Carles Puigdemont Turns the Tables on Rajoy 266

Before his speech on Independence to the Catalan parliament, Carles Puigdemont seemed to be in an impossible position. Declare Independence and he would be immediately arrested and direct rule imposed from Madrid. Rajoy appeared to have all the angles covered; the EU had already specifically greenlighted the use of armed force in Commissioner Timmermans’ disgraceful address to the EU Parliament. The intergovernmental side of the EU, the Council, had through its President Donald Tusk called on Puigdemont not not to declare Independence but rather to enter dialogue, in terms that accepted the Spanish insistence that the very notion of Independence was inadmissible.

So Puigdemont was placed by the right wing governments of Europe into a position where if he declared Independence he would be portrayed as an unreasonable fanatic refusing dialogue, and his imprisonment would be portrayed as justified. On the other hand, if he did not declare Independence he would appear a traitor to his own supporters, would be breaking the referendum law of his own Catalan parliament and the cause of Independence would be damaged by disillusion.

The entire World was wondering how Puigdemont would deal with this fix. His answer was peculiarly brilliant. He started off by speaking at length of the history of Catalonia’s attempts to enter dialogue on more devolution, and their constant rebuttal by Madrid. This was so reasonable and effective that the live blog of the rabidly Unionist Guardian plain refused to translate or summarise any of it (see 18.31 here).

Puigdemont effectively turned the tables on Rajoy by both declaring Independence and not declaring Independence. He proclaimed the result of the referendum and said as a consequence the parliament would declare Independence, but in the next breath announced they would seek dialogue on the way forward with Spain. All media sources are saying that he stated Independence would be declared but suspended for two weeks pending dialogue. Unless the Deutsche Welt interpreter missed it, this did not come across as I listened live and I wonder if there was a last minute change to the circulated text. But the effect of what he said was much the same.

It is Rajoy who is now in the impossible position. The World has seen a very mild and moderate Puigdemont positively pleading for dialogue and mediation. It is going to be very difficult for Rajoy to arrest him for that. More importantly, Puigdemont appears to have acceded to the request of Donald Tusk and the European Council. But he has done so safe in the knowledge that Rajoy will not enter dialogue and never had any intention of doing so.

There are only two possible outcomes of a dialogue or mediation. One is greatly enhanced powers for Catalonia in a new devolution settlement. The second is an an agreed and binding Independence referendum. But Rajoy has taken a line of absolutist opposition to either of these ways forward, which opposition is fundamental to his centralising, Francoist world view. Rajoy, having whipped up Spanish nationalism to violent fever pitch, cannot give any ground to Catalonia without substantially alienating his own Francoist core support.

Puigdemont, in short, has acceded to EU calls for dialogue and negotiation which he knows Rajoy will refuse. As it becomes ever more evident that Rajoy has no plan at all except violence, the popular revulsion across Europe against the Francoists will gather momentum.

Puigdemont appeared boxed in, but he has skipped past Rajoy and left him sitting on his arse in the mud.


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266 thoughts on “Carles Puigdemont Turns the Tables on Rajoy

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  • Republicofscotland

    Rajoy just gave a brief statement, asking for clarity of whether or not Puigdemont actually declared independence or not.

    Rajoy claimed that the Spanish people need to know where they stand. Rajoy in my opinion claimed that Puigdemont, is the one who’s causing uncertainty.

    However the Spanish government, in my opinion, knows fine well that Puigdemont has declared independence, and are bidding their time as to when to intervene.

    • Josep

      Actually in my opinion the general opinion is the opposite: almost nobody feels or believe that Puigdemont declared the independence.

      • Republicofscotland

        Well he’s not going to state the exact words, especially with gunships and a cruise liner full of paramilitaries waiting at the docks for the nod from Rajoy, to shut down the parliament and arrest everyone.

        I’d say Puigdemont is biding his time, meanwhile Rajoy is unsure what to do, because of the cagey way Puigdemont declared independence.

        • Josep

          Sure, but to implement the Independence Mr. Puigdemont should be able to control the banking system and the taxes system, also to be recognized by some important other countries and he should be able to control the airports.
          The Catalan government doesn’t can’t control the taxes to survive, neither has any control over the banks and France and Spain are blocking any major “help” from the EU, and obviously Unted States is not going to help Catalonia and create a mess with France and Spain. let’s not get started with the fact that Spanish speaking countries have stated that they will not recognize Catalonia. I don’t see any way to apply that declaration of independence that have is even frozen now.

          • Republicofscotland

            Yes Josep, it won’t be easy, Catalan’s birth as a independent nation, though declared on paper by Puigdemont, is/will be a long and laborious one.

            The USA , is currently in the process of selling fighter jets to Spain, so you won’t hear much from Trump, except for his administration backing Rajoy.

            One wonders if it were a region of Iran or Syria, that voted for independence, would the USA be so taciturn about it, I think not.

            Puigdemont needs to make allies and quick, possibly China.

            However, Spain has cordial ties and embassies all over the globe.


