Crisis in Catalonia

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Re: Crisis in Catalonia

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:29 pm

After going quiet (well at least neglected by international news) for a while the Catalonia situation has flared up again. The Catalan government have declared independence in a secret vote that pro-union parties refused to participate in and the national government and courts have ruled illegal.

Meanwhile the Spanish government have suggested their response would be to rip away any autonomy Catalonia has and impose direct rule.

What happens next has me equal parts fascinated and terrified. I can't see anyway of resolving this peacefully any more, I just hope those in positions of authority act responsibly and don't allow violence to get out of hand.
Last edited by Sun Fin on Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crisis in Catalonia

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:04 am

Given both sides main ability seems to be spotting a fire, pouring oil on it and every piece of extra flammable equipment onto said fire, I'm not hopeful this will end with rebuilding ties between the regions.
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Re: Crisis in Catalonia

Unread postby Qin Feng » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:33 am

I'm a Spaniard. All I can say is that people are really tired of all this business. Secession talk I'd nothing new, it's been like this for ages, but it never really escalated so much. My opinion is that if Catalans want independence (which they don't because it's only a rough 50% of them while the others greatly oppose it) they should try and do it the legal way. That is, convince everyone you're right, get a lot of people in the parliament, change the constitution, and let the people vote in favor of that change in the constitution. Sure, it's really hard to do it this way, but I don't think a country's unity has to come st a cheap price.

Lately there's also been those demonstrations asking for the liberation of Puigdemont and other separatist leaders, but that's all propaganda since even the German Judge who didn't judge Puigdemont for rebellion admitted that there were no political prisoners, but the propaganda machine keeps on going.
The OP talks about civil war, but I honestly don't see it. Last time we had a civil war there were people literally killing each others on the street and a huge armed revolt in the north some months before the army's coup.
We're not near that point yet.
As for the future, I imagine our unity will be safeguarded. Catalonia is one of the richer regions and we can't simply let it go. But of course centralization of education and a tighter control of our "states" should be considered. More autonomy is what has led to this situation.
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Re: Crisis in Catalonia

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:53 am

I'm pleased to say the situation has defused a lot since the original post, when a genuine civil war did seem a possibility.

Being a Brit we have faced our own independence talks in recent years with Scotland. After many years of discussion we let them have a referendum which they lost, stealing all momentum from their case. I still feel that would have been the best action for the Spanish government to have taken. Especially, as you noted, the majority of Catalans don't appear to be in favour of independence!

That said I've not followed recent developments other than noticing that Puigdemont had been arrested in Germany, so I can't really comment on the marches to release the 'political' prisoners.

I think the wider issue of richer regions wanting independence could be a real problem long term! For example imagine if London decided to declare itself separate from the rest of the UK as they didn't want to have to keep paying for less affluent areas?
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Re: Crisis in Catalonia

Unread postby Qin Feng » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:20 am

Maybe, but then there's the problem with the "what ifs". What if the "yes" won? Then the central government would be discredited. What if the "no" won? It would have been a way to stop their momentum... For a while, until they demand another referendum until they win. Some politicians advocate for a referendum as a way to ask the catalans, but without any actual consequences. That is fine by me, but to be fair, separatists won't take anything that isn't independence, and that is not up for negotiations (I hope, at least).

It's a very polarizing issue and the catalans sre legitimately split in half. The separatist forces won in the number of seats they got in the regional government but not in the number of votes, so it's quite uncertain what a referendum would be like.
For now it doesn't seem like Puigdemont is coming back and those in jail might not come out any time soon. So it doesn't really matter how often separatists sell the fact that Puigdemont wasn't brought back here as a victory or whatever, the situation is against them. They have lost, but the media keep talking about it and blowing things out of proportion, and it's quote tiresome. I personally don't care what happens to their leaders. In jail or in a foreign country without the ability to come back, both are fine, they can do nothing, but I hope things go back to normal once again.
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Re: Crisis in Catalonia

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:22 pm

Well of course that's the danger of living in a democracy, sometimes people decide things you don't like. That doesn't mean they shouldn't have the right too vote in my opinion.
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Re: Crisis in Catalonia

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:46 pm

Spain has taken a gamble. They have taken a price: the damage to Spain's image is terrible. Spain the undemocratic, Spain who tramples on voters, Spain who arrests political leaders (whatever the in's and out's, that is all people see). Trying to centralize power will be seen as punitive, taking rights for the crime of voting in a way you don't like will seem really bad. In exchange, they hope that crushing the vote will break the Catalan cause and supress it for long enough. Of course if the gamble fails, it turns mild Catalanss/unionists/nuetrals into pro-Catalan becuase they feel Madrid has crushed their democratic right and will do so again, that Madrid can't be trusted. It risk firing people up.

