Catalan Independence? Democracy dies in Spain.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Dwarf, Jan 12, 2014.

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  1. As expected PP and the rest are kicking up about Puigdemont and a possible swearing in as president via electronic communication.
    Personally I agree, I think he should be there, but I think he wants to create the situation where he can hold up to the world what's going on here. Not that the world will be really inerested any more.
    His lawyers are sounding out the TC about his presence on the day.

    Forn and the Jordis have stated that they renounce unilateralism in an attempt to get released. Spanish press is crowing about beheading the independence leadership.

    On TV I saw last night that De los Cobos I/C Police Op in Catalunya declared that there was violence against the police before they reacted, that they received 200 injuries and the response was proportional to the situation.
    In the face of all the visual evidence that he can maintain this is simply incredible. Futhermore I am sure to my boots that it will be accepted and quietly allowed to drop while the myth of Catalan violence receives another boost.
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  2. I'm with you on this. I really can't see how there can be a president running , or trying to run, Catalonia from Belgium. I also feel that the world has moved on to other stories. The goings on here no longer make the news
  3. Don't know if there are more than two or three reading this anymore but here is an article by an-ex ambasador to the UK, born in Catalunya. A sensible Spanish pov.

    ERC and CUP now expressing doubts about Puigdemont as candidate because they can't see it happening. Four days to go and not looking good.

    Article: Carles Casajuana

    In the public -or published- international opinion, there are two clichés about Spain. The first, very old, denied by the most recent history, is that of a country incapable of resolving its internal conflicts in a civilized way, dominated by intolerance and, occasionally, by fratricidal impulses. It is the country of the Counter-Reformation, of the Inquisition, of Goya's duel with clubs, of the black legend. It is, above all, the country of the Civil War.

    Let's not forget: for years, the Spanish war was front-page news and captured the interest of intellectual circles in Europe and around the world. It was the first serious battle between fascism, communism and liberal democracy, the prologue to the budding world conflagration. Then, the forty years of Francoism made Spain the living stamp of authoritarianism and intransigence. It is natural, then, that this cliché was embedded in the European subconscious.

    The second cliché, more current but less rooted, is that of a modern, vibrant country, able to liquidate Francoism through pact and consensus, to transform itself and to be at the forefront of social changes, a country without complexes, with an open and tolerant society. It is the other side of the coin, the Spain of the transition, of Pedro Almodóvar, of Barcelona'92, of homosexual marriage.

    In addition to incompatibles, these two clichés are - like all stereotypes - coarse and caricatured. They are based on simplification, on the conversion of anecdote into category, on the elimination of nuances and on the substitution of gray tones for virgin whites or ominous blacks. Not even Spain in the 1930s was the only European country corroded by deep divisions and with a rampant fascist movement-think of Hitler's Germany, of Mussolini's Italy, of Marshal Pétain's France-nor was the transition the fairy story that many still paint. Now it is said - with reason - that the Catalan crisis is damaging the image of Spain abroad and in Madrid it is accepted without much discussion that the Government has not been able to explain its policy well and that, on the other hand, the independence movement has sold his very well, projecting doubts about the democratic quality of our political system. Is it like that? We are putting on a show, without a doubt, but it seems to me that the error, as it usually happens, is not about communication but about what needs to be communicated, and that we can not convey the idea that we are resolving the conflict in the best possible way because we are simply not solving it in the best possible way. On the contrary, it just festers more.

    We want the whole world to see us as an advanced democracy: but are we sure that we are acting like an advanced democracy? The independence movement either does not come out well. The approval of the laws of the Referendum and Legal Transitoriness on September 6 and 7, and the declaration of independence on October 27, outside the Constitution and without an irrefutable majority vote to sustain it, do not agree with the image of democratic lily-white scrupulosity and that the pro-independence parties want to convey.

    However, the central government has not been covered in glory either, and its responsibility is greater because it is the one who has the obligation to ensure coexistence and to avoid discord between us. We can look at it from every angle we want, but the blows of October 1 and the provisional detention of the Jordis, Oriol Junqueras and Joaquim Forn do not fit with the idea of the dialoging Spain of the transition. The central government is not opening any means of conciliation to resolve the dispute. They say that the Constitution does not allow the referendum, let alone independence. Very good: but, then, apart from article 155 and the courts - courts that, surprisingly, are in practice equating the 1-O and the UDI to a violent insurrection against the State - what is the central government's solution? to these millions of Catalans who, in a peaceful way, have been calling for a rethinking of relations between Catalonia and the rest of Spain for years?