    • Parth

      Absolutely. Rajoy knows that sending in the Guardia Civil is the stupidest possible response right now (or at least, should have been advised by someone that he needs to stop the macho posturing and start using his brains). All he has to do now is to continue with this ‘dialogue’, while insisting at the same time that the Constitution should be respected. I reckon he could easily continue ‘negotiations’ for another three or four years without actually conceding anything, by which time there would have been another round of elections in Catalonia, and Puigdemont might no longer be in power.

      • freddy

        Many less tourists will head to Catalonia, in these uncertain times.
        All the while, the economy of Catalonia disintegrates, for decades.

        • reel guid

          How about many less tourists heading to Castile? Or buying Castilian products? Millions of Europeans might be unsympathetic to Catalonian independence. But millions are sympathetic.

          • freddy

            How will they get in, when Catalonia is kettled?

            No land movements allowed, no over-flying Spain or France.

            Maybe they will come from Italy?
            Maybe they will come from Greece?

          • reel guid


            I’m not talking about Europeans sympathetic to Catalan independence actually going there. I’m saying there are a lot of people in Europe and further afield sympathetic to Catalonia. That number will grow any time Madrid uses force.

            If the Spanish government isn’t reasonable and law abiding, then people all over Europe will stop buying Castilian products in the supermarkets until they are.

        • Republicofscotland

          “All the while, the economy of Catalonia disintegrates, for decades.”

          Unsubstantiated speculation, especially when the Catalan region is one of the wealthier regions of Spain.

          • Sm Sung

            That’s what happened in Quebec after “nearly” winning independence from Canada. It’s the uncertainty.

    • Martinned

      El Pais seems to think it’s the first step in initiating s. 155:

      El presidente del Gobierno, Mariano Rajoy, ha requerido a la Generalitat para que confirme si ha declarado la independencia. Este es el primer paso para activar la aplicación del artículo 155 de la Constitución. “Este requerimiento es previo a cualquiera de las medidas que el Gobierno puede adoptar al amparo del artículo 155 de la Constitución”, ha especificado Rajoy.

      (Emphasis added.)

      • Martinned

        Similarly, the leader of PSOE has said that he agrees that s. 155 has been activated (and he supports it).

        Pedro Sánchez: ¿Se ha activado el artículo 155? “Es evidente que se está activando el artículo 155. Y durante las conversaciones que hemos mantenido el presidente del Gobierno y yo le he trasladado la interpretación que tenemos en el PSOE de 155. Espero que lo tenga en cuenta, que espero que sí”


        Pedro Sánchez: “Si Puigdemont quiere una mediación, que venga al Congreso de los Diputados, ya que va a implicar abrir un proceso de reforma constitucional”

        (While s. 155 has never been used, it will probably involve Puigdemont being invited to give testimony before the Senate committee for regional affairs, where he will be able to speak in his government’s defence. Of course, he will also be able to do that in writing in his reply to Rajoy.)

    • Republicofscotland

      Yeah, Rajoy is looking for clarification, from Puigdemont before triggering the article.

      What will Puigdemont say to Madrid?

      Personally I think Puigdemont is stalling playing, the waiting game, for he cannot tell Madrid that he’s declared independence, without Rajoy invoking Article 155.

      However time is against Puigdemont, and his options are limited, if he tell Madrid he didn’t declare independence his parliamentary backers including CUP, may feel betrayed, it’s an extremely difficult position for Puigdemont.

      I think a confrontation is on the cards.

      • Martinned

        Well, the consensus in Spain seems to be that asking for clarification is the first step in the process of using s. 155.

        This is the best article I’ve read setting out the relevant procedure:

        (Bearing in mind that there is no precedent, so I’m not sure to what extent any of this is cast in stone.)

        • Republicofscotland

          Good link, very interesting, Puigdemont’s problem lies in that he has no outside support. So if it takes several days for the Spanish articles to pass through the senate, the PP party have a comfortable majority according to your link, I can see it passing easily enough.

          As you say no precedent has been set, however I fear that Spain will very soon suspend the Catalan government.

          It’s a terrible thought to reveal, but Puigdemont’s best route to maintaining a independent Catalonia, in my opinion, is if Spain enforces its actions with extreme violence, and there’s a worldwide outcry.

          • freddy

            If Puigemont comes to understand that chaos is coming to Catalonia, isolation is coming to Catalonia,
            penury is coming to Catalonia.
            It might be better for the Catalons to think again?

          • Republicofscotland

            In the long run it wouldn’t matter, for a percentage of Catalan’s now, (especially after the violence on voting day) remaining part of Spain is unthinkable.

            Expect civil unrest, if Spain denies the Catalan people independence.

          • Martinned

            Sure, but expect unrest in response to any concession too. Both in Catalunya and elsewhere, opinions are hardening. Conservative voters in places like Castile are getting increasingly fed up with what they see as the never ending list of demands coming from the separatists.

          • Republicofscotland

            “If Puigemont comes to understand that chaos is coming to Catalonia, isolation is coming to Catalonia,
            penury is coming to Catalonia.
            It might be better for the Catalons to think again?”


            If economic woe’s were as influential as you make them out to be, as a guideline to self determination of a people, then, there wouldn’t be as many independent nation’s in the world today.

