That Mythical Pro-Spanish Majority in Catalonia 251


The media constantly pumps out the lie that there is a silent anti-independence majority in Catalonia, which is merely curiously invisible.

Consider this. The highest turnout ever at an election in Catalonia was the 74.9% in the 2015 Regional Election, with 4,130.196 people casting their vote. At Spanish general elections turnout is even lower, at 69%. A minimum of 25.1% of the population never vote at all. Of that 25% who do not vote, some will be dead, or moved away, but most are probably just not civilly engaged.

The trick of the pro-Spanish lobby is to boycott polls on Independence, and then claim that this minimum 25% of the electorate who never vote at all anyway, are anti-Independence and participating in the boycott. In truth there are absolutely no grounds to attribute the minimum 25% habitual non-voters as anti-independence. Particularly the dead ones.

So in fact the 2,044,038 votes cast in favour of Independence on Sunday, that survived the police and could be counted, already amounted to 49.6% of the highest number of votes ever cast in any election in Catalonia. When you add in the hundreds of thousands of votes confiscated by the police, and the voters who were deterred by the terrible violence, there is no doubt whatsoever that Sunday’s referendum would have seen a healthy majority for Independence on any probable turnout figure.

So that is the answer on the “pro-Spanish silent majority”. Many of them are very silent indeed, being dead but still on the register. Most of the others have never voted in their lives. The trick of claiming all non-voters as No voters is, frankly, pathetic. It says a huge amount about the corruption of the corporate media, and in the UK especially the BBC, that they have been pumping out this ridiculous “silent majority” narrative without ever analysing the figures realistically.

Why is the pro-Spanish majority so silent? Because it is a fiction. The very existence of the pro-Independence majority in the Catalan parliament is evidence of that fact. At the Catalan parliamentary elections, pro-Independence parties got 48% and anti-Independence parties got 39%. The other 13% went to parties which are agnostic or divided on the issue. But your career in the mainstream media is dependent on failing to notice such inconvenient fact.

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251 thoughts on “That Mythical Pro-Spanish Majority in Catalonia

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  • MBC

    There is a character called Sam Jones, I think the name is, who writes for the Guardian and over the last few days he has been posting images in his reports from Catalonia of what he claims are anti-independence demonstrators clothed in Spanish flags demonstrating in Barcelona. Yet we don’t hear of this anywhere else. I don’t know what to make of it and wonder if the images are taken from somewhere else.

    • craig Post author

      There have been some small pro-Spanish demos. If you look at Sam Hones photos carefully the always use the BBC technique of close focus and long lens to make it seem much more crowded than it is. Two very amusing ones I noticed, one of demonstrators in a very narrow street, and one with pretty girls in Spanish flags with telephoto lens trying to hide how the next demonstrators were about 20 ft behind them.

      The fact these little groups can demonstrate dispels another lie about the Catalans.

  • E F Nicholson

    In the last election in 2015 the 3 parties wanting to remain in Spain, PP, PSOE and Citizens, combined got 40% of the vote. Your correct that’s not a majority buts not a tiny percentage either, its still 40% of the population, that are politically engaged enough to vote.

    • MBC

      I think the situation is very volatile and fast moving. How people voted in 2015 isn’t really an indication about how they feel now.

    • craig Post author

      Yes, of course there is an anti-independence minority. Nothing I said claimed there are no anti0independence voters.

    • reel guid

      Considering remain policemen beat grannies it seems doubtful that remain support hasn’t gone down.

  • MBC

    I wonder if there will be de-escalation and an anti-climax to all of this. Apparently the Spanish Government (but not Rajoy) has offered an apology today for the violence in the first signs of a climb down. And Puigdemont has put off his meeting at the parliament until Tuesday.

    Whatever. But the response of the EU Commission has been instructive.

  • E F Nicholson

    I think its also worth noting that any opinions or perspectives that anyone has without living in Spain or not being able to speak or read Spanish or Catalan is going to be very limited. My Spanish is pretty average but I see through my wife, who is involved in left wing politics here in Spain that there rich diversity of opinions, perspectives and views about whats happening here, that the truth is I can’t really appreciate, grasp or fully understand due my foreign status. In the same way of trying to get a nuanced view of Scottish independence solely based on whatever information is published in Spanish is going to be pretty limited.

    • reel guid

      There’s this thing see called the internet for getting information. In fact you’re already using it don’t you know?

  • Clark

    I’m puzzled. Several UK ‘news’papers were strongly pro-Brexit, and had been churning out anti-EU tripe for decades (“Brussels threatens our bananas / cheeses / oven gloves / whatever”) – are these papers not supporting Catalonian independence for a bit more EU-knocking, and if not, why not?

    • Muscleguy

      Too close to supporting those nasty home grown separatists. Can’t have anything which encourages the SNP, PC, SF, Mebion Kurnow or Yorkshire First can we?

      If you were paying attention during our indyref here in Scotland Esteladas were not infrequently seen amongst the Yes Saltires. I recall a street here in Dundee we found in the very latter stages of the campaign while leafleting. It was a sea of flags hung from upper tenement windows. Huge Estelladas pretty much had parity with Yes Saltires.

      Independence minded Catalans were here observing and greatly admired our peaceful festival of democracy sanctioned by treaty with Westminster. They greatly desired a similar arrangement but Madrid is stupid. Westminster won.

  • Sharp Ears

    Hard talk from a hard man! Be very afraid!

    ‘A Spanish government minister has insisted a violent police crackdown against Catalan voters was “absolutely proportionate”.

    Secretary of state for foreign affairs Ildefonso Castro returned to Madrid’s hard line – hours after a colleague appeared to offer the first apology for the referendum clashes.

    Spain faced worldwide condemnation after police used batons and rubber bullets to stop people voting in the illegal independence referendum, with Catalan officials claiming up to 900 people had been injured.’

    http://news.sky.com/story/spanish-minister-says-violent-catalonia-vote-crackdown-was-absolutely-proportionate-11070115

    http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Portal/en/Ministerio/SecretariosDeEstado/SecretarioDeEstadoAsuntosExteriores/Paginas/Biografia.aspx

    Not wrapped in the Spsnish and EU flags but posed with them in the background.

