I Am Obliged to Reconsider My Support for the European Union 382


To my own astonishment, and after a full 36 hours of hard thinking to try and escape this conclusion, I am in intellectual honesty obliged to reconsider my lifelong support for the European Union, due to the unqualified backing of the EU Commission for the Spanish Government’s dreadful repression in Catalonia.

This is very difficult for me. I still much favour open immigration policy, and the majority of Brexiteers are motivated at base by racist anti-immigrant sentiment. Certainly many Brexiteers share in the right wing support for Rajoy’s actions, across Europe. I have been simply stunned by the willingness of right wingers across the internet, including on this blog, to justify the violence of the Spanish state on “law and order” grounds. It is a stark warning of what we might face in Scotland in our next move towards Independence, which I have always believed may be made without the consent of Westminster.

But not all who oppose the EU are right wing. There are others who oppose the EU on the grounds that it is simply another instrument of power of the global 1% and an enforcer of neo-liberalism. I had opposed this idea on the grounds it was confusing the policies of current EU states with the institution itself, that it ignored the EU’s strong guarantees of human rights, and its commitment to workers’ rights and consumer protection.

I have to admit today that I was wrong, and in fact the EU does indeed function to maintain the global political elite, and cares nothing for the people.

The Lisbon Treaty specifically incorporated the European Charter of Fundamental Rights into basic European Union law.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Spanish Guardia Civil on Sunday contravened the following articles:

Article 1: The Right to Human Dignity
Article 6: The Right to Liberty or Security of Person
Article 11: Freedom of Expression and Information
Article 12: Freedom of Assembly and Association
Article 54: Prohibition of Abuse of Rights

I would argue that these were also breached:

Article 21: Non-discrimination
Article 22: Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Diversity

The European Commission is obliged to abide by this Charter by Article 51. Yet when the Spanish government committed the most egregious mass violation of human rights within the European Union for a great many years, the EU Commission deliberately chose to ignore completely its obligations under the European Charter of Fundamantal Rights in its response. The Commission’s actions shocked all of intellectual Europe, and represented a complete betrayal of the fundamental principles, obligations and basic documents of the European Union.

This is the result. The disgusting, smirking Margaritas Schinas of the European Commission refuses to face up to the intellectual vacuity of the EU’s position. He is also lying, because he claims to be limited in matters beyond the Commission’s competence, when he knows perfectly well that the EU Commission is ignoring its obligations under the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

That video was a key factor in persuading me, after 44 years of actual enthusiasm for the EU, it is no longer an organisation which I can support.

900 people were so injured by the Guardia Civil that they had to go for formal medical treatment. Officers, in full riot gear, baton charged entirely peaceful lines of voters, smashed old ladies on the head with weapons, pulled young women by the hair and stamped on them on the ground, threw people down flights of stairs, fired rubber bullets into people sitting on the street and broke a woman’s fingers one by one.

To take the “legalistic” argument, even if you accept the referendum was illegal (and I shall come to that), that in no way necessitates that sort of violence. It could be argued the referendum’s result had no legal effect, but the act of the referendum itself is in that case a form of political demonstration. If that involved abuse of public funds, then legal consequences might follow. There was no cause at all to inflict mass violence on the voters. The actual violence was absolutely disproportionate, unprovoked and undoubtedly met the bar of gross and systematic human rights abuse by the Spanish state.

Yet the EU reacted as if no such abuse had ever happened at all, and the world had not seen it. The statement of the EU Commission totally ignored these absolutely shocking events, in favour of an unequivocal statement of absolute support for Rajoy:

Under the Spanish Constitution, yesterday’s vote in Catalonia was not legal.
For the European Commission, as President Juncker has reiterated repeatedly, this is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of Spain.
We also reiterate the legal position held by this Commission as well as by its predecessors. If a referendum were to be organised in line with the Spanish Constitution it would mean that the territory leaving would find itself outside of the European Union.
Beyond the purely legal aspects of this matter, the Commission believes that these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation.
We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics. We trust the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process in full respect of the Spanish Constitution and of the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined therein.