          • Republicofscotland

            “Sure, but expect unrest in response to any concession too. Both in Catalunya and elsewhere, opinions are hardening. Conservative voters in places like Castile are getting increasingly fed up with what they see as the never ending list of demands coming from the separatists.”

            That shouldn’t concern Puigdemont, a referendum took place and yes won, regardless of what those outside the Catalan region think.

            Before you quote yes, but Spanish law says….. so did South African Apartheid laws, and so did Hitler’s Nazi party laws claim that they were unbreakable, they weren’t.

            At the very least, a second democratic indyref should be held.

          • Martinned

            That shouldn’t concern Puigdemont,

            No, but it certainly concerns Rajoy, the person Puigdemont is ostensibly trying to negotiate with.

          • freddy

            How many people have to have their lives lost
            for Puigdemont to come to understand
            that he will not be allowed to win,
            1,000 or more?

          • Republicofscotland

            “No, but it certainly concerns Rajoy, the person Puigdemont is ostensibly trying to negotiate with.”

            Good, the bigger Rajoy’s headache the more likely he’ll make more mistakes, like on voting day.

          • Republicofscotland

            “How many people have to have their lives lost
            for Puigdemont to come to understand
            that he will not be allowed to win,
            1,000 or more?”


            It will be Spanish guns doing the killing, so I’d take that up with Rajoy if I were you.

            Here you go.


            Let me know how you get on.

          • freddy

            Well it is not just about guns killing people, is it.
            People taking their own lives.
            Pensioners starving to death.
            People in hospitals, where the electricity packs up.
            Road accidents, when street lights go out.
            Plane crashes because air traffic control, no longer covers Catalonia,
            knife attacks at the petrol pumps, no police force, as they are no longer paid, no dustbins emptied, no functioning schools,
            and so on and on

    • Republicofscotland

      It’s interesting to note from your link, that Puigdemont’s stalling for time, is probably doing so hoping that Madrid becomes restless, and they have, and put into action Article 155.

      That then gives Puigdemont a clear platform to claim that Madrid is unwilling to engage in dialogue. He can then appeal to the world that Madrid is not in the mood to communicate.

      Another route, albeit one less tasteful, that Puigdemont could go down, is to goad Madrid, by not replying at all. Rajoy could then become impatient, and a rerun of voting day could on the cards, the violence working in Puigdemont’s favour.

      • Martinned

        the violence working in Puigdemont’s favour.

        Actually, I don’t think that’s right. It overlooks how concerned middle-aged middle-class voters are with stability and safety. No matter the injustice, for every vote Puigdemont wins because a voter gets angry, he loses three in the centre because voters are worried about instability. Support for independence is widespread (but probably not a majority, regardless of what Craig thinks). But the number of people who would vote for it even if the cost was substantial fighting/violence is surely very small. In other words, the bulk of Puigdemont’s support depends on the assumption that he can deliver independence more or less peacefully.

        As for dialogue, the other thing that came out of Pedro Sanchez’s press conference this morning was a call on the government to start the process of reforming the constitution:

        • Republicofscotland

          “Support for independence is widespread (but probably not a majority, regardless of what Craig thinks). ”


          Can you provide any reliable evidence to back your assertion up?

          For I like many others were under the impression, that those who did run the fascist gaunlet and voted, that , some 90% or there about said Si.

          As I said, at the very least a second indyref should be allowed by Madrid. However it won’t be allowed for Madrid fears a crushing defeat.

          • Martinned

            This later article of his, on the other hand, does discuss his conclusions in English:


            One thing that still strikes me as remarkable is that the Catalan nation’s desire for independence is an assertion for which I cannot, for the time being, see any evidence at all. The so-called vote last Sunday was a farce, notwithstanding the undeniable fact that the Spanish central government, with its blundering and bludgeoning, has contributed significantly to its farcicality, nor the equally indisputable fact that this has been a brilliant way to convince large numbers of law-abiding Catalans of the urgency to abandon Spain in the first place. Quite apart from that, with hundreds of thousands of ballot papers disappeared, votes in an unknown number cast twice, thrice, god knows how many times over, no independent electoral commission guaranteeing a correct procedure – you don’t have to be a legalist to come to the conclusion that you can’t possibly ground anything on a foundation as wobbly as this, least of all the fate of a nation. It is clear that millions of Catalan citizens want independence, but it is hardly less clear that millions do not. On the basis of this poll, neither side can expect the other to consider themselves legitimately outvoted. These 2.3 million “votes” can be seen as yet another demonstration, in the form of paper instead of presence on the streets, and an undoubtedly impressive one as such. But they are by no means a collectively binding decision of Catalonia. Declaring them thus and invoking democracy for it is a contradiction in terms.

          • Martinned

            So the position is still the same as it was before the 1st of October: there ought to be a referendum, but 50%+1 of whoever turns out is not enough to legitimise (or legalise) a unilateral declaration of independence.

          • Republicofscotland

            “votes in an unknown number cast twice, thrice, god knows how many times over, no independent electoral commission guaranteeing a correct procedure ”

            Scots MSP’s were also in Barcelona monitoring the vote, re the above sentence, the MSP’s recorded that no one was allowed to vote twice, even if the ballot box was removed by the Guardia Civil. Indeed the Scots MSP’s were applauded at every ballot station they went to.