  • Colin Carr

    Silent majority…
    Where have I heard that phrase before?
    Oh yes, it was Tricky Dicky Nixon’s claim that a silent majority of Americans supported the Vietnam War.

  • SA

    From what I can gather, the Catalan referendum shows that society is becoming more polarised and divided. The common good that was one of the principles of the European project seems to have faded into the background and in large part due to the undemocratic behaviour of the EU. But two wrongs do not make a right and there is a rise in excessive tribalism and racism in Europe that is manifested in the extreme in countries like Hungary and Poland and Ukraine, the rise of ‘patriotism’ and separatist movements. This is diverting us socialists from the main issues which is solidarity against the new world order that seeks to divide and conquer. One of the main aims of socialism is to change the system of exploitation and I cannot see this happening by fragmenting existing countries into more privileged and less privileged parts.

    • Patrick Roden

      Wow! I genuinely thought that only Duncan Hothersall still tried to spout all this guff about the ‘brotherhood’ of International Socialism overturning the Bankers etc.
      As soon as the likes of Duncan and Neil Findlay and all the other Champagne Socialists, are presented with the opportunity to actually side with the people of Scotland against the Westminster Elites or Big Business interests, they always find some lame excuse to side with the elites.
      Independence in Scotland is not about tribalism or racism against any other people, it’s about wrestling ourselves from the control of the very same powerful elites that the ‘Pretendy Socialists’ like yourself and Duncan Hothersall like to claim you oppose.

      Offered the choice to support Self Determination for Scotland or living under the control of the Eton elites, Hothersall, Findlay, Rowley, and all the rest of that shower of hypocrites, have ALWAYS backed the Toffs, who would you back?

      • SA

        Think about it. Scottish MPS now have a much better voice in the world than if they were confined to a small nation. Scotland’s vote in UK is disproportionate to the rest of UK.
        None of us want to be under the Eton toffs but Scotland has played a part in moderating this dominance of the tories especially in the last two parliaments.
        You say that wishing ‘self determination is not racism’ but what is it for as an end result? To make individual Scottish people more powerful in a world system that Scotland will still be subjected to, only more so? Is there not a better chance of changing the system rather than tinkering at the edges a more worthwhile cause.
        Your lumping me with others is not a very good method of debate. I am expressing my own point of viesw and I do not know any of those p[eople you mention.

        • PM

          Your views are not nuanced enough. You provide no evidence but are moving abstract little pieces around your chessboard. With abstractions like ‘system’, ‘change’, ‘moderating dominance’ you cannot come up with any kind of coherent policy or economic strategy for a population. So let’s take the briefest look at how an independent Scotland might develop and how being within Britain does affect the Scottish people.
          If Scotland remains part of Britain it is de facto a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council. It is linked to a worldwide system of diplomacy and commercial/political espionage. It is part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. It is a nuclear power. It is part of NATO. It is also part of UK military adventurism. It is influenced by an alien legal system. It has no real independent economic levers despite having some political autonomy. It is governed by UK-wide approaches to company law and HMRC tax policy. Its energy production and delivery is governed by UK negligence towards providing even a warm home at an affordable price. It cannot control how its land is used and abused (if you like how hillsides covered in rotting bracken look then come to Scotland this October!).
          If Scotland were independent, it would not be involved in the world in the way a country with imperial pretensions is. It could look after its own population with reference to its own needs, especially its particular health needs. It could construct its legal system in the same way. It could have its own economic approach and construct an energy infrastructure for its own needs. It could teach its own history, literature and culture at it own universities rather than being dumping grounds for academics who can’t get an Oxbridge or London gig. However if this sounds like some retreat into parochialism, then recall how internationalist Scotland was even up to the beginning of the nineteenth century when relationships with France, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia were still intact from pre-union days. These relationships would be renewed and strengthened very quickly.
          To use your concepts, Scotland is subjected to the UK system within this world system. If we have our own system, we have much more control over how we interact with the world system. With energy independence and such abundant resources we get to say things to the world that we can’t under the UK system (this is NOT about control of oil or getting our hands on its proceeds).
          I can’t see many downsides about being an independent country. If any company wants to leave and go back to rUK then let them. In an independent country certain economic relationships will go from being UK-wide for reason of company convenience to being sited and developed within Scotland. Within a hundred years, I would envisage Scotland being opened up and connected by new roads and railway routes that link villages and towns which are actually close geographically but are separated by longer distances through the way our first road routes were constructed.
          People used to the old quiet backwater Scotland, even many independence voters, won’t like some of what a newly independent Scotland might become but I would rather we were like Norway than a flyover American backwater state.
          Lastly Scotland being a small nation has no relevance though small European nations do pretty well generally. Even being a part of the UK straitjacket we have some prominence, though a similar country like Ireland, being independent, seems to do better. In wealth we are well above the average. In potential we are higher still. In the UK system MSPs have no real voice. It is only being amplified right now because an independence party is challenging the UK political system. We don’t need to accept moderating the UK when we can actually manage our own affairs. Without Scotland perhaps the rUK would be forced to confront its North-South divide. If I lived north of Birmingham I might want independence from the influence of the south-east of England.
          You said ‘think about it’. It’s not obvious that you have done this yourself. I’m sorry if this sounds insulting but abstractions are of little use in adult political debate and if you don’t know who Neil Finlay is then you’re unlikely to have an opinion worth listening to about how the voice of Scottish MSPs in the world is or isn’t heard.