I speak fluent diplomatese, and this is an unusual statement in its fulsomeness. It contradicts itself by saying “this is an internal matter” but then adding “these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation” which is an unequivocal statement of opposition to Catalan independence.

The Commission later claimed that to comment on the violence by the Spanish Authorities is beyond its competence, a plain lie due to Article 51 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. But what was in fact outwith Commission competence was this statement of opposition to Catalan independence.

It was also extremely unusual – in fact I cannot think of another example – of the EU Commission specifically to endorse by name Mariano Rajoy, let alone immediately after he had launched a gross human rights abuse.

Condemnation would have been too much to expect; but these gratuitous endorsements were a slap in the face to anybody with a concern for human rights in Europe. Also, in diplomatese, I should have expected the mildest of hidden rebukes in the statement; I would have been annoyed by “The Commission is sure the Spanish Government will continue to meet its obligations under the Charter of Fundamental Rights” as too weak, but it is the kind of thing I would have expected to see.

Instead Juncker chose to make no qualification at all in his support for Rajoy.

Perhaps as a former diplomat I put much more weight on these little things than might seem sensible, but to me they are the unmistakeable tells of what kind of right wing authoritarian institution the EU has become, and why I can no longer offer it my support.

I now want to turn to the wider question of whether the Catalonian referendum was indeed illegal. This argument must always come back to the Charter of the United Nations , which states at

Article 1 (2) To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;

It is worth noting that there is no qualification at all on “self-determination of peoples”. It is not limited to decolonisation, as sometimes falsely claimed. The phrase is repeated in the separate UN Declaration on Decolonisation, as the principle plainly is applicable in that context. But it is not limited to that context and appears in the Charter outwith that context.

The question of what constitutes a “people” is a thorny one. NATO were sufficiently convinced the Kosovans were a “people” to go to war for their right to self-determination, while in terms of domestic law of Yugoslavia or Serbia their independence was every bit as illegal as Catalonian independence is under Spanish law. The purveyors of the “illegal” argument, in Spain and in the EU, have never deigned to us why the Kosovans are a “people” with the right to self-determination whereas the Catalans are not.

In this limited sense, NATO and the EU were right over Kosovo. If the Kosovans are a “people”, their right to self determination under the UN Charter could not be nullified by domestic Yugoslav or Serbian legislation. The same is true of the Catalans. If they are a “people”, Spanish domestic legislation cannot remove their right of self-determination. The rights conferred by the UN Charter are inalienable. A people can never give up its right of self-determination. Indeed, those arguing that the Catalans contracted into the current Spanish constitution are heading into a legal ambush as they have already admitted the Catalans are a people with the right of self-determination.

Indeed the Spanish constitution already admits Spain contains separate nationalities. The preamble of section 2 to the Spanish Constitution reads:

Section 2. The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards; it recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all.

Remember, the right to self-determination is inalienable. Once you have acknowledged the existence of different nationalities, the Spanish Constitutional Court cannot legitimately deny their right to self-determination. What it can legitimately do is to judge on their constitutional arrangements within Spain. It cannot legitimately prevent them from determining to leave.

I do not see any doubt that the Catalans are a “people”. They have their own language. They have their own culture. Most importantly, there are over one thousand years of written records of their existence as a separate “people” with those attributes and an extremely long, if in some cases occasionally broken, history of their own institutions.

I do not think it is seriously arguable that the Catalans are not a “people”. It is also the answer to the frankly childish comparison, made by right wingers, to the South East of England breaking away. There is no legitimate argument that the South East of Englanders are a separate “people” in the sense of the UN Charter. The same applies to Northern Italy. Belgium, however, does include different peoples with the right of self-determination, should they choose to exercise it.