            So you see others besides your particular man on the ground were present as well, and gave their opinions opposing or not.

            “Douglas Chapman and Joanna Cherry, both SNP MPs, are among a delegation of 33 politicians from around the world who have arrived in Catalonia to back the movement, along with delegates from Plaid Cymru and Sinn Fein. The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard is also present. A group of 17 young SNP activists have joined pro-independence demonstrations in Barcelona.”


            However what we do know, is that of those who managed to vote bloodied or not, around 90% voted for a independent Catalan state.

          • Republicofscotland

            “So the position is still the same as it was before the 1st of October: there ought to be a referendum, but 50%+1 of whoever turns out is not enough to legitimise (or legalise) a unilateral declaration of independence.”

            Why not, remind me what the Brexit votes margin of win was again? and that’s about to damage the whole of the UK.

            Like I said in a previous comment, Rajoy won’t tolerate a proper democratic vote, Madrid is afraid of losing.

          • Martinned

            Why not, remind me what the Brexit votes margin of win was again? and that’s about to damage the whole of the UK.

            Preaching to the choir. I don’t think that was appropriate either.

            Like I said in a previous comment, Rajoy won’t tolerate a proper democratic vote, Madrid is afraid of losing.

            Seems to me that the better explanation is that he has nothing to gain from allowing a referendum. (He might have done before 1-O, but at this point, now that he’s already incurred all the bad press, what’s the benefit of allowing a referendum?)

        • lysias

          The Irish (a majority) opposed the Easter Rising in 1916 for much the reasons you give. They changed their minds and voted for Sinn Fein in 1916 as a reaction to British violence.

          Same story for the 13 colonies in 1774-6.

      • Jo

        RoS, I think it is a bad thing to see any violence from Madrid as something that could work in anyone else’s favour. What we saw already was bad enough. We also heard little condemnation of it from anyone in a position to influence Madrid. I disagreed with Craig that Puigdemont had left Rajoy “on his arse”. Rajoy has now asked for outright clarification. There are many, too many, in Scotland right now steaming right into the Catalonia situation and comparing us with them. Some, in my view, actually seem keen on seeing blood spilled……a real revolution. I don’t think Puigdemont’s tactics the other night were “brilliant” as Craig suggests. I think he’s left Catalans in a pretty uncertain situation to say the least.

        • Republicofscotland


          I don’t want see blood shed in Catalonia, however it’s a undeniable fact that many nations are born through bloodshed, I was stating that is a possible route that Puigdemont could go down, if the feeling for independence runs deep enough.

          As for Puigdemont’s cagey declaration, what else can you expect, the Guardia Civil are waiting to pounce. A bold open declaration would’ve seen Puigdemont et al arrested, so yes the cagey approach, was clever, in it bought him some time.

        • Jo

          Ahhhh RoS, I’m thinking there is little point in even trying to discuss this so entrenched are you in this mindset where Catalonia and Scotland are intertwined when they are not! You’ve got utterly ridiculous now though by claiming that SNP MSPs were there monitoring voting in Catalonia! The whole vote! Plus you’ve more than expressed the view that a few dead Catalans – at the hands of Madrid – might be handy news currency for Puigdemont! Any preferred age group there RoS? Couple of children maybe? What about a baby being killed? Couple of pensioners too! I cannot believe this stuff from some of you Scots who are frothing at the mouth at the prospect of civil war over there and death. Shame on you .

          I don’t know how many voted in the referendum. Nor do you! Ballot boxes were confiscated in many places with papers in them! So there is no accurate record of anything.

          What is needed is dialogue not games.

          What happened in the referendum was appalling. What’s not clear however is the true situation in Catalonia. That won’t be clear without rerunning a referendum along proper lines. Right now we don’t know.

          The scenes in Catalonia sickened me and shocked me. I’ll tell you what shocks me more. The number of Scots diving right in to the issue. You’ve probably shocked me most RoS by suggesting a few deaths would “work in someone’s favour”.

          • Republicofscotland

            Spare me the sentiment, for you know fine well Rajoy has refused any mediation or dialogue.

            If there’s to be any blood shed it will
            come from the hands of Madrid.

            Scots this Scots that, I don’t see any other head of state around the globe, speak out as much as Nicola Sturgeon, or hold their political party conference, and give a standing ovation to Catalan representatives.

            Again I repeat Rajoy wants no mediation or dialogue, the old falangist mentality is alive and well in Madrid.

          • Republicofscotland

            Well Freddy, if you stopped spouting so much hot air on this blog, maybe just maybe, climate change would take just that wee bit longer.

          • freddy

            What I was suggesting is, Sturgeon has bottled independence, therefore she is now spouting climate change, where she, again, will achieve

  • reel guid

    Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary hasn’t mentioned Catalonia on social media for 10 days. No interest from the Nasty Party’s Foreign Secretary. Likewise nothing from the Tory Chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat. The old Labour/Tory FPTP old firm of Parliament still functioning as efficiently as ever.