          • SA

            Thank you for your tutorial. It is very useful for me to hear the Scottish view expressed so sincerely (genuine remark no sarcasm intended), even though it is dealt with condescension.
            Maybe abstractions are of little use but principles also have to be tinged with pragmatic realism. I agree that my arguments are not nuanced enough but generally it is true to say that we have a very tenacious political system that is extremely dominant and is capable of corrupting any action that threaten it. To pretend otherwise would be to quote you ‘of little use in adult debate’. I will give you an oblique example. During the banking crisis of 2007 many of us thought, that’s it, uncontrolled rampant capitalism has imploded under its own corruption, but lo and behold, supposedly ‘socialist’ Brown gave it a helping hand by not only bailing the banks but refusing to control thier actions. There is also to me a problem that the Scottish independence movement needs to address : why is it that the SNP think it is better to be together within the EU but not the UK? I welcome your reply but I also know that recently Craig has changed his lifelong belief in the EU. Also it would be a rather idealist view to think that what you expressed if Scotland became independent will be successfully carried out and not subverted.
            Having witnessed destabilisation of the sterling post brexit I cannot see how a Scottish currency would work. Of course Scotland could have its own currency but it would be extremely , much more subject than the sterling to destabilization.
            Also having seen the extreme muddle of what Brexit actually means and its consequences, and despite my own misgivings about the EU as an undemocratic entity, I am not sure the alternative is any better.
            I have no axes to grind with my own background, but I have always admired the contributions of Scottish politicians to moderate some of the worst Westminster policies. After all Keir Hardie was a scot and there are many Scottish politicians mainly in the labour party who have contributed to socialism. I fear that Scottish independence will mean that the rest of the UK will be condemned to eternal Tory rule that Scottish independence would lead to.
            Since your response to my comments I have looked up who Neil Finlay was and what comes up is a used car dealer. I am sure you meant Neil Findlay?

          • Republicofscotland

            “If Scotland remains part of Britain it is de facto a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council. It is linked to a worldwide system of diplomacy and commercial/political espionage.”

            Nope defence isn’t devolved, Scots have absolutely no say on the matters.
            __________

            ” It is part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. It is a nuclear power. It is part of NATO. It is also part of UK military adventurism. It is influenced by an alien legal system. It has no real independent economic levers despite having some political autonomy. It is governed by UK-wide approaches to company law and HMRC tax policy. ”

            14 Eyes actually, Scotland isn’t a nuclear power, it’s a staging post for Westminster and Washingtons nukes, Scots don’t want nukes. Nato would be falling over itself to keep Scotland due to its strategic position.

            Scots also don’t want to swan around the globe enforcing Westminsters imeperialism through illegal wars such as Iraq.

            Economic levers, it has including the power to mitigate terrible Westminster policies such as the Bedroom tax.

            Scots law differs from English always has, Holyrood does have some tax powers.

            __________

            “Its energy production and delivery is governed by UK negligence towards providing even a warm home at an affordable price. It cannot control how its land is used and abused (if you like how hillsides covered in rotting bracken look then come to Scotland this October!).”

            Scotland is a leading pioneer in renewable energy. The SNP government has committed to build more social housing than the rUK. The SNP government are in the process of partial land reform.

            I don’t know what planet you’re on but Scotland was voted the most beautiful country in the world not that long ago.

            https://www.theguardian.com/travel/shortcuts/2017/sep/04/scotland-voted-the-worlds-most-beatiful-country

    • What's going on?

      Hear, hear!

      The EU will end up saving the day. People at the extremes of politics (both right AND left) will be disappointed.

  • Douglas Stuart Wilson

    Craig, man, you’re off on one… you’re in a parallel universe mate, and you’re just plain wrong. How can you pontificate about something you obviously don’t know enough about?

    Those Catalans who do not want to leave Spain are most definitely NOT a fiction, as anybody who knows Catalonia well will tell you.

    Writers like Juan Marsé, film directors like Isabel Coixet, and THE icon of Catalan resistance to Franco, the folk singer – song writer, Juan Manuel Serrat, have all come out against the holding of THIS referendum in THIS particular way. Serrat has been called a “fascist” for making his opinions known, so has Isabel Coixet… it’s not a good situation, and you’re making it worse from your armchair in Scotland, sitting back drinking your malts.

    The legislation for the referendum was not even debated in the Catalan Parliament. Puigdemont and Junqueras even drafted and passed the legislation, “La Ley de Transitoridad”, to be applied when YES won, weeks BEFORE the vote was even held. This is a fait accompli – not a coup d’etat as the Right are saying in Madrid – but clearly a “procés” determined to break with Spain, come what may….

    As for the votes themselves on 1-O, I know people, friends, in Catalonia, no that bothered about independence, but seriously pissed off with Rajoy and Madrid, who went and voted YES, just as an act of resistance. To take the results of 1-o seriously would be travesty of democracy… the International Observers have ruled against its validity.

    By the way, there has never historically speaking been a majority for independence in Catalonia. When Rajoy came to power, support for indie there was at about 11%.

    And finally; Catalonia already has Devo Max, far more autonomy than the Scottish Parliament has, it is one of the most autonomous regions in Europe, also one of the richest.

    Why not devote your time to attacking Westminster for failing to fulfill “the Pledge”, a total scandal, instead of getting on your high horse about Spain?

    • craig Post author

      Nobody is denying the existence of the pro-Spanish minority in Catalonia. The argument that pro-Independence votes don’t count because people didn’t mean it is a dangerous one. You can’t second guess the outcome of an election because of alleged motivations of voters. I quite agree a more normally organised referendum would have been better, but the problems in the organisation were caused entirely by Spain.

      • David Rawlings

        Craig, you say ” you can’t second guess the outcome of an election because of the alleged motivations of voters”, but elsewhere you have frequently rubbished the Brexit result by alleging that the motivations of voters is purely racist. Putting the disgraceful violence of the Guardia Civile to one side, isn’t the real point here that democracy is more to do with constituencies electing representatives to debate and decide issues, with integrity, in Parliament than with referenda the results of which empower a majority at the expense of minorities. I know lots of people see only the latter as true democracy. Is that what you think? The world would be a much bleaker place if referenda were used to settle all controversial issues, we’d have hanging back for a start!. How are issues tried by referenda to be chosen, and by whom, on what crtiteria, and how would that fit into your ideas on democracy?

        • Shatnersrug

          Well said Dave, I support Craig in most things, but he seems to be whipping up bad feeling here based on projecting his feeling on Scotland on an altogether different situation. Spain isn’t Britain and Catalonia isn’t Scotland.

          The bug summarily here is what both the scot indie and cat indie vote are *really* about, which is plainly and simply, Austerity. Don’t like the cuts, take my ball and go home.

