Catalan Independence? Democracy dies in Spain.


Whine loudly & smear themselves in blue mud? :mrgreen:
I tremble for the day they start wearing kilts and calling themselves McPuig, McCasademont and so on.


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Did you guys get pan bashing at 10pm yesterday ?

I had not heard it for ages .. . then last night off we went again.


Well after a quiet time it's heating up.

Sanchez came out all guns blazing at everyone in Parliament today, but with a big go at the Catalans. If things go amiss he will apply the full weight of the Constitution. Sounds like Rajoy again.
I understand he has to dig his heels in at some point with PP and Cs calling for 155 everyday and accusing him of being hand in glove with the independentistes. Repeat the lie often enough and it gets believed.

He said that if Torra gives him a proposal that is supported by 75% of the Catalans the Government will listen. Great! Because as pointed out by Torrent the speaker of the Catalan Parliament, 80% of Catalans want a referendum to get things in the clear.

Meanwhile the parties in Spain and the media are constantly giving out a picture of an ungovernable Catalunya, an unsafe place to be, which is simply not true. Even in Catalan Parliament today Arrimades said that if the Govern could not guarantee the safety of citizens then 155 needed to be applied.
Sorry but that is just bollocks, there isn't a safety problem, unless of course you provoke the Mossos.

On those lines Catalan Interior minister Busch did apologise for his remarks and supported the Mossos. Bit of common sense for once, which is rather lacking in politics today.

The trials are coming up and Courts taking positions.

There is a Central Government council of ministers in Barcelona the 21st and (mainly young) activist groups are calling for an action to prevent it. The big players like the ANC and Omnium want no part of it because that will just add petrol to the fire and IMO is a braindead idea. Right now we need total calm to show that things are normal as far as day to day life is concerned and that the Process is still peaceful.
The hotheads are getting inflamed by the anti-catalan rhetoric.


This article is a very sensible one by Pilar Rahola and answers a lot of the above post.

Suddenly, in a moment, we have gone from appeasement to threat. Pedro Sanchez is no longer shown as the centrist, focused leader who spoke of dialogue and calmed the beasts of the "a por ellos".
Andalusia is lost, Euskadi disappeared, and Catalunya revolutionised, the fear of losing Madrid has gone to the category of panic. And when poor results are coming, there is always a Catalunya to hit the back of the head.
This is how a story of violence has been created where there was none.

It is true that the metaphor of Slovenia used by President Torra was unnecessary and could give a window to those who do not like him well, those on the other side of the air-shuttle (Barcelona - Madrid).
But we must not forget that the Slovenes were the victims and not the aggressors, and that their history is a success story, because today Slovenia is an independent country, economically stable and, despite its small size, relevant in the international arena.
However, what should be limited in a political debate on metaphors, trains and roads, with the relevant criticism, has become a tsunami of criminalization, perpetrated on all Madrid based television, newspaper and radios , where the Catalan goose is cooked.

For what? What is this operation by land, sea and air to create a story of non-existent violence in Catalonia? For the president's statements remembering the Slovenian struggle for having a state of its own? That may be a little or a lot, but it would be part of the classical rhetoric of a Catalan nationalist. Nothing strange, nothing reprehensible. So, the story of violence is over the protest actions of four CDRs? Seriously?

Because they may like or not their protests-and I personally am against hoodies, shouting demos and etcetera-but if the problem is a protest through opening toll gates, then what should all these "a por ellos" spokesmen have said about the brutal protests of the taxi drivers? And the great anti-system protests that have occurred in Madrid on many occasions? And is not the impunity of the extreme right in Valencia worrisome?

But no, it turns out that all these are trifles, whereas on the other hand to mention Slovenia or raise tollgates is the beginning of an uprising. An uprising, in which if we add the Mossos, is transformed into armed rebellion. And that's it, we already have Catalunya at war and the State preparing the defense of the Constitution, democracy and the bulls. Meanwhile, nobody talks about political prisoners and their hunger strikes.

The question to ask is why create this story? And the answer lies in the needs of a PSOE that is urged to some forceful action in Catalunya, to show that it has the rod of command*. Interventions are coming in Catalonia, with 155 or with substitutes, but we are in the sights. Shooting at Catalonia always yields results.