  • david

    Not sure I agree with your assessment Craig. Rajoy will kick this one into the long grass. He knows all he has to do is nothing and this will fade away. Support for radical change doesn’t last long, Puigdemont has missed his opportunity to highlight the brutality of Spain. He should have had the courage of his convictions, declared independence, been arrested and become a political prisoner within an EU country. Now that would have set the cat amongst the pigeons big time. Not to mention the massive police brutality that would ( or should) have been required to arrest him. Spain in the eyes of the world would be seen as undemocratic.

    Rajoy will sit on his hands now, he’s laughing because he’s won. So long as he doesn’t send in the troops again what will change ? There is no impetus to change. He can talk to the Catalans till he’s blue in the face, refusing everything they request indefinitely

    A missed moment in my eyes.

    • Martinned

      Sounds (unfortunately) right to me. It’s not like Rajoy has to worry about losing votes in Catalunya. Even his coalition partners, Ciudadanos, who are originally from Catalunya and still one of the biggest parties there, have nothing to gain from giving in.

      (In Catalunya they are the key party that represents the anti-independence side. Hence the mocking speech that their Catalan leader, Inés Arrimadas, gave in response to Puigdemont yesterday evening.)

      At the national level, the only movement can come from PSOE, who have to worry about losing votes to pro-referendum Podemos. Hence Sanchez’s suggestion this morning to reform the constitution.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Whilst I have not had the time nor inclination to comment, Craig Murray’s blog has been completely fascinating to read over the last couple of weeks whilst the world is changing. Thanks to Craig the standard of the posts has improved dramatically, even if some of them have been extremely critical of what Craig has written. I would be delighted if the banned bevin posts here again. Thank You. Tony

  • Republicofscotland

    “Rajoy gives Puigdemont 5 days to clarify whether he has declared independence and three more to rectify it ”

    “Rectify it” by that I take it, Rajoy means rip it up and forget it.

    Puigdemont, has five days to pull something spectacular out of the hat. If not the Catalan parliament could be suspended.

    • Martinned

      Seems to me that that is exactly what kicking it all into the long grass looks like. Puigdemont doesn’t need 5 days to say that he really did mean to declare independence and that, no, he isn’t going to change his mind. But giving him 5 days (i.e. until Monday) means that everyone has until next week to calm down a bit. And after the response comes in he’ll take his time again, and by the time the Senate votes on art. 155, demonstrations will be of tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands.

      BTW, here is the letter, which looks suspiciously like it was faxed:

      • Republicofscotland

        “BTW, here is the letter, which looks suspiciously like it was faxed: ”

        It certainly does, going by the signature.

        However I have to disagree, that five days is enough time for the world to forget the stand-off. If it does look as though Rajoy is intent on playing the long game, Puigdemont must then openly declare that Catalonia is a independent nation, before the intensity of it all wanes.

        • Martinned

          This letter is only the first step. If he wants to, he can drag the whole art. 155 process on until after Christmas, I’m sure.

          Also, if Puigdemont can only keep up support for his cause for a short while, maybe he should be looking for less drastic solutions than a unilateral declaration of independence.

  • Murdoch

    Something I find incredible is the London branch of the SNP not mentioning Catalonia ONCE in their very active twitter field.

    Lots of retweeting tweets by Fiona Hyslop, Guardian articles (when it suits the SNP), even digs at Trump…

    But zilch about Catalonia! Have any SNP branches passed motions to support the Catalans? You know, the people who supported US in 2014… ?!?

  • FranzB

    Niemoeller – “First they came for the communists, but I wasn’t a communist”.

    Puigdemont seems to have bought himself some time, but perhaps at the cost of losing support from pro independence Catalans. In the end he has to take a risk. Think of Leipzig in 1989 – the demonstrators in October 1989 had been threatened with a Tiananmen solution. Think of Timisoara in 1989 – the protestors against Ceacescu risked their lives. Think of Yeltsin in August 1991 faced with the coup against Gorbachev. Given the brutality of the Guardia Civil on October 1st nothing would surprise me.

    Rajoy would do well to think about how events escalated in N. Ireland. From brutal supression of civil rights demonstrations, to use of the army, internment then Bloody Sunday. Part of the process is to denigrate the ‘other’ and present them as the threat (which is the language the BBC were using at the weekend).

    BTW – who’s going to replace James Harding? Alistair Campbell?

  • Laguerre

    As an emigrant Brit, formerly known as an expatriate, I don’t see much advantage in petty nationalism, as declared for Scotland, Catalonia, and Brexit England. Identities work at multiple levels – family, street, town, region, country, continent, and, in the end, world. I don’t quite see the advantage of privileging one identity, the “national” one over another. I quite like to go walkies round Europe without being pestered, or even to work wherever I want. Imposing “national” limits doesn’t seem to me to be reasonable. it’s the old world, born of visions of the past.

    Security is a different question, for frontier controls. The refugee problem is entirely a product of western policies. when I say ‘western’, I mean mainly the Yanks, but Europe has followed along. Bomb Near eastern countries back to the stone age, and you’re going to get refugees. Illegal economic migrants from Africa are another matter: they will continue as long as it seems advantageous.

    • reel guid

      And is the UK a petty nationalism in your book also? And if your answer is no then that contradicts your belief that no national identity should be privileged over another. Either they’re all petty or none are.