          Referenda aren’t the solution, and you won’t get a solution from encouraging more division

          • reel guid

            You don’t get justice and harmony by having police fire rubber bullets at peaceful crowds.

          • Gills

            Shatnersrug – The Scottish indyref is absolutely not about austerity. Austerity is just one symptom of what Scots need to ‘live with’ in trying to mitigate the worst effects of policies of government it didn’t vote for (and in the main Scotland doesn’t ever get the government it wants due to the democratic deficit of the dominance of English seats at Westminster). The Scottish independence movement is for self governance to make its own decisions in all aspects of what an independent country has control over. There is nothing wrong with the principle of wanting independence – would England not want total control of its own decision making?

  • Ben

    Aye, tis a cynical canard.
    In no vote ever has the winning side conceded to the whims of those who didn’t bother to vote. Imagine the headlines: Corbyn Wins Then Says ‘But Loads of Tory Voters are in Zimmerframes so I’ll Stand Down’

    • freddy

      The European Union are reported to now be in talks with J.C. of Old Labour
      because the E.U. think Theresa is about to fall off her perch and J.C. will soon be climbing onto that perch

      • reel guid

        If the Tory Party deposes May – which does seem likely – then Tory MPs are not going to vote Jeremy Corbyn as the new PM. He’d have to win a general election and no new Tory PM is going to be in a hurry to call one.

        • ben

          unfortunately you are right reel guid. the stupid fixed-terms parliament act will mean they get to hobble on till the bitter end. tho perhaps a few resignations or otherwise by election swings might force the issue. god it’s going to be so painful to watch.. they are going to go so ungracefully.. ah well, i’ve been waiting 38 years for this, i can wait a couple more.. the shame of it is that they’re going to purposefully fuck up brexit, then leave Corbyn with an absolute nightmare to deal with, they’ll rely on public opinion being too great against him in such difficult circumstances and try to muscle back in.
          it’s gonna be fuckin interesting whatever happens..

        • Muscleguy

          It depends whether the DUP are happy with Theresa shuffling off this mortal political coil AND happy about her replacement. IF the DUP pull the plug the Tories could try and stagger on as a minority govt but trying to prepare for Brexit without being sure of even getting your budget through is a hard ask.

          THAT is how we could end up in a new election.

          • reel guid

            The DUP will be happy enough with May’s replacement if the new PM keeps the present arrangement between the two parties. The DUP are getting the kudos of more money for Northern Ireland, which means they can continue to take voters away from the Ulster Unionist Party and maybe even some from the Alliance Party.

  • reel guid

    In 1909 the Madrid government called up working class Catalan men to the army so they could be sent to fight one of Spain’s nasty colonial conflicts in Morocco called the Second Rif War. The people took to the streets of Barcelona to protest and a general strike was called. Madrid sent in the Guardia Civil who fired on the crowds.

    Once again there was an aftermath of state repression. The distinguished modernist educator Francesc Ferrer was shot after being hastily found guilty by a court of encouraging the insurrection, despite no evidence being brought.

    These event are known to Catalans as Tragic Week. Catalonia has moved on from this era and is an outward looking cosmopolitan country. Barcelona is arguably the jewel in Europe’s crown.

    Madrid though is clearly still stuck in the colonialist past.

    • Douglas Stuart Wilson

      Reel Guild, let’s try and actually understand the situation instead of polarizing things into Catalonia good – Madrid bad. Because there is far too much of that going on among the Scottish commentariat.

      Madrid held out against Franco, mate, when the government had abandoned the city for Valencia in November 1936, having given up the capital for lost. When they got to Valencia, somebody realized that they had forgotten the official government cutlery and telegramed General Miaja, who had been left behind to negotiate a surrender to Franco (how naive; Franco didn’t negotiate, he just shot people).

      The Republican government in Valencia received a reply along the lines of, “Order refused. Cutlery still in use. Madrid has no intention of surrendering: no pasarán…”

      The people of Madrid organized themselves into a people’s army, and resisted fascism for two and a half years, until the very end of the war. The last city to fall to Franco was Madrid: ¡no pasarán! is the cry which will forever be associated with the ordinary, working class people of Madrid, who are a very fine and noble people….

      I’m sick of the name of Madrid being dragged through the mud in the Scottish press, usually by people who don’t know much about Spain….

      • craig Post author

        Douglas,

        I favour the people of Catalonia being allowed their lawful self-determination as a people. Self-determination means they choose themselves. That includes, obviously, the right to choose to stay in Spain.

        You say they undoubtedly wish to stay in Spain. In which case you have nothing to fear from their right of self-determination. What you cannot say is that they undoubtedly want to stay in Spain and therefore they must not be allowed to vote. Or you expose yourself as a hypocrite.

        • Douglas Stuart Wilson

          Craig, so do I support a referendum, of course. So do Isabel Coixet and Joan Manuel Serrat and Juan Marsé by the way… just not this one.

          My position is basically the same one as espoused by Podemos and their Catalan allies En Comu and Ada Colau, mayoress of Barcelona. We need to change the Spanish Constitution to guarantee a legal and binding referendum with full guarantees.

          But this one last week had so many flaws – procedural flaws in its drafting, added to the oppression of the Spanish State on the day itself, plus the fact that it was not negotiated with Madrid beforehand, through no fault of the Catalans – that it cannot serve as the basis to declare UDI. It’s pie in the sky, and my bet is that Puigdemont will backtrack on Monday, or else announce a fudge like “deferred independence”, which has been mooted.

          In any case, what I find remarkable reading Scottish commentators on Catalonia is that, despite apparently being a Left wing country, almost all Scottish commentators are looking at Catalonia under a purely nationalist prism, instead of a Left-Right axis. You can’t understand the situation if you reduce it to Catalonia – Spain, Barcelona – Madrid.

          It’s “the two Spains” that we are seeing at war these days, just without guns (so far), the two Spains who have been at war on and off for centuries. The Right in Spain has always tried to impose a mono cultural vision of Spain, with its capital in Madrid and Castile at its heart and its monarchy (and when monarchy has failed, a dictator) and Viva España!!! and militarism.

          The Left in Spain has always been Republican and pluri-national, seeing Spain as a State of nations rather than a nation State, allowing for the right of self-determination of Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, eschewing the monarchy and colonialism.