*Grip on the situation.


Well a few things on the boil, Sanchez has begun to make calming noises saying that the only way to solve political problems is through dialogue, which is very true.
However people here are beginning to distrust his proposed dialogue as he hasn't really come up with anything concrete.
That said he is making some signs about better finance, and staging a meeting of ministers in Barcelona this coming friday. I don't know if that's a good idea, most people are happy to let them get on with things and ignore it so as not to provoke anything, which might actually be the intention.
However there will undoubtedly be some protests as it is seen in some quarters as a provocation or symbol of where the power lies. But there is a real possibility of more radicals joining in and the Mossos are taking this seriously.
There is a grouping called GAAR, Group of rapid action, who claim to have 6,000 young people on call. Precisely the type who have lost patience and want to see something happening, and precisely the type who are unlikely to listen to older and wiser heads.

Yet things are never what they seem, Sanchez has stated he will send in Spanish Police if the Mossos aren't capable of controlling Catalunya, which they are. Nobody knows who the GAAR are, and possibly they could be a front for agents provocateurs and thus working for the opposition.

I just hope the day goes off OK, there is a strike called in protest and hopefully that should be enough. probably won't be though.


Meanwhile over in the PP, two days ago Casado reiterated his call for 155 in Catalunya claiming that there is violence, and that there are 16,000 armed men, The Mossos, who could turn this into rebellion.
The man is delusional, but getting a fair amount of support and lots of applause at meetings. He makes Aznar look centrist.

Today he went further claiming that there is Kale Borroka, (Street fighting-Basque) and that steps need to be taken.
He is calling for illegalisations of the CDRs, Arran the young CUP group, and also the parties that call for independence bypassing legality and promoting violence.

"Now that in Catalonia there is kale borroka, there is a street batasunización that is intolerable, it must be made very clear that there are laws in force that must be complied with (...) Apply the law of parties, outlaw the CDR, outlaw Arran , announce an investigation on the CUP and above all, study what Torra is doing in relation to these movements ",
The leader of the PP has also proposed that the law on financing of political parties be modified so that organizations that encourage violence do not receive public funds, nor should political parties that have members accused of sedition and rebellion.
"It isn't possible to dialogue with those who wish to destroy the country."

Apart from a complete and irresponsible misrepresentation of the situation here he is now proposing that a democracy illegalise political groupings and parties. Now that is dangerous. Yet he is quite happy with the existance of the Falange, and is lkely to pact with VOX a party that wishes to curtail many liberties.
He also states quite clearly that with him there will be no dialogue merely use of power.
I also find it worrying that some of the power men in the PSOE are talking about illegalisations of independence parties as well.

But Casado simply wants power and control, application of force will not solve the Catalan problem. It might hold it down by force, but it won't make it go away, it will make it worse.
Yet he has support, and I find it difficult to believe that a certain mindset in Spain cannot see that the Catalans can't be forced to be Spanish as the Spanish want us to be. That the problem stems from the way Spain has always approached and treated Catalunya, and that some self-criticism is in order.

But the myth of the sacred unity of Spain has a big hold on people. "How dare those Catalans want to break the unity of Spain?" Something voiced by more than one in the recent Andalusian election campaign.
There is a large part of the problem.

The quality of democracy here is in serious danger of slipping a long way down a muddy slope.


At last a voice of at least semi-wisdom from ex-president Zapatero.
While Casado promises to apply 155 immediately he is president, and refuses to contemplate another Statute for Catalunya. He accuses Zapatero of starting the ball rolling by allowing one. But I can't believe he can be so short-sighted (read stupid) and must be playing to the gallery. The Statute may well have left things quiet for a generation, it was his party's reaction against the Statute that is the immediate spark to all that has happened, and he just wants to sit on us with all the power of the state. Wise man.

Former President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero believes that the Catalan separatists have surpassed the limits of politics, but he does not share the view that they leaders of a coup, and he has encouraged Pedro Sánchez, to continue attempts at dialogue, because "there is no doubt that it is the way ".