The fact that a “people” has the right of self-determination gives them, of course, the right to choose, including the right to choose to remain within their existing state. That right to choose was all the Catalonian government was seeking to offer. The Spanish government and courts are implementing a domestic law, but that domestic law is incompatible with overarching wider rights. As journalists point out in that EU Commission video above, the Turkish courts are correctly implementing domestic law in jailing journalists and academics. It is not enough for Spain to say it is implementing law when the law itself is illegitimate. Jews were “lawfully” rounded up in 1930’s Germany. Gandhi and Mandela were “lawfully” imprisoned.

I will never forget working in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the South Africa (Political) officer in 1986, when the policy of the Thatcher government was explicit that black activists jailed under the apartheid laws were lawfully detained, and that apartheid forces breaking up illegal Soweto demonstrations, in precisely the manner seen against voters in Catalonia, were acting lawfully. Over thirty years, the acknowledgement of the overarching internationally guaranteed basic rights appeared to have made progress. But the EU Commission has just turned its back on all of that.

It is not just the Commission. Macron, May and Merkel have all declared unequivocally against Catalonian independence, while refusing to make any comment at all on the state violence as an “internal affair”. This from Guy Verhofstadt is as good as EU reaction gets, yet it is still entirely mendacious:

I don’t want to interfere in the domestic issues of Spain but I absolutely condemn what happened today in Catalonia.
On one hand, the separatist parties went forward with a so-called referendum that was forbidden by the Constitutional Court, knowing all too well that only a minority would participate as 60 % of the Catalans are against separation.
And on the other hand – even when based on court decisions – the use of disproportionate violence to stop this.
In the European Union we try to find solutions through political dialogue and with respect for the constitutional order as enshrined in the Treaties, especially in art. 4.
It’s high time for de-escalation. Only a negotiated solution in which all political parties, including the opposition in the Catalan Parliament, are involved and with respect for the Constitutional and legal order of the country, is the way forward.

Verhofstadt accepts without question the right of the Spanish Constitutional Court to deny the Catalan right to self-determination, and like every other EU source does not put an argument for that or even refer to the existence of that right or to the UN Charter. He claims, utterly tendentiously to know that 60% of the Catalan people oppose independence. That is plainly untrue. In the last Catalonian assembly elections, 48% voted for pro-Independence parties and another 5% for parties agnostic on the issue. On Sunday, 55% of the electorate voted. A quarter of those votes were confiscated by police, but the votes of 42% of the electorate could be counted and were 90% for Independence. There is no reason to suspect the confiscated ballots were any different. Verhofstadt does at least acknowledge the disproportionate violence to stop the referendum, thus correctly attributing the blame. This is the only statement I have seen from any EU source which contains any truth whatsoever.

To withdraw a lifetime of support for the EU is not a light decision. I have delayed it for hard consideration, so that the emotions aroused by the Spanish government violence could die down. I am also very confident, knowing how these things work, that Rajoy had briefed other EU leaders in advance that he was going to close down the referendum, and their statements of support had been pre-prepared. Diplomatic wheels grind slowly, and I assumed there would be some rowing back from these original statements once bureaucracies had time to react to the excessive violence. In fact there has been no significant softening of the hard line.

In itself, even this incident would not be enough to make me denounce my support for the European Union. But it illustrates, in a way that I cannot deny, an argument that has been repeatedly urged on me and which I have been attempting to deny. The principles of the European Union and indeed the content of its treaties are something I continue strongly to support. But the institution has in fact been overrun by the right wing cronyism of the neo-liberal political class, and no longer serves the principles for which it ostensibly stands. It is become simply an instrument of elite power against the people.

Today, and with a greater sadness than you can imagine, I withdraw my support for membership of the European Union.

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I continue urgently to need contributions to my defence in the libel action against me by Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of Daily Mail online. You can see the court documents outlining the case here. I am threatened with bankruptcy and the end of this blog (not to mention a terrible effect on my young family). Support is greatly appreciated. An astonishing 4,000 people have now contributed a total of over £75,000. But that is still only halfway towards the £140,000 target. I realise it is astonishing that so much money can be needed, but that is the pernicious effect of England’s draconian libel laws, as explained here.