          Lluis Companys, the famous Catalan leader who was murdered by Franco in 1939, had tried to set up a fully autonomous Catalan State WITHIN Spain in 1934. He was jailed for his troubles back then, but the point is that, when he was released from jail, he was greeted by cheering crowds in Cadiz and Madrid. He was a hero of the Left throughout the whole of Spain.

          And this is what nobody is seeing in Scotland…

          • reel guid

            Douglas Stuart Wilson

            Why should Isabel Coixet’s opinions be counted as having more clout just because she’s an international film director? As opposed to say the pro-independence views of a school cleaner in Girona or a bus driver in Tarragona.

          • craig Post author

            The 15 successive laws passed by the Catalan Parliament and cancelled by the Spanish Constitutional Court, include increasing the minimum wage and preventing utilities from disconnecting families in debt. So don’t try and cast this as opposition to right wing nationalism.

      • reel guid

        Madrid and Barcelona were the last two cities to stay in Republican hands. Your working classes of Madrid – who tend to support Atletico and not Franco’s favourites Real – are not without sympathy for the Catalans.

      • SA

        It looks to me that there is too much ‘viewing of the catalan referendum in the Scottish independence prism’ and this is not helpful.

          • SA

            Reel guid
            I do apologise to you and others who are passionate about Scottish independence but I am not a force of reaction. It is not helpful to equate all referendums as equal and there are many different motives that drive the different movements. My impression is that the Catalan cause is being taken as an equivalent to Scottish indipendence which it is not. Most of us commenting here have no idea about Catalonia. For example there are indications that Soros is behind the Catalan indipendence movement and the Catalan government may not be as progressive as all that. Answering with sound bites that imply that I am an agent for reaction, I repeat, is not helpful to useful debate.

          • reel guid

            SA

            I wasn’t meaning to imply at all that you are an agent of reaction.

            No Catalan government is going to be as unprogressive as the Spanish government which beats people for voting.

      • nfujisan

        Because there is far too much of that going on among the Scottish commentariat.

        Quantify Please

        • SA

          I know I should not have generalised, sorry Brian for lumping you. I shall be more careful in future.

  • perraverde

    ”Why is the pro-Spanish majority so silent? Because it is a fiction.” Bollocks mate, what you write is a fiction. Its not a matter of being pro-spanish, its a matter of wanting the country’s union. Catalunya already has incredible autonomy within the state.
    And as for terrible violence? Come off it, you’ve been hoodwinked by fake news too. The darth vader type uniforms and the truncheons and the shields are no worse than any other riot police wield in the UK.
    I do not know ANY catalanes who want independence, and yes, they HAVE been silenced. There are a few fanatics who have been whipped into a frenzy by ‘Farage’ type arguments. You aren’t helping by fanning the flames of the independists.

    • craig Post author

      You in no way help yourself by this. At the absolute minimum, 2.3 million voters. A few fanatics they are not.

      • perraverde

        Out of a population of how many? C’mon sir, you’re trying to build up a reality thats just not there.

    • reel guid

      perravade

      Are you arguing that the Guardia Civil are no worse than any other riot police because they’re dressed and equipped similarly? So they can beat up and fire on peaceful Catalans but they’re still no worse than law abiding riot police because their helmets are the same design? LOL.

      And I doubt that you know any “catalanes”.

      • perraverde

        Oh ffs, what do you know about me and how on earth do you come to the conclusion that I don’t know any catalanes? Just cos I write good english doesn’t mean I’m not one of them, duh! Fora d’aquí beneït!

  • What's going on?

    Note: I don’t feel strongly either way whether Catalonia should be independent or not.

    However, it’s obvious how this is going to play out. Slowly bit, by bit Spanish banks, firms and other institutions are going to pull out of Catalonia and the economy is going to suffer. However, this will hurt the Catalans the most. Gradually they will be taught that leaving Spain means economic suicide. TPTB aren’t going to let it happen, just as they won’t let it happen for Scotland. When the Ultras in the UK parliament realise that Brexit = independent Scotland, Brexit won’t happen, you won’t get an independent Scotland.

    I’m not saying that’s how things should be, just how it will play out.

    • fred

      “Slowly bit, by bit Spanish banks, firms and other institutions are going to pull out of Catalonia”

      Not slowly, they are pulling out fast. Last I heard over four thousand companies had notified change of corporate address. CaixaBank went yesterday, Service Point Solutions has gone, Gas Natural, it’s a mass exodus.

      • perraverde

        Hahaha and where will they go, pray? Catalans have what is known as ‘seny’. Look it up. This exodus won’t last long. Take it from one who knows. And anyway, all you güiris commenting on our affairs when you haven’t got a clue is frankly laughable. Over and out.

        • What's going on?

          No, don’t tell me, you voted to starve!

          You’ve been psy-oped, you fool!

          N.

        • Republicofscotland

          The moves are highly symbolic, with no lose of jobs or company assets, for now.

          Shades of the 2014 Scottish indyref, when Scots were told all manner of firms would take flight on Scotland becoming independent.

          • fred

            And Salmond said it was all “bluff and bluster”.

            But Catalan shows it wasn’t, change of corporate address is more than just symbolic.

          • What's going on?

            Symbolic of what though? If the UK does become a third country in 2019 then the effects will be so disastrous the only course of action will be to rejoin the EU. People may become aware of what is going to happen before then (already the average DE reader understands that measures have to be taken to prepare for ‘hard brexit’), if polls start showing that 70% of people don’t want to go through with it then it can plausibly be stopped. Either way it’s unlikely to help build support for any region or country becoming independent.

  • Sm Sung

    The referendum was a joke – anyone could vote as often as they wanted (or could) and there was no scrutiny. Have you ever even been there? There are a lot of South Americans there who are sneered at by the Catalan language nuts – it’s not whether a majority is “pro-Spanish” but anti-Catalan independence or not.

    Anyway the best way for Catalan independence to fail is for you to support it, given your track record.