In an interview in El Mundo, Zapatero warns that the reaction of democracy to the actions of the secessionists can not be excluded from the democratic contest and stresses that they already know that independence is impossible, so it is now that they need to know that "is not desirable."
The intelligent reaction is to convince them, to recognize that there is a problem, in which they are, from our perspective, wrong", emphasizes the former president, for whom it would be a mistake to resort to article 155 of the Constitution, to suspend autonomy, to solve the Catalan conflict.

He argues that until now there has been virtually no dialogue and insists that "however wrong they are, and they are, and false as their beliefs are, the smart thing is to get the answer right". "And in democracy, the smart thing is to exhaust persuasion, conviction and rapprochement", because "behind the independence thesis there are a million people actively convinced," he points out.

Zapatero hopes that in this way an understanding could be reached with the PP and Citizens and give that opportunity "seriously" to the dialogue. "Between the road of self-determination, which is a serious error, and what has been the autonomous state, there is much ground," says and warns that the solution to the territorial crisis will take "years."

Comment in next post.


Zapatero got some things right, but still showed that there is a huge abyss between Spanish thought and Catalan thought.

That the solution needs to be political and that it will take a long time is right on the nail. That to apply 155, and by implication the full power of the state against Catalunya will not solve the problem is absolutely correct. It might allow a president to smugly say he has suffocated the 'rebellion' and take short term credit, but all he is doing is sweeping it under the carpet from which it will emerge again.
Dialogue and trying to get the independentistes onside is the only way Spain can solve this problem and retain the goodwill of the Catalans.

Why he resorts to the typical Madrid tactic of underplaying numbers I do not know, he states a million people when the true figure is two million plus.

But some of the things he says highlights the gap between the thinking and the complete failure to understand the Catalan disenchantment that is the biggest problem here to my way of thinking. Some of this is a genuine non-comprehension. Some is the typical right wing "if you aren't for us you are against us and need subjecting to the One Spain concept", which is not a non-comprehension but a deliberate disregard of contrary thought.

stresses that they already know that independence is impossible, so it is now that they need to know that "is not desirable."
The intelligent reaction is to convince them, to recognize that there is a problem, in which they are, from our perspective, wrong",

There it is, right there. Why should independence be impossible?
It might be wrong-headed, that is eminently arguable, but why in a democracy should it be impossible?
I agree he argues well, that Spain needs to convince through dialogue to get the Catalans onside, and that I will freely concede that if Spain really wants to solve the problem as opposed to smacking it down, then he is right.
But he then betrays the lack of empathy by saying that they are from our perspective wrong. I understand that, but it shows that Spain has never truly understood Catalunya, and has never made the effort to try.
And there from my POV we have the whole thing encapsulated.


Things moving now. But an article by Jordi Amat entitled Casado against 78.

One of the pillars of the Spain of 1978 is the implementation of the autonomous state. The process has not been perfect, but imperfection is synonymous with reality and the reality of the last 40 years is that our democracy would not have been such without the founding recognition of the Catalan self-government and its development (linked to the idea of solidarity between the parties that make up the whole country). Against this the main families of the Spanish nationalist right with constituent zeal and more belligerence than ever are attacking with a will to revert a process without which the longest stage of democracy in modern Spain could not be explained. To affirm that does not mean to exempt from responsibility the independence based govern of the last five years, which illiberally and deliberately subverted the legal framework to shipwreck us by promising us a non-existent Ithaca. But let us not fall into the sin of equidistance. Today Casado and Rivera, under the pretext of fighting the misrule of the separatists, want to impose a new system that further reduces the possibilities of doing politics with a Generalitat that is certainly going adrift.

At this juncture on Friday, the Council of Ministers will be held in Barcelona. Despite their initial good intentions, there are few possibilities that the fragility of the Socialist Government will be helped by the event. Paradoxically they who rub his hands waiting for disturbances are those who pray that his prophecy will be fulfilled on a hitherto non-existent violence that would place our society in a tragic coexistence scenario. If this were not so, statements such as those of Arrimadas - referring to "violent acts that will be repeated" - or those of Casado when he said that in Catalonia "there are 16,000 armed men in the hands of a fanatic fan like Torra" would not be understood. They are provocations that aim to light a flame. They want bonfires in the streets in order to impose their declared objective: reactivate article 155 to initiate a premeditated demolition of the territorial State of 1978. Those who are now its target, more than anyone else, are the Mossos d'Esquadra.