    The problem is not communication. The Catalan crisis has put us to the test and, unfortunately, we have not lived up to the image we aspire to project. Everyone here has their reasons, but if we want to preserve the prestige that we gained forty years ago, if we do not want anyone to question the quality of our democracy, the best we can do is to reserve justice for legal conflicts. and resolve litigation through politics and dialogue. As in the transition.
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  4. Personally I'm waiting for something to actually happen, Like you I am reading lots about what people think, but I don't see any action. presumably the 17th is the day we are waiting for.
  5. Democracy is dying all over the rotten EU.
  6. Liked this, especially after a satiric show in Cadiz that had a 'Capitan Puigdemont' guiloteened in a almost pantomime atmosphere, Actor, "Shall we?" Crowd, "Yesss".

    I'm not against satire at all, in fact I'm all for it, but it seemed to be stirring rather than commentating.
    There seems to be a Spanish trait that veers away from concessions, it's win all or lose all. Spain wins, the independentistes lose, without taking into account the reasons why they are independentistes, and without making concessions to solve the problem. Jail the leaders and the independentistes will have to go home quietly, seems to be the attitude and expectation. In other words sweep it under the carpet because we have won.


    Virtually unanimous, the political and journalistic criticisms against the positions of the Catalan independence movement cover all strata of Spanish culture: from the more or less rational argument to the more or less ferocious satire. From the most severe publishers who consider the last Soap Opera of Puigdemont to be "grotesque" until the Carnival of Cádiz, in which Puigdemont is happily decapitated.

    Some commentators have underlined this paradox: while a tweet may have criminal consequences today, the aforementioned carnivalesque satire raises applause in important media. It is worth pausing for a moment on the significance of this difference. You can not censor any carnavalesque ridicule, however hard it is (personally, I am a supporter of moderation, but a democracy must allow subjects to be criticised with no restraints ). Now, a democracy must also be fair: freedom is for everyone, puppeteers, tweeters, soccer field whistleblowers and carnival groups, or we are entering a slippery field in which the Spanish majority can make fun of minorities and at the same time, you can persecute them when they do something it dislikes.

    Having said that, I continue with the initial argument. The rhetorical condemnation of the independence movement is unanimous in all of Spain these days after the repetition of its victory (adding up all three parties). Virtually no one has asked: "What is wrong with our approach?" On the contrary: Spanish public opinion adds heart to the anticipated sentence of Judge Llarena, who does not even allow Junqueras to be in a Catalan prison, close to his family, the worst terrorist does not suffer worse treatment. No one is surprised. Not the intellectuals who have fought the premodern idea, of the prison as punishment. Not journalists sensitive to all kinds of abuse of power. The decision to imprison preventively or restrict such important rights as democratic representation seems normal to everyone. Is it normal to argue jail in virtue of the hypothetical repetition of a crime whose violence is neither proven nor is it judged (apart from having been scrupulously avoided by the independentistas during the years of the process)? The conclusions of the magistrate and the humiliating declarations of the defendants leave in the a rarefied atmosphere in the air. Clear signs of humiliation.

    Experts say that Judge Llarena is a great jurist. Certainly, there are many Criminal Law professors who have questioned the argument of violence that allows for the accusation of rebellion and consequent deprivation of liberty. But I will not have the audacity, I,being ignorant in laws, to question the orders of a prestigious magistrate. The European judiciary will decide in time. It is not up to me to comment on the judicial behavior, but the climate of active or passive lynching that has been installed in Spanish society (including non-independent Catalonia). I have always maintained that the independence movement has made clear mistakes. Errors that must be judged. The Catalan internal fracture; the violation of the law, without whose counterweight democracy disappears under the weight of the strongest; the destruction of the culture of reconciliation and of the internal and external pacts that characterized anti-Franco Catalonia. As if that were not enough, the propaganda, the good faith of the people, the operetta has been abused. Lying about the consequences of the process (particularly on October 1). All this must be judged. In the courts and in the political arena. But it must also be overcome.

    And this is what I am saying: that there is no will to overcome anything, on the contrary: it floats in the journalistic environment, in the internet basements, in the corridors of politics and in the highest judicial instances the will to convert the judgment of the leaders of the process in something more than a trial. Scornful disciplinarian? Of course, even if the State's victory is clear and implacable, and for the moment it is, democracy can not rise above the humiliation of an important minority of more than two million.

    If the logic of humiliation is confirmed, Spain will inaugurate a new stage of denial of its national reality. Wanting to save unity, it will have returned to the old cainism (fratricide). Actually, since the years of the Statute the way in which the Catalan problem has been dealt with demonstrates that the responsibilities in the present evil are shared and, therefore, the solutions are either shared and mutually concessive, or never will be solutions. I am not the one to ask for anything from the judges, but to journalism and politics. We must restore at all costs the climate of respect. The temptation of humiliation must be avoided at all costs. It is urgent to enable success. The ferocious eagles, the poet Horace recalls, will not beget a dove.
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  7. TV3 under indirect attack, and direct to be honest. Suddenly the laws about VAT have been changed in relation to media and it appears they will have to repay a major sum dating back some years.
    Added to that there is a campaign from a certain sector to persuade companies not to advertise on TV3 to cut revenue.