  • PaulJones

    The trick of claiming all non-voters as No voters is, frankly, pathetic. It says a huge amount about the corruption of the corporate media, and in the UK especially the BBC, that they have been pumping out this ridiculous “silent majority” narrative without ever analysing the figures realistically.
    Isn’t this reminiscent of some remainers pointing out how many millions didn’t vote leave, conveniently forgetting that by the same argument it could be be pointed out that even more people didn’t vote against Brexit.

    • Laguerre

      The obvious logic is that if you can’t be bothered to go out and vote, you’re quite happy with the status quo. It would hardly be logical to imagine that non-voters are in favour of some vast, economically wrenching, revolutionary change (i.e. Brexit). However Brexiters seem to have lost any semblance of logic in their arguments.

      • craig Post author

        Absolute self-serving bollocks. Many don’t vote because they feel totally alienated from politics and don’t believe it will ever do anything for them. Others don’t vote because they are, as I said, dead but still on the register.

        If you accept the logic that non-voters must be added to support for the status quo, then every single British government, ever, would have won re-election because the non-voters obviously should be added to the government total as they are happy with the status quo. It is an utter bullshit argument.

        • fred

          Referendums on constitutional change are not elections. Conditions such as a two thirds majority or a minimum percentage of the electorate voting for are often set before the status quo can be changed.

          • Muscleguy

            Are you ignorant of the 1979 Devolution referendum in Scotland? Because you must be if you bring up 2/3majorities. Craig has mentioned the dead voting No several times. Those of us who remember our Scottish history know exactly what he is echoing.

            When you add in that the 2/3 majority (population majority which is how the dead end up voting) was added at the last minute as an amendment by Labour rebels to discomfort Harold Wilson the whole thing stinks even more. Scotland was stiffed by disinterested English Labour MPs for party political reasons.

            A bit like how we are in Brexit pretty much purely due to Tory party political reasons.

          • fred

            Yes I remember the Nationalists screaming “not fair” as if it were yesterday, because it was yesterday, and every other day, every day in this blog the Nationalists are screaming “not fair” about something or other, that is what Nationalists do.

            The fact remains that throughout the world for important changes such as constitutional changes a simple majority is not enough to change the status quo and with very good reason.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_majority

          • Muscleguy

            You are being partial in your examples Fred. I was of the generation which forced the NZ govt to hold a referendum on voting systems. Those were simple majority referenda. The Scottish indyref was simple majority, as was Brexit.

            In British government and those of dependent countries using Westminster style parliaments 2/3 majorities are in fact unusual.

          • fred

            Neither the Independence nor the Brexit referendums were legally binding, Britain does not make laws by referendum Parliament rules supreme.

    • perraverde

      No its not. And many people thought ‘theres no way folk’d be insane enough to vote leave’ so they didn’t bother. Same as happened with the Brexshit shambles. Some of us weren’t even allowed to vote in that referendum. Well, thats another fine mess they got us into, innit?

  • reel guid

    Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry doesn’t say anything about the suspension of the Catalan Parliament. You’d think an aspiring FS would have something to say about an autocratic suspension of democracy just 700 miles from her own constituency.

    If she doesn’t openly oppose Majoy then we would have to conclude that she tacitly supports him.

      • freddy

        The E.U.
        should start to get worried.
        Voters in some E.U. countries are beginning to imagine themselves, outside the E.U. Superstate.
        In Scotland, in Catalonia,
        in any part of a country, that wishes to split.
        The E.U. have said, quite clearly if Scotland goes away from U.K. it will no longer be in E.U.
        They have said the same for Catalonia.

        • reel guid

          Once again it’s not true that the EU have said independent Scotland would be out the EU.

          • Brianfujisan

            Seems On A Human Scale..We might be better off without them..Did you see the report

            The EU are down $30 Billion as a consequence of Russian Sanctions

          • reel guid

            Yes Brian. I’m looking at the EFTA option for Scotland a good bit more favourably.

  • freddy

    If Catalonia does break-away from Spain, would it take Spain’s share of Andorra?
    In which case, should not the Andorran people first be included in consultation?

    • freddy

      Which then brings in the interests of the French State, will France allow Catalonia to take Spain’s share of Andorra?
      I think the French state will be most displeased, if asked Macron would sent French forces into Catalonia to side with the state of Spain, against a Free Catalonia.

      • Republicofscotland

        I agree Macron is nothing more than a neoliberal, he’s supposed to be mediating on the Kurds overwhelming yes vote, to create a independent state within the borders of Iraq.

        Macron definitely favours a united Spain, and in my opinion will ultimately come down on the side of the Iraqi government, who do not recognise the vote as valid.

        Macron is also losing popularity in France, for attacking the French Labour laws.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    There was a pro-Spanish majority if Madrid had allowed a peaceful independence vote to take place, but the Catalan leaders counted on Madrid not allowing it.

    And I know this personally having visited many of its places.

  • reel guid

    A YouGove poll out showing the SNP with a big 17 point lead over the Tories and Labour for Holyrood voting intentions.

    SNP 42%
    Labour 25%
    Tory 25%
    LD 5%

    Looks like neither the ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ and ‘Ruthie for PM’ campaigns are going down so well in Scotland.

    • fred

      Doesn’t look like the “call a referendum after Brexit” campaign has any legs left as well.

  • Lubos Motl

    Exactly. I was arguing in almost identical ways many times, too. The numbers in the referendum – and even those 700,000 at a Barcelona rally – are so huge that it’s clear that it’s a majority of the part of the nation that cares at all. It’s a majority in the sense that any legitimate referendum or elections would still be mostly guaranteed to see the pro-secession majority as a result. And no legimate elections in the world can assign all the non-voters to one particular side – that’s simply not a valid assumption, it’s simply not a way to do democracy.

    Spaniards’ and EU-fanatics love to brainwash themselves with these non-existent silent majorities. It’s particularly strong in Spain which is a country that prefers to see their wishful thinking over the things they may clearly see with their own eyes. They prefer how things should be over the way how things are. That’s a terrible starting point for politics, especially for such explosive questions.