Dwarf. The article is critical of the Govern, and justly so, which has done very little legislation so far, which should have been its priority.
But the bold does highlight that Spain is a very new democracy, the youngest in Western Europe and in many quarters the concepts have either not taken root or have been actively ignored or subverted.


Yesterday the judgement started on the prisoners, and there is a widespread view that the verdict has already been decided.
There will be sentences handed out and the people put away, based on a very partial reading of terms.
Various experts have opined and have different views obviously, though the pro-prosecutor supporters seem to have more trouble justifying their case.
One old boy, ex CT retired put it nicely for me.
" Rebellion, no way, sedition maybe, use of public funds needs to be demonstrated."

At the end of the day heavy sentences are in the pipeline for Sanchez and Cuixart for demonstrating, for Forcadell for complying with the terms of her job and allowing votes/processes in the Catalan Parliament, and the rest for conspiring to give people the chance to vote, the latter albeit against the voice of the Central Government.

The cases will end up in European courts which in all likelihood will hand down the same verdict as they did onOrtegi and force Spain to release the prisoners. But by then they will already have served time and major players in the Process will have been out of major play for some time.

At the end of the day there are two branches of Spanish Justice, one which is liberal and forward thinking and has independence of thought. The other which largely controls things that affect the state which is severely traditional and lives in an intellectual bubble (not my words). It thinks that it has nothing to learn from other countries which have no right to tell Spain what to do and that they simply do not understand the Spanish way.
This is the branch that has already decided the outcome, despite the flimsy legal grounds they have.


A bit off track but a letter I liked today.

"Talking of the debate over the ability of the Generalitat to assure the security of the meeting of Ministers on friday I t brings to mind an incident a while ago.
in 1941 and 42 the Falange organised a series of 'spontaneous' demonstrations outside the British Embassy. The Civil Governor contacted the British Ambassador and asked him if he need more protection.
The Ambassador replied that he didn't need that he send more police, but please not to send so many demonstrators."


Getting hotter, but it's end of term and I'm chinstrapped so a very quick resume.

Torra and Sanchez met today, I think neither but especially Torra actually wanted to. Anyway the meeting took place and both sides have agreed to continue the dialogue. So no real progress then, and none was expected.
A political cartoon had the two face to face,
Sanchez, "Have you got anything new for me?"
Torra, "No, but I might have if you have."
T. "have you got anything new for me?"
S. "No, and I wouldn't have even if you had."

Sums it up.

PP and Cs have labelled it a humiliation. but what else could you expect from them?
Yesterday Casado in Parliament said that Torra was looking for a civil war after his latest shooting himself in the foot over support for Slovenia.
Really? A serious politician who aspires to run the country can come out with that?
But polls show PP slipping and he is getting extreme in his fear of Vox, rather than getting sensible.
Sanchez has said that all it shows is that he has no real project for the country. That is true and also applies to Cs, who without the Catalan 'danger' to hang votes on have little in substance to offer.


Prosecution is trying to do Puigdemont over diverting public funds for 1 Oct. Difficult to prove, especially as the Rajoy Government Minister of Finance categorically stated that not a single euro was used for that purpose.
However if it suffices to have him brought back in cuffs, then it's a win as they will never let him go.


Tomorrow the meeting of ministers takes place in Barcelona. There have been calls out for a big protest but to keep it peaceful.
A small number of activists are threatening action, so there is a big police operation to make sure the meeting is undisturbed.
But any action by activists merely plays into the hands of the ant-catalan parties, and I find it difficult to believe they could be that braindead to think that they are helping the situation. However they are young and impatient, and led by people with agendas.
I remember the demo in Barcelona that turned ugly in parts and was shown to have had hooded agents provocateurs fanning the flames.
We hope it will not turn ugly tomorrow as most of us want a peaceful demo.
For my part I would simply ignore it, but they aren't asking me.


Hi, For anyone still interested in this, here is a quick resume.