      You also decry Brexit England. Fine. Yet Brexit England is telling anti-Brexit Scotland that it’s exiting the EU whether it likes it or not. A clear case of privilege. But you still wish to depict Scottish nationalism as petty and say that it’s an attempt to privilege a national identity.

  • Daddy0

    The best way forward for Puigdemont and the people of Catalonia is to ignore Rajoy’s dictatorial demand as Puigdemont has clearly stated is opinion and his plan that Catalonia has declared independence but held off implementation of that declaration in order to negotiate with Madrid.
    The fascist Francoists can continue forwards implementing a Castilian takeover of Catalonia, sure – but if they do that, they will antagonise most of the people outside Spain, including citizens of fellow EU members because Puigdemont has been completely open about requesting dialog.
    When Rajoy gets hysteric as he always does, all Puigdemont need do is convene a press conference and repeat his speech.
    Just like the francoists’ endless repetition of the non-sequitur “a referendum is illegal because it’s against the law” an armed invasion and takeover of Catalonia will provoke disgust, horror and anger from most ordinary EU citizens and that is something the EU can ill afford in these perilous for europols, times.
    On a somewhat related topic I have been watching with considerable bemusement, how the BBC has been dealing with this issue. I don’t normally watch any broadcast tv ‘news’ but since I’m neither an englander nor a citizen of one of england’s colonised subject states watching the beeb allows me to observe the ‘yarn-spinners’ at work without totally losing objectivity.
    The initial reports on referendum day were somewhat sympathetic to the old ladies who had been bashed by the truncheons of the guardia civil, so when the beeb were instructed to change tack and support the francoist forces of oppression, they swapped their correspondents out – which I suppose was because of the suddeness of the about turn, to prevent any confusion among their credulous audience .
    Even then the replacement talking heads didm’t leap straight onto the Castillan bandwagon they sort of ‘eased into it’. Despite this, the result has being as jarring as the violent lurches from side to side brought about by the genocidal impulses of one time BBC pet Aung San Suu Kyi.
    The BBC like all other major broadcasters, still have much to learn about ‘managing the news’ in the connected world. That is incredible it is still unresolved more than two decades after mass takeup of the net. It is pretty obvious they imagine they can ‘turn back the clock’ on news dissemination by combining incessant berating of the net news vectors such as google, facebook and independent weblogs, while encouraging politicians to introduce censorship of the net under the pretense of ‘preventing bullying’.
    None of that will work – at the moment there is a sort of stasis as the big net providers ‘rejig their algorithms’ to rid the net of alternative voices, but that is a fraught business. If the censorhip fiends and news monopolists have much impact at all on news dissemination, the net publishers will simply shift their platforms onto vectors which are not so sensitive to the demands of neolib & neocon pols.
    Yep that will be expensive and a hassle, but once it has been done readers will follow and the arsehats will find themselves in a much worse situation since alternative platforms won’t respond to any pressure at all.

  • Brianfujisan

    ” The situation is similar when it comes to the emergence of the movement for Scottish independence from the UK ”
    Get A Grip Macky…. And Get To A a Forest..Like Doune

  • freddy

    Catalonia, one of Spain’s wealthiest regions,
    has seen several major companies announce plans to move their head offices elsewhere because of the crisis.

    The European Union has said that, should Catalonia split from Spain, the region would cease to be part of the bloc.

    That is fairly clear
    and no doubt it sets the record straight for other places, like Scotland.

    • reel guid

      No, the EU have always made the distinction between a legal independence referendum under a member state’s constitution and one that isn’t.

        • Brianfujisan

          His Comment is Crystalk Clear… The water alone..Nevermind the Tides…and wind..And Solar..and people experts..ect..Nobel priz winners Ect..Did i miss something Oh Whisky…

        • nevermind

          EU officials, as wellas party’s in the EU have said on more than one occasion that, should the English want to force Wales, Scotland and NI out of the EU via Brexit, that there is a good case to be made for an Independent Scotland to speedily return.
          Is that more clearer for you freddy?

          I know that this would make sectarianism a Halloween aberration, but hey, you can’t have everything….

          • freddy

            I can see, that after Brexit has happened, hard cliff edge, jumped over, all of the U.K.
            will have left the E.U.

    • willyrobinson

      “Catalonia, one of Spain’s wealthiest regions,has seen several major companies announce plans to move their head offices elsewhere because of the crisis.”

      This is true because central government pushed through a piece of legislation recently making it much easier to up sticks and move headquarters. The result is a short-term victory, but this legislation will no doubt bite them in the ass later on. Giving big companies the wings to fly around and avoid regional obligations opens the door to downsizing etc.

      It’s one of the basic laws of in-group/out-group behavior: If something helps your group but also helps your enemy, you tend to reject it. If something hurts your enemy but also hurts your group, you tend to go for it. Spanish society really goes in for this kind of in-group/out-group behavior – it’s one of the shitty things about living here

  • Dave

    Its ironical really, but after looking towards Catalonia for inspiration, the antics in Catalonia, and EU response, will sink Scottish independence, not that it was on offer, because few Scots will want to avoid the constitutional route, which wont deliver independence, as opposed to home rule, for foreseeable future, and declare UDI when they see what a mess this approach could make of the most prosperous part of Spain.