    In Czechia, a huge majority supports the Catalan independence as well – between 74 and 90 percent, depending on the news server. The enslavement is viewed as a possible rehearsal for the suppression of us, Poles, Hungarians because of our refusal of mass migration, as an analogy of the 1938 Nazi occupation or 1968 Soviet occupation. All of us know that our countries were born unconstitutionally as well – Czechoslovakia surely contradicted the constitution of Austria-Hungary. Slovakia declared independence in July 1992 and that wasn’t according to the Czechoslovak constitution, either. But we were obviously super-wiser. It wasn’t our day and Havel resigned shortly after the Slovak Parliament’s declaration of independence but no one would ever propose to send the military police to Slovakia or stuff like that. Slovaks were annoying when they couldn’t tolerate things like unified Czechoslovak television in Prague – even if they were allowed Slovak Television in Bratislava. But they were not criminal and our eyes were enough to see that the pro-independence movement has obviously gone mainstream in Slovakia. So one has to behave accordingly and we – mainly Czech prime minister Klaus then – did it more than enough. And without referendums which would only add confusion, misinterpretations, emotions, asymmetric results etc. The powers on the ground – and among the Slovak elite – were clear without a referendum and that’s what was enough to choose a reasonable solution, namely peaceful and perfectionist split of Czechoslovakia.

    There may be silent majorities that are left behind at some points. But it’s rarely when a referendum can get 90% of 43% of votes, or when Barcelona may attract 700,000 people on the “audible” side.

    • Republicofscotland

      Good comment, I was just reading about Slovenia’s UDI, and it came to mind that, at the time there weren’t many Serbs living in Slovakia at the time and Slobodan Milosevic was intent on creating a greater Serbia.

      Milosevic’s eye seemed to focus on Bosnia and Croatia. However Catalan’s have no such luck, Rajoy appears to be fully focused on the region, maybe Milan Kucan, if still alive could mediate on the matter.

  • Clive Wilshin

    I think the numbers of those who voted or did not vote are a secondary matter. The really shocking aspect is the use of violence against peaceful ciivlians — rubber bullets fired at queues voters, old women dragged away by the Guardia Civil — and not a word of even mild rebuke from the EU, or the UK government, for that matter. I favour the Union, but if the British government behaved in this despicable way against Scots voting for independence, I would deem that London had forefeited the right to govern Scotland and demand independence for it right away.

    • Xavi

      It’s how the Brits lost Ireland. There was little popular support for the rebels of 1916 until they were shot in cold blood, even those in wheelchairs. Scottish nationalists may need something similar to happen if even this shambolic Tory Brexit still hasn’t produced the promised surge in support for independence.

  • Republicofscotland

    It was heartening to see in the face of adversity (the terrible beatings and abuse by the fascist Guardia Civil) that the Catalan people kept their dignity.

    They also showed a refined modicum of mental strength and defiance by singing “No Pasaran” (We are not afraid) as fascist blows reigned down on them. As the beatings and abuse escalated into what can only be described as a falangist blood frenzy.

    The Catalan people bloodied and bruised began singing the anti-Francoist resistance song Lèstaca.

    It all looked very familiar, and could have come from a scene from Spain’s dark past.

  • Clydebuilt

    O/T. Prof. Michael Keating Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change at the University of Edinburgh, was interviewed re Catalonia this morning on BBC radio Scotland . He pointed out that there is a majority against Independence in Catalonia.

    Once again no mention of the 770E3 votes confiscated, or the 25% that typically don’t vote in Spanish elections.

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/10/mythical-pro-spanish-majority-catalonia/

    Keating’s organisation should be renamed Centre for Preventing Constitutional Change.

  • Douglas Stuart Wilson

    All that Puigdemont and Junqueras have done is wake up the very worst Spanish nationalism, given Rajoy an excuse to clamp down hard, and possibly even inaugurate a State of Exception (Article 116 of the Constitution) which he will possibly do next week, which he might well apply to the whole of Spain: a “constitutional” coup, so to speak…

    We know that Article 116 is being discussed as an option, though Article 155 is the more likely…

    People are scared, people are worried, people are anxious… this is a country which had a traumatic Civil War the wounds of which still have not healed. This is a country where there was an attempted coup as recently as 1981, and where ETA were bombing Madrid AND Barcelona until 2010.

    There are mass demonstrations today all over in Spain in favour of Spanish unity – the worst, most rancid Spanish nationalism imaginable, and a good number of Franco flags among the Spanish ones too. There are Spanish flags hanging from people’s windows all over the place….the Falange are back.

    Puigdemont – who hails from one of the most corrupt political parties in all of Europe, and a right wing party too – and Junqueras are half mad.

    We’re not in the 19th Century, guys. It’s not a question of storming the barracks, raising a flag and declaring yourself independent… Rajoy will shut down Catalonia next week, the EU will pass on the subject, merci….the violence we saw last Sunday will seem like a picnic for what is to come…

    Anybody who knows anything about Spanish History knows that the only way that exists to successfully reform Spain, is by a progressive alliance of Basques, Catalans and Republicans in Madrid and elsewhere.

    Puigdemont knew he was never going to get anything out of Rajoy. He has led the Catalan people up a one-way street, plunged the country into chaos, and handed the initiative to the neo-Francoist intolerant and authoritarian Spanish right wing…

    What was the alternative? Wait, and be patient, like the Scots were patient after the rigged referendum of 1979… or as Cervantes said, “Patience, and shuffle the pack of cards….”

    We’re facing a full scale disaster in Spain next week, friends, a full scale disaster…

      • Douglas Stuart Wilson

        Craig, frankly, go and fuck off mate….

        It’s just an entertainment for you. I actually live here, you know? I’ve lived in both Madrid and Barcelona….

        Pretendy Scottish armchair revolutionaries…? There are thousands of you.

        And as I said earlier, whey not actually turn your attentions to London rule?

        • reel guid

          “Pretendy Scottish armchair revolutionaries”.

          Shirkers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose except your chairs!

        • Republicofscotland

          “And as I said earlier, whey not actually turn your attentions to London rule?”

          We do, however many as you say “pretendy” arm chair independence supports have an affinity with the Catalan struggle for independence.

          In other words, it’s not all about you mate, get over yourself.

      • MJ

        “And next week our prediction slot will feature Private Fraser”

        He’s already here. Scottish independence? Hope not Fear. Brexit? We’re all doomed.

