US degree when actually he did it in Madrid on a summer course. Not a good start.

So now we will have a fight between Casado and Rivera to see who can take the title of the hardest politician on the Right. That can't be good for Spain, and certainly isn't for Catalunya as the right wing voters will be constantly stirred up against the socialists and nefarious Catalans. A politics of confrontation.
What it may do is allow PSOE to recoup some of the centre votes as the PP moves right.

The only good thing is that Soraya didn't win.
A little bit more on the above, and yes @exbleep I have read El Mundo and ABC as well as La Vanguardia.

The Madrid press in the main take the line that 'The PP is back' after an interregnum by Rajoy. I was a little surprised by some of the very critical tone of the ex-leader which wasn't evident until he had gone.
Now more than one article is saying that the PP can get back to the old days and recover ground. That does fail to take into account Rivera and Cs and it will be interesting to see if the latter can maintain their level with a new young right wing leader in the former. Cs has a disadvantage in that while they have attracted younger voters they have little depth in policies once one steps away from their anti-secessionist monologue.

Casado's initial comments indicate that he will return the PP more towards Aznarism than it has been lately.
He has identified with the Spain of the flags on the balconies, the nationalistic Spain, the a por ellos. About Catalunya he wants to reinforce the constitution and penal codes.
The Constitution does need an overhaul, and a few tentative ideas about commissions have been proposed, which would be the way to go. Casado appears not to be proposing anything other than enforcing what is there, not studying that which truly needs change.
He also says that Catalunya is not going anywhere and that if Catalans want to leave they can join Puigdemont in Belgium or Germany. I have heard similar comments over the years from more than one Spaniard and I consider it to be one of the most unintelligent things I have heard, doubly so in a leader of a major party. Instead of showing willing to find a solution that will stimulate and convince, he is back to the like it or lump it, and if you aren't happy we will enforce it politics. To casually dismiss two million people like that is not a good sign. 'We only want the "good" Catalans, seems to be the stance.
What is it about Spain? They say they want us to stay, but then they don't like us and tell us to shove off if we aren't happy about it. That is not (just) my opinion, that has been quoted in several places over several years.
Meanwhile in Catalunya the independence parties are still in disarray and trying to settle into a firm path.
ERC wants change, PdeCat/Junts per Cat want to keep Puigdemont as the director.
Despite protestations of unity I foresee the possibility of a major split somewhere down the line.
ERC is looking more to the long term, the others want the Republic as soon as possible, and the CUP want it yesterday.
While there is a breathing space in politics at the moment they have a bit of time to sort this out, but they need to settle down very fast, and I'm betting they won't.

Chatting to a young man yesterday in the gym he expressed his disillusionment. "You go to all the big demonstrations over the years, never miss one, show your support, believe them when they say everything is ready for a declaration of independence. Then you find they have nothing in place, no infrastructures, nothing of substance. And you are let down."

Unless the independence movement parties can get back on track with a message that will inspire they will lose the confidence of those who hoped they would carry the flame. Support for independence is more or less the same now* but support for the parties is not.

*A poll shows it's down a small amount, I think that reflects the disillusionment with politics rather than the idea itself.
The young man you spoke to is probably fair representation of the feelings and views of a lot of separatists. The world is now aware that the the cause can, at very short notice, bring a large number of demonstrators out on the streets producing the images that both the, for and against press, can print with the corresponding tinted articles.

I heard someone describe a demonstration as generally an indicator of how little support a cause has. Its always the same hard core that turn up, a 'normal' person find demonstrations intimidating events that can easily become out of control and exploited by radical elements of either side.

There is a danger that people become bored if they aren't already. The leaders can slap each other on the back 'job well done' we got 110K out but the crucial, unrewarding task of addressing the concerns of the middle ground remain unanswered.

Puigdemont seems to still call the shots, he has purged his party, placed his own loyal supporters in key places and no doubt made a few enemies on the way.

A party under which all separatist factions can unite seems a good idea, as Dwarf says there is little chance of this happening since there are to many small factions whose leaders would be seeking employment.

'Crida Nacional per la República' (National Call for the Republic), that name, its a bit cringeworthy, hope its shortened 'toot suite'

One thing Cataluna is not short of are political parties, the more you have the more self serving interests you create. Left wing parties, who regard Puigdemont as centre/right, have already stated they will not change.

Dwarf said.- 'Instead of showing willing to find a solution that will stimulate and convince'.
The only solution that the separatists would accept is independence, that is target of Catalan Government.
There is no solution only temporary reprieves and fudges.

Dwarf said ref new possible Spanish president.- "As a person he doesn't strike me as being a talented politician at all, rather a young, good-looking product of the party system whereby you only rise if you hold to the party line"

It would be ironic that having got rid of Rajoy, you are responsible for the re-encarnation of a Spanish Tony Blair, though I suppose he was a revolutionary in Labour eyes.:king:

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