    • nevermind

      She’s guaranteeing the supply of cod to go with the Mars bars, for when North Sea fishing is being reigned back to the 12 miles it once was.

    • Rob Royston

      I would say that her main concern is for all the people’s welfare and happiness. This is evident in the love she radiates to everyone she meets.
      Having said that, it annoys me that she is using the English people’s Brexit vote as a political lever. She had 56 MP’s in Westminster when that vote took place who should have walked out and declared Independence.

  • Andrew Nichols

    the EU had already specifically greenlighted the use of armed force in Commissioner Timmermans’ disgraceful address to the EU Parliament.

    Reflects the militancy of the EU since the disgraceful Lisbon Treaty requiring membership of the US Foreign Legion as a condition of membership.

    • Martinned

      the EU had already specifically greenlighted the use of armed force in Commissioner Timmermans’ disgraceful address to the EU Parliament

      No it hasn’t, because the use of armed force is not something that the EU has the power to greenlight or not.

      Reflects the militancy of the EU since the disgraceful Lisbon Treaty requiring membership of the US Foreign Legion as a condition of membership.

      No it isn’t. If you disagree, please point to the relevant provision in the Treaty.

  • Republicofscotland

    Unionists celebrating Spain’s National Day in Barcelona singing the Francoist anthem and burning Catalan flags.

    It’s patently obvious now, that the Catalan region is irretrievably divided from the Spanish state. The region now appears to be a stamping ground for those Spanish nationalists, who want to vent their anger, at a peaceful Catalan people who only seek self determination.

    We’re quickly heading past the point of dialogue, and onto the aggression stage.

  • Stu

    I’m currently watching the BBC impressively not reporting that a British child was killed by a US drone strike.

    Propaganda at it’s finest.

    • Republicofscotland


      Im currently watching the BBC news, the top story a British Jihadi woman, killed by an American unmanned drone.

      The most striking part of the report was not that the British Jihadi woman was reportedly killed by a unmanned US drone, but the clear admission that the US carries out drone strikes every day.

      I found that absolutely breathtaking, then a million, questions popped into my head, where, when, who, why etc.

  • nevermind

    The second phase of EU talks will not happen as the first phase has not even been attempted, according to Barnier.
    Further there are indications that the UK is going to join NAFTA after Brexit, with all that includes, GM, chlorine washed chickens and more kowtowing to dear leader who thinks that he alone knows best to scrap the Iran nuclear deal.

    Who’s the terrorist now, who is escalating insecurity and global uncertainty?

    • Martinned

      Further there are indications that the UK is going to join NAFTA after Brexit,

      I wouldn’t worry about that happening. I don’t see Trump approving of extending NAFTA, and I’m not sure the Canadians would risk offending the EU by accepting this either.

    • Geordie Bordie

      Don’t worry. It’s all theatre.

      The UK is not leaving the EU.

      The whole thing’s a scam.

      I mean, why if the UK is leaving the EU, are UK military forces being merged into an EU force?

      As Michael Heseltine has said, what’s really going on is a much deeper integration of the UK into the EU, including the euro.

        • Geordie Bordie

          For example, do you know as much as Major-General Julian Thompson?

          “Major-General Julian Thompson told that ministers are quietly signing up to “vast military plans” devised by Brussels whilst the public gaze is largely on Brexit.

          In a blistering intervention he said proposals put forward by eurocrats will “touch every part of the UK’s defence policy” and warned the UK could become militarily tied to Brussels for year’s to come.

          The war hero, who led the landing mission to the Falklands, entered the debate after EU officials unveiled their most ambitious military plans yet which critics have said amount to the effective creation of a euro force.”

          So, no Brexit, but rather deeper integration into the EU.

          All those scary stories about chlorinated chicken and plastic cheese and Bombardier jobs in NI and the Irish border.

          All cobblers.

          We’re back to the EU bloc, the Eurasian bloc and the Americas bloc.

          All cuddling together in a threesome.

  • Martinned

    Yet another reading tip:

    On October 1, Spanish democracy reached its lowest point when central police forces bludgeoned a democratic vote in Barcelona. Ten days later, the Catalan president has called for dialogue. But both sides in the conflict are avoiding a truly democratic independence process.

    (Again the author is not Spanish and does not appear to have a dog in this fight. He seems to work for an NGO that seeks to promote democracy, including direct democracy. It’s Switzerland, after all.)

  • lwtc247

    Craig. Re: Puigdemont offering something he knows his opponent wonr accept. You laud it as as some kind of excellent high diplomacy. While such tricks may be the basis of training and the recipient of highly praised in British FCO circles, it’s insincere and deceptive. The kind of sewage diplomacy at results from a lack of ethics. So if Puigdemont is indeed doing it in the manner you suggest (which actually I doubt) then he’s going to be yet another amongst the worlds failing politicians.

  • David Neilson

    Unfortunately Rajoy does not give a monkeys because he can send in troops with no sanction from anyone outside Spain because we let him away with the outrageous behaviour of the 1st October.