  • Sam Edi

    You’re turnout figures have no credibility as they come from the independentistas own mouths. Even if they had been independently and legally overseen and counted, along with the vote itself, the figure is still well below any credible percentage in such an important sovereignty decision. Through your own personal bias (and, I suspect, clickbaiting for your campaign), you have chosen to ignore the majority of the Catalan population – the abstainers. The “referendum”, like Brexit before it, was forced upon the electorate with only two equally unpalatable choices – maintain the status quo, or opt for independence with no political or economic plan, and therefore a leap of faith into a socioeconomic abyss. But the real numbers don’t lie. The vast majority didn’t vote.

    This is the exact same social engineering being forced upon the public that both Puigdemont and the Rajoy government use – befuddle the argument ignoring the massive irregularities in the entire procedure, and obliging your readers to choose a side to back. If you had made the effort to speak to a larger spectrum of Catalan society, you might have noticed that there are a plethora of opinions and stand points. Opinions you actively choose to ignore.

    • craig Post author

      The regional parliament election figures are disputed by nobody, and you lost.

      Of course there are multiple opinions. The problem you have, is that you refuse to have a debate to air them and then a vote. When yo refuse to participate in democracy, I do not see why you think we should listen to you.

      • Sm Sung

        “you lost”

        your attempts to jump on every conceivable bandwagon are pathetic. The referendum was a farce, albeit abetted by the incompetence of the Spanish state. The results are meaningless.

        If you perceived the Catalan nationalists as “ray-cist” (to anyone other than non-Catalan spaniards) you’d never be supporting them so your “principles” are worthless.

      • Sam Edi

        I did not lose. The majority of Catalonia lost, because their voices were not heard or included in the ballot. 91% pro-ratification of an Estatut that prohibits (just like any national or regional constitution in any corner of the world) secessionist activity. One of the most fundamental reasons behind having a constitution is to impede the denigration of citizens’ rights by transient opportunists passing as politicians.

        Democracy is a farce when the only two choices put forward do not represent the majority of electorate.

        • craig Post author

          Sam,

          The anti-Independence side lost the regional parliament elections. That is beyond doubt, and why you are having to suspend the regional elections.

          It is rather stupid of you to tell a Scot that the constitution of every country in the world prohibits secessionist activity. That is often said by crazed Spanish nationalists. Secessionist activity is a normal part of political life in real democracies. It is not unlawful to advocate Scottish or Welsh independence in the UK, or Quebecois independence in Canada, or Flemish independence in Belgium.

          Real democracies allow people to debate these things and vote upon them.

          • Sam Edi

            “”It is rather stupid of you to tell a Scot that the constitution of every country in the world prohibits secessionist activity. That is often said by crazed Spanish nationalists. Secessionist activity is a normal part of political life in real democracies. It is not unlawful to advocate Scottish or Welsh independence in the UK, or Quebecois independence in Canada, or Flemish independence in Belgium.””

            Would you mind posting a link to the UK Constitution? I really don’t remember seeing that one.

            “”The anti-Independence side lost the regional parliament elections. That is beyond doubt, and why you are having to suspend the regional elections.””

            Considering that the only people to know the whereabouts of the ballot boxes and the only ones to have counted the votes are the Independentistas, this “beyond doubt” thing you are desperately clinging onto is a stupid that easily trumps my apparent stupidity.

          • craig Post author

            Sam Edi, I think you are failing to understand the difference between the regional parliamentary elections and the independence referendum.

            It is of course not unlawful to campaign for secession from the UK – your contention that it is so is stupid.

  • Sharp Ears

    Coverage by Sky and the state broadcaster.

    Huge rallies in Madrid and Barcelona over Catalonia
    Demonstrations are taking place in the Spanish cities – in support of both unity and Catalan autonomy.
    http://news.sky.com/story/huge-rallies-in-madrid-and-barcelona-over-catalonia-11070672

    Spanish media coverage of referendum reflects polarised society
    Catalonia’s referendum on independence lays bare some long-standing divisions within Spanish society, writes Sky’s Dan Whitehead.
    http://news.sky.com/story/spanish-media-coverage-of-referendum-reflects-polarised-society-11070343

    The BBC goes for the unity line of course.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41533587

  • Sam Edi

    “”In truth there are absolutely no grounds to attribute the minimum 25% habitual non-voters as anti-independence. Particularly the dead ones.””
    This is just as offensive and elitist as the usual BBC pundits claim that abstention equates to disinterest or laziness. Abstention is a vote – a vote against a theatrical system of choice of 2 forced upon the people.

    • craig Post author

      Aah so you wish to see a multi-option referendum? or you wish the people not to be given a vote at all? And the 25% who never vote in elections either, where they have a choice of a dozen parties. How is the abstention of the 25% in that election a protest against binary choice?

      • Sam Edi

        As I mentioned above, 91% of Catalans supported the ratification of the Estatut. If Catalans are currently unhappy with that, then they can seek to change it. That would be the Democratic and fair thing to do. Or do you think it much better to rush a vote through before the total carnage of Brexit becomes visible to everyone in Europe? I suspect the latter.

  • reel guid

    Michael Portillo giving full backing to the Spanish government and talking as if everything they’ve done has been measured and reasonable.

    To think his father was a minister in the Republican government.

    • Sharp Ears

      ‘He became Deputy Secretary of Justice during the Second Spanish Republic.’

      ‘In 1972 he became chief of the London Diplomatic Office of the Spanish Republican government in exile. On 23 June 1977, 40 years after being dismissed and nearly two years after Franco’s death he was politically rehabilitated as a university professor.

      In 1977 he was one of the founders of the new Republican Left, a Spanish party which took its name from Manuel Azaña’s party of the same name which had been previously dissolved in 1959.’

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_Gabriel_Portillo

  • Roddy MacLeod

    There is such a huge silent Pro Spain majority in Catalonia that Madrid has to bus in hardcore Unionists from outwith Catalonia for a staged Pro Spain Rally this Sunday.
    Many suspect it will go the way of George Sq. 19/9/14 this will then give the corrupt government aided and abetted by the Spanish Media a reason to declare a state of emergncy/ martial law

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