Catalan crisis

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October 20, 2017

The image that sticks in my mind is the Catalan President Puigdemont campaign, the week before the illegal referendum, in Tarragona that reminded me of Hitler’s campaign for Germany’s Chancellor. The only thing missing was the swastika on the flags and armbands.
When the Spanish King spoke to the people after the illegal referendum, his message was that democracy is a delicate thing and when people walked over the Constitution, it can destroy democracy. Because the Constitution protects everyone and when it is ignored then the bullyboy takes over. The one thing that democracy needs is for everyone to have all the facts to make their own judgment and the constitutional laws are respected…
The Spanish have been telling me that they are very angry with the Catalan ‘independentistas’ and point out to me that the last Spanish Civil war started in Cataluña with the same anarchy tactics. This big concern for many Spanish is the start of another civil war.
To show solidarity to the overwhelming Catalans that want to remain in Spain thousands of Spaniards have demonstrated throughout Spain with the slogan “Unity and Democracy”. After the illegal Referendum, one million Catalans demonstrated in Barcelona against the declaration of a Republic.
The English reporting has only given one side of the event. Possibly, because the journalists have only had a few weeks to pick up the story while Angie and myself have been following it for nearly four years. We would like to give another side of this crisis.
The week before the illegal referendum was a week of violence with the University students joining the extremists. It spilled onto the circular roads with fires blocking the carriageways. Guardia Civil vans were destroyed and their children were subjected to abuse at school.
Schools showed a Propaganda film telling the children to fight for Independent Catalan. This theme of fighting for Catalan Republic was carried out with publicity and speeches. Mossos police stood aside not helping to keep order and even helped the referendum by opening the buildings and returning the ballot boxes. This put heavy pressure on the National Police and the Guardia Civil that showed in an aerial view of a thin line of police against thousands of violent demonstrators.
Mossos Police that objected to themselves being turned into a political force were disciplined by their superiors and their family faced ridicule. Two party leaders of demonstrations have been arrested for inciting a riot and put in prison. The chief of the Catalan Mossos Police (since April this year) face charges of acquiescing in to the disruption and not acting to protect the instruction of the Catalan Supreme Court. His passport has been taken away and now the Mossos Police have had their responsibility to protect the Catalan Constitutional Court laws also taken away.
The Guardia Civil have found evidence that the voting result had been massaged. Two hundred mayors refused to hold a vote. There was not a checklist of people that could vote and no proper checks at the voting places of ID. Some people voted twice and some used their parents ID. Mobile phone voting was used and the postal voting could not been checked because it had not been released by the post office due to a court order. Independent voting authority has declared that the voting is unsafe because the normal procedure was not carried out.
The Spanish President Rajoy instructed his Vice President Santamaria the job, a year last July, of negotiating with the Catalan President Puigdemont for a solution. She visited Barcelona many times with ministers and the Spanish President also had talks with Puigdemont a number of times. The King in his role of mediator went to Barcelona eight times to talk to Puigdemont.
President Rajoy regularly had talks with the two main parties who have supported him both in Parliament and in the press. Rajoy also tested his decision by putting it to the Catalan Constitutional Supreme Courts who found that the referendum and declaration of Republic is illegal.
The Spaniards have not fully grasped the concept of a Constitutional Monarch or two houses of Parliament and certainly the role of autonomous regions. This and the historic events caused bad decisions being made by Cataluña.
Cataluña flies the Kingdom of Aragon flag as does Valencia and the seven red strips represent the regions of Aragon, Cataluña, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, the area of Alicante with Murcia, of which Orihuela was the capital. Catalan was the language with regional differences. Cataluña has never been a separate country but a Dukedom similar to Cornwall that had the same medieval privileges.
But Cornwall had a separate language, Celtic, that originated in Galicia in the Bronze Age. Catalan is a bastard Spanish language similar to American and English.
On October 19, 1469, Isabel of Castille married Fernando of Aragon and formed a union between the two kingdoms making a united Spain.
The Magna Carta became the basis of all Spanish Constitutions ever since. After Franco’s death, a revised Constitution was agreed in Parliament that included a Constitutional Monarch and Autonomous Regions of which Cataluña was one.
To compare Cataluña to Scotland is wrong because ever since the Irish conquered the Picts and created Scotland it has always been a separate country.
Also, Scotland followed the Constitution and obtained permission from the Mother Parliament in London to hold a referendum.
If the Catalan President had been able to gain support from the Aragon Regions they could have presented a proposal to the Spanish Congress under the original Magna Carta.
The President of Cataluña refused to do this and ignored the Constitutional law by walking all over it. The result of this action has caused a 50% drop in tourists and eighteen days after the vote 900 companies have left Cataluña, among them large international companies. It is estimated that this action could cause a loss of €12,000 million.
The applications to the University has dropped in numbers. The Spanish Government IMSERSO programme, that gives a free weeks winter holiday to pensioners to help hotels remain open in the low season, has seen 50% cancellation in Cataluña.
Sales of cars and electrical items have almost stopped. VW are talking about relocating the SEAT production and dropping SEAT in Barcelona. Cataluña is in chaos.
Having gained Parliamentary support, Rajoy gave Puigdemont was a week to politically renounce his decision to declare a Republic. (Because nothing that Puigdemont says can be believe, Rajoy wanted in clear written language). This did not happen and now the next steps are presenting a proposal under Article 155.
This will have two days of Parliamentary discussion and voting, then the Article 155 will be put into action. The proposal is that the Catalan Parliament is dissolved and an executive committee to restore normality in Catalan, followed by elections in January 2018.
Following this event has been as interesting as when we stayed up all night to watch live pictures of man landing on the moon, even though we had to get to work next day.

Angela & David Hudson

Read more in this week’s print edition or go to e-paper

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Mr David Hudson,

    Have you ever lived in Catalonia?
    Were you in Catalonia these past few months?
    Have you ever been or had sons and daughters in Catalan schools?
    Did you see with your own eyes how the two civil leaders (not party leaders) incited the riot?
    Do you know what is the “Catalan Estatut”? Do you know what Rajoy’s party did to it in 2006?

    I am Catalan and I live in Barcelona.
    On the first of October I was beaten up by the Spanish policeandGuardiaCivil when I was trying to vote peacefully along with two other million people. I remind you that there were over a thousand injured on that morning. Unfortunately no photos of such violence were published in Spanish press neither was seen on Spanish television. And for your information, on that day there was no mobile voting, nobody voted twice because there were identity checking lists at all polling stations and noboby used their parents ID to vote.

    By the way, the Catalan language is a Romance language that derives from vulgar latin and has the same origins as French, Italian and Portuguese (where you have learnt that Catalan is “bastard Spanish” I can’t imagine!). By the way, the “fires blocking the carriageways” were candles carried by people in sign of peace. By the way, the Spanish Civil War started in Northern Africa and it was military “coup” against the democratically elected Spanish Republic …And so on…
    It might help if you got these historical and recent facts correct before putting your ideas forward for publishing. It also might help if you spoke to Catalans, of all ages, who want independence so that you have a balanced view of the issues and arguments: speaking to Spanish people about what Catalans want may give you a one sided view – this is possibly why you make such a derogatory and inflammatory statement when you accuse people like me of being similar to Hitler supporters. This is an unacceptable fascist accusation. I am shocked to see that such statement comes from a British citizen!

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