    Puigdemont keeps insisting on himself being president, Rajoy has said that he cannot be president at a distance,(I actually agree) and the president should come in person. If Puigdemont insists on a video-conference then he will keep 155 going.
    This raises a couple of points, one is that we have judges declaring on political issues and politicians on legal ones, which questions the independence of both.
    Secondly if Rajoy doesn't like the choice will he keep refusing to lift 155 till he gets one he likes rather than accepting the election results?
    PDeCat says that it is not up to Rajoy to choose the president, which is true, but also while I think Puigdemont has a point it is also up to the Catalan parliament who they choose, and that doesn't have to be him.
    There is now a good case for him to step down and let new faces take on the different challenge.
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  8. skid2

    skid2 LE Book Reviewer

    Will they though, newcomers take up the fight and would an arrest not galvanise the cause. From the independence POV.
  9. On the other hand, him handing the reins over to someone else could be seen as the Indies backing down, ceding to Rajoy's will.

    Both sides are pissing into the same wind, and neither one has the sense to turn so the wind is in their back.
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  10. Been pondering that. I think we need a new approach because the Rajoy-Puigdemont confrontation isn't working for either Spain or Catalunya. Rajoy has to be seen to 'win' and Puigdemont lose from the Spanish pov. So Rajoy will simply not allow Puigdemont to be president as he has to be arrested and jailed for the humiliation which is what he wanted all along.
    Puigdemont wants to go back but avoiding jail if he can, therefore some form of immunity/amnesty, which is simply not going to happen.

    An arrest might not galvanise the cause but it would lead to an entrenchment of positions on both sides. Madrid via politicians and press has been at pains all along to say that independence has set Catalan against Catalan. Yet the ones who have done most to set people against each other are precisely those politicians and their media. This is just another step on the path. It's more important to gain votes in Spain than Catalunya and for the PP the Catalans are a way to gain votes because they are a minor party in Catalunya, especially now, and in that sense they have sacrificed the PP cause there for votes elsewhere.
    An arrest though would certainly help to confirm the younger generation in an independence frame of mind as it is they who will be the next wave, like I have said this is not going away, it'll happen again somewhere down the line.

    Immediate independence seems not to be on the cards and it is unrealistic to expect it, but gains could be made in getting Catalunya and the Basque Country identified as national entities within the state. That would be a start, and enough for many people, but even that would be a huge lump, perhaps too much for many Spaniards to swallow. And herein lies the roots of the problem.
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  11. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    The first thing Puigdemont and his merry men need to do is demonstrate that they can run Catalonia better than Madrid can run Spain. People won't vote for independence unless their standard of living, financial security and political freedom is guaranteed.

    Next, they have to show that there's a realistic plan for independence - unlike the last fuster cluck of an attempt. They'd need to show how they'll set up a central bank, independence judiciary, police force, armed services, tax collection and so on. And they'll need to show a plan for trade with Spain, the EU and the rest of the world. It's need to be realistic - not a work of fiction like the SNP's load of BS in their Scottish independence campaign.

    And they'll have to work hard on public opinion in the rest of Spain so that Catalan independence is seen as acceptable, not an attack on the rest of Spain. Otherwise - worst case - the rest of Spain will support sending in the Army upon the next attempt at independence.

    Until Catalonia can do those things, they'll remain a Spanish province.

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  12. Hard to disagree with any of that. Catalunya I think has already demonstrated that there is the basis for a good standard of living, sometimes despite Madrid's caring administration. How much is down to Catalan entrepreneurial spirit rather than the politicians is fairly moot.

    Final point you make, I don't think independence will ever be acceptable to Spain unless there is a change in mentality, which in the short term is not going to happen, and the send in the tanks boys will be shouting them on like they did with the police.
    First, and it's a big step, but this time the Basques are coming on board is recognising the national identity. Even that's a biggie for your average Spaniard. After that the next step could be separation, but a way down the road after the last disaster.
  13. From Yahoo.Es. I've just stuffed it through google translate, so it's not perfect by any means, but i thought it worth sharing in its entirety.

    Barcelona, Jan 16 (EFE) .- Junts per Catalunya (JxCAT) and ERC have agreed to keep Carles Puigdemont as a candidate of the independence for the investiture and that the Republican Roger Torrent replace Carme Forcadell at the head of the Parliament, which is constituted tomorrow .

    Both formations have released a joint statement in which they reaffirm their support for Puigdemont and endorse Torrent, deputy spokesman of Junts pel Yes in the last term, "in line with the restitution of institutions."

    Sources from ERC have pointed out that they support Puigdemont because it is the candidate proposed by JxCat for the Presidency of the Generalitat, but without going into specifics if the pact includes the guarantee of a remote investiture.