Uk calling the referendum was a gamble. We could have lost with the obvoius problems that would have brought. Instead it had killed it for a generation (Brexit gives a chance of reviving if Brexit is a massive disaster). We got pats on the backs for being so democratic, Scotland got new powers, it rallied the fragmenting unionists in Scotland which led to a revival for Scottish Tories. Bar a fringe in Scotland, everyone accepted the referendum was free and fair so those mildly on either side or neutral considered the matter done for a generation. Nobody expected SNP to give up their dream forever but whenever they have seemed too keen on referendum mark 2, it has cost them support becuase they had their shot.

For us SNP had clearly won the democratic right to a referendum by winning in Scotland and it was in their manifesto, we respected that and for all we knew (though it was extremely doubtful, SNP had public support for other reasons), it could be what the people of Scotland wanted. There was talk afterwards of "should SNP consider going into England" but that was after the referendum and SNP didn't float it to be fair to them, that was from some left-wingers in England. It was widely agreed it wouldn't be true to SNP and down right hypocrisy for them to do so. Had any unionist argued that SNP had to win UK wide election before referendum they would have been laughed into exile and the party leader issuing about a hundred apologies to Scotland for such an insulting idea
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Re: Crisis in Catalonia

Unread postby Qin Feng » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:35 pm

What needs to be voted nation-wide is the change in the constitution, not the actual referendum. Hence why it's hard to get a legit referendum running. But it should be that way. Leaving an important part of a country is not good, it's counterproductive to both sides. And to be honest, I don't care about the "image" propagandists try to spread, it is not the government that has ignored the constitution and attempted to seize land because they think having a rough half of the population gives you the right to call something yours, with no regard or respect for the rules. No, Spain has not been undemocratic and there are no political prisoners. Just prisoner politicians that are there for disturbing public order and breaking the laws. It's not the first time something like this happens, and last time somebody tried to claim independence, the guy was sort of impeached for using public funds for something illegal. So how come now they're political prisoners but not back then? Well, because it is now when separatism broke more laws. Plain and simple.

It doesn't matter if it's punitive action or not, centralization should have been there from the very beginning. The point of problems is to solve them, not to bow before them just to look good, and then be screwed because your third richest region is no longer a region of yours. I honestly don't see anything undemocratic about it, it's not as if Spain is the only country that doesn't allow their states to secede. In fact, most do, but separatists have played the media card better and now seem like the good guys. I am convinced they have lost, and though the matter hasn't been handled how I would have liked, now they will think twice before taking justice by their own hand. The can wave whatever flag they want, that won't change what it says in their ID card anytime soon.

Regardless, I'm here to tell from a first person perspective. It's the way I see it, and I have no intentions of changing anyone's mind.
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Re: Crisis in Catalonia

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:43 pm

Qin Feng wrote:Regardless, I'm here to tell from a first person perspective. It's the way I see it, and I have no intentions of changing anyone's mind.


That's fair, we are just giving a UK view.

Personally I think the future is three layers of governance: 1) powerful regions ala Catalonia (I fear doing more for getting them wrong) or in UK London with a lot of devolved power 2) country government ala Westminster and Madrid for things like foreign policy, law and order, 3) EU (apart from UK who have kindly agreed to be experiment to show how bad life will be outside EU :wink: ) to deal with issues too big for countries. I don't believe Catalonia should go independent so I'm surprised Madrid is working so hard to ensure they do leave in future

While Spain would have got a bit of a bad look for not allowing referendum, they could have got away with it with a bit of common sense so in that. So I was wrong, in short term, denying the referendum could have worked but not the way Madrid did it. The Scottish referendum provided an easy compare and contrast internationally so it was awkward sure and there would have been articles from supporters in media, but had Madrid left things alone: unionists were boycotting it means nobody would have taken the result seriously and entirely possible the separatists would have overused the result and just annoyed everyone. While as you say, few countries would have really cared as most won't want to encourage separatism and populace generally wouldn't care. This isn't a long term strategy though, if separatists keep winning in the polls then your going to have to deal with it properly.

However as soon as the images of the referendum across the world are police attacking voters and then the arrests of separatists political leaders, you lose global support. Whatever legal reasons Madrid has for arresting them, it is awful awful image to see elected leaders being pursued (it doesn't help that I know of no UK politician that has been arrested for referendums and most casual public won't see "having vote" as a jailable crime), particularly so soon after a referendum and where police had just been assaulting people. Now this image may all be part of extremely extremely effective Catalonia propaganda but whatever the truth or not: it worked, governments were not going to go against Spain but it turned people from mild interest/curiosity into angry.

Which is probably fine for Madrid as long as that is an image that only lives outside Spain. If the image within Catalonia becomes that Madrid 1) deny people a vote, 2) assault them when they vote, 3) arrest the leaders of an elected government, Spanish unity is long term screwed. That is the sort of narrative that turns apathy or mild support into anger that will fester.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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