The Autonomous elections in Andalucia were interesting. Susana Diaz (PSOE) played a terrible game and lost control of the Autonomy. She was faced by a triad of parties, PP, Cs and Vox who didn't address Andalucia very much but banged on about Catalunya. They won the majority between them in a shift to the right.

Cs have a problem in that they don't want to be seen negotiating with Vox, especially as Manel Valls their candidate for Mayor of Barcelona has said that no pact with the extreme right should ever be contemplated.
This ties their hands, however it didn't prevent PP from coming to an agreement and Cs in a huge show of hypocrisy then said that by coming to an agreement with PP but not directly with Vox they have avoided such a pact.

The right is on an upsurge.


What struck me after the election is that Diaz, who had campaigned on an Andalucia first theme, said she regretted not bringing Catalunya into her speeches. This recognises that she lost out by not being overtly anti-Catalan.

Meanwhile Extremadura voted the other day to call for the government to reinstate 155 in Catalunya, supported by the local Cs, PP and PSOE. That is a worrying interference.

It appears from reading and listening that the Spanish idea of an indivisible Spain, is still very prevalent. Also that their idea of democratic process is to impose by whatever means possible their idea on others without coming to some form of consensus or vote. The Catalans are bad for wanting to break Spain so they must be brought to heel. Yet the idea that arriving at an agreement that benefits everybody seems alien to many. While the short-sightedness of not realising that an imposed solution is no solution, and just postponing the problem, does not seem to occur to many.

Sanchez has it right, any solution must involve talking and voting, such is the way of democracy.
Yet the above mindset in a large proportion of Spaniards, even within his own party, is tying his hands. He needs the support of Basques and Catalans, but every olive branch he hands out is seen as treachery.


Meanwhile the PP, and to a lesser extent Cs continue to rabble rouse and bash away.

Aznar has taken Casado under his wing, and is guiding him along to try to recover the right wing votes lost. Thus an experienced ex-president is seen as guiding a young politically inexperienced leader and this will reassure many I imagine.

However Casado has been going very far over the top recently, in speeches he accuses the government of sitting down at a table with Batasuna and ETA. That the PSOE is in cahoots with fanatics and separatists, when the most fanatical person I have heard recently is him.

Today in a speech he proposed recovering a majority so that they could "restore order in Catalunya".

"In order to fight against the independentistas, he set out his prescription: to penalize the convocation of an illegal referendum, "as we stopped the Ibarretexe Plan and we will stop the Torra Plan"; the law of pardons will be modified so that those who are condemned for rebellion or sedition can not be pardoned; to modify the law of symbols, so that in public spaces it can not be conquered by the independentistas; apply the law and prohibit parties that promote violence; and to change the law of financing of parties, so that not even one euro of public money will receive the matches "that go against Spain". With all this, he said, "we will put order in Catalonia and we will end the independence pro-government that has the Government in its hands".

I cannot see anything else but a proposal for authoritarian measures backed up by force of state. A retrograde step for democracy in Spain, yet supported by many. What do they see as democracy? It's fine as long as you agree with us? Sitting here at my laptop I'm not sanguine about the immediate future.

Also the tactics that Casado is using is reminiscent of a certain mindset that came to power in Spain in the Civil War, and that took control of Germany and Italy in the 30's, and Donald across the water.
Rabble rousing, painting the scene blacker than it is, - violence and Kale Borroka in Catalunya, and using the Basques and Catalans as an internal enemy to rally support for a, shall we say, national standard to reassert itself.


Mind it's not all the fault of Madrid and the nefarious Spanish.
Torra has just finished a tour of the USA where he either failed to make an impact or just ran up against a wall of non-interest. First stop back was to Waterloo and Puigdemont rather than get back to the office.
With a major taxi strike in their conflict with the Barcelona Council he should be a voice helping out. As usual he spends more time on pie in the sky stuff rather than the hands on governing he should be doing to heal wounds. If he dedicated himself to day to day stuff to make life better all round he would be seen as a president for everybody not just the separatists. Apart from which he is also alienating a number of independentistes by his ham handed dealings.
Governing is not be done and legislation is not happening.
So far a waste of space.


It appears the trial for the prisoners will be at the beginning of February.
If something is guaranteed to fan flames it will be that.

Watch this space.

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