    According to the agreed distribution of roles, the decision of who should relieve Forcadell as a candidate of the independentistas to preside over the Parlament corresponded to ERC, which has opted for one of its profiles upwards in recent years.

    The permanent commission of ERC and its new parliamentary group have ratified this afternoon the proposal to elect Roger Torrent tomorrow (Sarrià de Ter, Girona, 1979), deputy of the Parlament since 2012, as well as mayor of his native town since 2007.

    "If I obtain the majority confidence of the camera, it will be an honor to succeed Carme Forcadell, who has defended this institution as nobody else, and I will work to keep up," Torrent said in an ERC statement.

    His first objective, he said, will be "to put the institution back at the service of the citizens and not of the forces of the 155 and to materialize the democratic mandate that emerged from the polls on December 21st."

    In addition to Torrent, who could become the president of the youngest Parlament in history, ERC will also propose Alba Vergés to be part of the new Parliamentary Board, occupying one of the four secretariats.

    This afternoon, JxCat and ERC have announced an agreement to support Torrent tomorrow as the new president of the Parliament and have reaffirmed their support for Carles Puigdemont as a candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat.

    For its part, the CUP has announced that it will support the constitution of a Mesa with an independence majority, without asking for compensation.

    However, the spokesperson of the CUP secretariat, Nuria Gibert, has said that it is "essential" that Puigdemont "clearly recognize" CDC's irregular financing through the Palau de la Música and has warned that not doing so could compromise your support for the investiture.

    In the constitutive session tomorrow, the absolute majority of 70 independentist deputies could be reduced circumstantially to 62 in the event that the three elected in prison - Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez and Joaquim Forn - and the five who remain in Belgium -Carles Puigdemont , Clara Ponsatí, Lluís Puig, Antoni Comín and Meritxell Serret- could not delegate their vote.

    The Bureau of Age - coincidentally formed by three ERC deputies: the oldest, Ernest Maragall, and the two youngest, Gerard Gómez del Moral and Rut Ribas - will have the responsibility of deciding whether or not to accept the delegation of votes requests can send them from JxCat and ERC so that their eight deputies elected in prison or in Belgium do not remain without being able to vote.

    Even if the eight absent elected deputies could not delegate their vote, it does not seem that the independence forces see the Parliamentary presidency endangered, unless there was an unexpected triangulation in which the commons presented a candidate and the parties Constitutionalists will support it in block.

    This morning, Puigdemont, who does not resign to be invested president by telematic before January 31, has intervened through videoconference in a meeting with the members of the parliamentary group of JxCat in a room of the Parliament.

    However, the President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, has advanced that, if in the constitutive session of tomorrow of the Parlament it is allowed to delegate the vote from Brussels to Puigdemont, the Executive will appeal immediately that decision before the Constitutional Court.

    The leader of Citizens in Catalonia, Inés Arrimadas, has told Puigdemont to "forget to be president" because "he is fleeing from justice" in Belgium and because he ran for election in "electoral coalition with CDC", condemned by the Palau case.

    Although the votes of the eight deputies of Catalonia in Comú-Podem could be key in the votes of tomorrow to decant majorities, the spokesman of the commons, Elisenda Alamany, has reaffirmed the refusal of his group to support candidates for the presidency of the Parlament that is not his own.

    The PSC's parliamentary spokesperson, Eva Granados, has criticized that Catalonia in Comú-Podem support the independentistas to "impose" their map of the Chamber.
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  14. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    So Catalan needs to bring about a change in mentality. How about sending a very carefully selected set of cases to the Spanish Constitutional Court? If the ruling goes against the Spanish government, it chips away at their authority. If the ruling is partisan, it will inflame opinion in Catalonia.

    What the Catalan government can't do is sound like a broken record going 'Madrid tyranny'. It must outsmart Madrid and win the political argument. Slogans are meaningless in a war of public opinion - what is required is astute politics and a long term plan of action the that leads to the erosion of the Spanish government's position.

    I doubt Puigdemont has the capability for that form of political action - he's a rabble rouser, not a thinker.

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  15. Problem I think is a deep-rooted Spanish mentality that sees Catalunya as a possesion, once conquered forever part of Spain and should be grateful for it, so they feel offended when someone disagrees with that and wants to leave. It strikes at the roots of Spanish thought and mentality.
    I stress that this is deep Spain not necessarily all of it but from the reactions I've seen quite a lot.
    Constitutional Tribunal wouldn't affect that as they largely, being conservative, share that pov which affects their rulings.
    Changing that will be difficult and I agree that Puigdemont is showing failings here. However he may be right in that if Spain won't change then it's up to Catalunya. We saw that in the hope that Europe would force mediation, which didn't happen. So we need Plan B and probably C as well, is he up to it? I don't think he is merely a rabble rouser, but he has been independentiste since his teens and that will affect his thinking.