Hey everyone After Scotland’s chance of nationhood was at least for the moment surrendered in September last year. I must admit I looked on with envious eyes to Catalonia two months later when in November 80 per cent of voters gave their backing to establishing their nation as an independent country in an unofficial test of public opinion of the issue.
However in a special report by Peter Geoghegan in Friday’s edition of The National suggests that the Spanish Government may face pressure to grant to the Catalan people a binding referendum. As the Catalan Nationalist Artur Mas has called snap elections for the Catalonian parliament on September 27th. These elections will Geoghegan informs us will be a De Facto
referendum on leaving Spain.
So just like Scotland it looks like Catalonia’s political future will be settled in the cool of a September breeze. It does have to be said however that the timing of the vote may not be the only similarity between the two nations as far from the landslide victory many observers were predicting just a few months ago, the result may like the Scottish vote last year be a lot closer than first thought. Indeed there a school of thought which believes the Catalans like the Scots may take cold feet at the last minute and favour staying in a union with Spain.
To have expressed such sentiments last year would at least according to political observers would have been perceived as ridiculous as Catalonia was seen as the progressive model for constitutional change in Europe and there independence movement which was lead according to experts in the field from the bottom up with genuine grassroots control was we were told far more likely to win its bid for freedom than a Scottish independence movement which was according to the unionist press led from the top down.
The Scottish independence movement we were told was despite the fact that yes campaigners knew different led by one party the SNP and by one man Alex Salmond.
This blatant and bare faced lie was allowed to stand as the unchallenged truth due to the fact that unionists exerted far too much power and influence over the press and media than is good for any democracy. Indeed when I told many voters that Alex Salmond was not the leader of the Yes campaign and that our chief executive was Blair Jenkins and our chair person was the former Labour MP Dennis Canavan I was met with either blank stares or verbal abuse. Meanwhile the pro union lie machine went in to overdrive to conduct the most vile, sickening, and vitriolic hate campaign against Mr Salmond a man whose boots his unionist opponents will never be fit to lace.
One of the tactics used by our opponents, and as a politics graduate I will admit this was smart on their part, was to project that the United Kingdom still had indeed still has a sphere of influence within the global community. Of course those of us who support independence know that this is a myth but try telling that to an anxious pensioner on the doorstep and believe me I did and you realise just how tough a selling job I had to do. The Better Together campaign had managed to drape Britishness like a comfort blanket round certain groups in our society and it really worked well for them.
This was particularly true on two issues, currency and Europe. These issues were played brilliantly by the UK unionists and David Cameron wasted no time in enlisting the help of Spanish Premier and fellow Conservative Marrino Rajoy who with one eye on his own and his country’s political future was only too keen to assist Mr Cameron’s by talking down Scotland’s chances of success. This was particularly true with regards to gaining early and unopposed entry in to the European Union. Now however Mr Rajoy has own political concerns and though he will no doubt be hopeful of a result in this battle he knows as David Cameron knew when he was facing Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond that he is up a skilled political operator in Catalan Premier Artur Mas.
The fact that Mas has managed to get the two main pro independence parties to run on a joint ticket for these elections will present advocates for a yes ailliance in Scotland for next year’s Scottish Parliament with a significant boost to our cause if the Catalan result goes well. At the moment however that is still very much an if, and though support for Catalan Independence has risen sharply in recent years one wonders that support can be sustained when push comes to shove.
In his excellent article Peter Geoghegan states that ‘September is an auspicious month for Catalan nationalists and September 11th the date Barcelona fell to Bourbon forces is Catalonia’s national holiday’ Personally this would make me very wary of holding any referendum on or around that date, and this could explain why Alex Salmond ruled out holding Scotland’s vote in June, too close to Bannockburn, or indeed on St Andrew’s day or the Thursday closest to it.
Geoghegan goes on to state that there are indications that support for outright independence may be declining as recent opinion polls appear to be showing a narrow majority of voters in favour of staying with Spain. Geoghegan cites evidence from Professor Michael Keating an expert of sub state nationalist movements who says that ‘people are still looking for a Spanish version of Devo Max’. Well if they are I wish them luck because there sure as hell going to need it. I caution them now to beware of Spanish promises they may disappear faster than Scotch mist after the votes have been counted.
With regards to Devo Max I think I had better give my Catalan comrades a wee heads up as to what it actually is or what it’s supposed to be. You see according to some unionist commentators Devo Max was supposed to mean that Scotland got control of everything except defence and foreign affairs. This however has been strenuously denied by unionist politicians some of whom said that the vow their leaders made in the run up to Scotland’s vote has not only replaced Devo Max but that it had been honoured and indeed extended by the findings of The Smith Commission Report. This line of argument would be fine but for one fatal flaw, I don’t live in a fantasy world and neither does UK Labour leader Ed Milliband who not only said that the vow had not been honoured but that the vow didn’t exist as the Daily Record had made it up to secure its readership for the union. Personally I don’t know why they bothered as the record readers were always going to be Brit lovers I mean we are talking that most bizarre of combinations the orange and the old. Now I don’t mean to be cruel but this is not exactly mensa material we’re talking about. If there are any Catalans reading this post I strongly suggest you vote for the Nationalist movements and get the mandate to leave Spain rather than complicate things any further than you need to by hanging around and hoping for the best.
Though I have heard there is a new kid on the Spanish political bloc I for one wouldn’t be putting my trust in Podemos. My reasoning is simple they may be electrifying Spanish politics and it is for that very reason they will not have Catalonia’s interests at heart.
To conclude my thoughts on this matter I say to the people of Catalonia you supported our independence movement in our hour of need and I return that support by wishing you well on your day of destiny whenever it comes. Whether or not your nation becomes independent or remains a part of Spain I do not know. That is for you and you alone to decide and the final decision can only be yours to take. Yours and no-one else’s
I however will want to know the answer to this question will the bright September sunshine smile down on Catalonia or will a Spanish promise mean adios to freedom
Love And Best Wishes