    • freddy

      The flight of Spain’s top corporations from Catalonia has turned into a stampede due to mounting fears of an unstable business environment. Madrid has unleashed perhaps it’s scariest weapon to thwart the region’s independence bid – fear of poverty.

      I would guess, from the point of Spain, the longer the uncertain times go on, the more money flight from Catalonia – the less
      obvious, the solution is freedom from Spain.

  • Frank Senyed

    Thanks to headlines like this (“Carles Puigdemont Turns the Tables on Rajoy”, by Craig Murray; Rajoy may be limited to tackle the situation. By someone who never voted for Rajoy.
    1. Long before his speech Puigdemont had already broken Catalan society, thanks to a despicable communication campaign on false grievances from Spain. He had breached several laws, included Catalonian Parliament laws on 6th and 7th September. He already deserves be taken to trial. If no so, it’s a wise decision to avoid things became worse. The dilemma presented by Craig Murray, cued after his track record so far, is almost irrelevant except for the communication war, which, unfortunately, is where the issue is played. Communication war where analysis like this one are very much appreciated by Generalitat.
    2. The quote “was placed by the right wing governments of Europe..” tries, in advance, to qualify as “right wing” any potential force action by the Spanish Government, though those actions are foreseen in any European country law, regardless the colour of the ruling party. Interesting view of 155 Constitution article, unfortunately in Spanish. Its wording comes from, curiously, Grupo Entesa dels Catalans, which included almost all Catalans parties. ( ) Senadores de Entesa dels Catalans ( )
    3. The point of not declaring independence would bring disillusion is right. But this is nothing new: though with a simple majority in Parliament, his position had a minority of Catalan votes. So more than half of Catalans are already disillusioned. So, welcome to the club.
    4. The hyperbole “the entire world” just reinforce the next “his answer was particularly brilliant”. Puigdemont rose to the altars. However, many Spaniards would say he behaved like a swindler or a racketeer. How would you call a 30 minutes speech if at the end you don’t know if he has said one thing or its contrary?
    5. The confusion and ambiguity is on purpose: to pretend a wish of dialogue, which had never existed. False. “My Govern and I will move no millimetre” said a few days ago.
    6. These kinds of analyses are thought to turn true “it’s Rajoy who is now in the impossible position”. One thing is “to look for a solution to the problem without the use of force. To look for dialogue”. And a very different one to put both sides at the same level. No. One may be deaf, Rajoy. The other is an outlaw, on top of having got Catalan society divided. There is a great difference.
    7. Why not offering the option: before speaking of those two options, come back to the law.
    8. The article tries to predetermine the negotiations, trying to put Rajoy between the hammer and the anvil. Why not just back off first?
    9. Later, let’s them to negotiate. It’s hardly possible the option “greatly enhanced powers for Catalonia”; there are barely powers left to be transferred. Nevertheless, it could be, but maybe not so “greatly”. Perhaps to enhance the Spanish sui generis federal structure (Comunidades autónomas). The binding referendum might be the very last option; when things were calm and with qualified majorities, considering the importance of the issue.
    10. I’m fed up with the use of “Francoist” adjective, everywhere and endlessly. You don’t understand that, though there are “franquistas”, most of the people with the national flag, they just vindicate the force of constitution. Look at the demonstration in Barcelona, last Sunday 8th October , who can argue against the democratic track record of the speakers: Vargas LLosas, Jiménez Villarejo and Borrell?
    11. The use ad infinitum of this term, “francoist”, challenges the undoubted democratic foundation of Spanish Government, regardless people sympathies, and regardless “francoist” trace in any of PP party members. That only tries to weaken its position to negotiate.
    12. The final phrase, “…left him sitting on his arse in the mud”, is improper of a serious journalist. Again, the words, like in other parts of the article, are chosen to damage Rajoy’s image in front of “the entire world”.
    To summarize: a blind article or a journalistic infamy ¡What a different article with the proper words! Think about it. It’s up to you.

    • reel guid

      Re your our No.11 item.

      It’s possible for a government to have been elected to office by democratic means and yet still have fascistic tendencies. There is surely a good bit more than just traces of Francoism in the PP and their hired toughs, the Guardia Civil.

  • freddy

    Spain in financial meltdown:
    Growth forecast slashed as Catalonia independence sparks crisis

    Actually, I don’t think Spain has been doing well, for a decade, it is one of the PIGS

    but Catalonia must be very negative on inward investment to the Iberian Peninsula

  • freddy

    It would seem, that they are in a tight position, up against The Golan which is occupied by Israel, they also “border” rebels.

    Why do not the Russians take them out with misslies, hardly matter if the missiles, also struck Israelis in occupied Golan?

  • freddy

    ALL five of the national police unions have filed a lawsuit with Spain’s Constitutional Court calling for the ringleaders of Catalonia’s independence referendum to be charged with sedition.

    • JOML

      And what’s your thoughts, Freddy, given you only typed the headline from the link you provided?

    • freddy

      By lunch time on Monday,
      we should know if

      Carles Puigdemont has Turned the Tables on Rajoy
      Rajoy has turned the tables on Puigdemont

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