On a practical point, a number of people have said they are not members of Paypal so could not donate. After clicking on “Donate”, just below and left of the “Log In” button is a small “continue” link which enables you to donate by card without logging in.

For those who prefer not to pay online, you can send a cheque made out to me to Craig Murray, 89/14 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8BA. As regular readers know, it is a matter of pride to me that I never hide my address.


382 thoughts on “I Am Obliged to Reconsider My Support for the European Union

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  • reel guid

    Dismal though the EU response has been, a Europe without the EU’s institutions would be more the sort of environment where the kind of state violence we saw in Catalonia could flourish. The European Parliament needs strengthening at the expense of the Commission. Something that Verhofstadt seems very keen to bring about.

    • tartanfever

      Compare this situation to another situation and look at the reactions of the EU. They are the polar opposite.

      The EU backed both publicly and financially the overthrow of the Ukrainian government because it signed a trade deal with Russia instead of one with the EU. (The EU trade deal also happened to include military strategy aligning Ukraine with NATO near the end of it’s 1,000 page document, something it hoped no one of the Western media would pick up on.It also made the deal unpalatable as it would effectively bring NATO aligned forces to the border with Russia.)

      The EU funding was to go to citizen groups based in Western Ukraine, where the far right Nazi groups, like Svoboda are based, and indeed, they provided the arms and personnel to carry out the coup. William Hague stood up in Parliament and told the UK that this revolt was both constitutionally viable and morally justifiable.

      Looking through any Ukrainian constitutional documentation, I don’t see any mention of the right of a section of society to take up arms and overthrow the Government of the day, yet this action was fully backed by the EU at the time.

      It shows a complete lack of integrity to both Nation states and all the peoples of those states from the EU. You cannot believe in universal human rights and have to disparate courses of actions, it’s blatantly laughable. So your idea that without the ‘EU’s institutions we would see more state violence’ is something I simply don’t believe.

  • James Chater

    Craig, could you suspend your judgement of the EU? The fact that the EU parliament has not condemned the police violence in Catalan is a blot on its copy book, but on the whole the EU has achieved more peace and democracy in its history than war and tyranny. We should all be writing to our MEPs urging them to condemn the violence and organize a referendum held under EU supervision, to give the Catalonians a binding vote to chose independence. But it should be a 2-3rds majority of all voters, in my opinion, for there to be a real mandate for independence. There must be a political solution.

    • Sm Sung

      It’s achieved nothing in the way of “peace and democracy”, it’s rode on the coat-tails of NATO in the Cold War and in Kosovo. In this, arguably it’s first real test, it’s failing spectacularly.

      • philw

        The first real test of the EU was the Greek crisis

        The second real test was the refugee crisis.

        This is the third test, and it has spectacularly failed them all. It is clear to see what the EU is now.

        I am very glad to see Craig reconsider and revise his position. An apology to some of his commenters would be nice though. It is not pleasant to be called a racist.

  • Ian Seed

    “But the institution has in fact been overrun by the right wing cronyism of the neo-liberal political class, and no longer serves the principles for which it ostensibly stands. It is become simply an instrument of elite power against the people.”

    You hit the nail on the head. It was never meant to be for the people.

    Federalisation was always the aim. Each little step dressed up as having some economic or economic benefit, but in fact concentrating power in the hands of the technocrats.

    The EU is globalist. The EU hates democracy and always has. They don’t even disguise their contempt.

    There can be no serious talk of reforming such a monstrosity.

  • Republicofscotland

    You know, after Sunday’s events in Catalonia, and the blatant stance of the EU to close ranks, and back Spain’s stance, including mealy mouthed insincere words on the position regarding the unnecessary violence towards peaceful voters, has also given me second thoughts on EU membership.

    I’ve noticed a distinct lean away from the EU on many pro-Scottish independence blogs and their commentors.

  • Tom

    Fair play to you Craig – as someone who voted Remain largely because I didn’t want my country taking a hard Right turn I am, at heart, something of a Eurosceptic. I have a lot of respect for people who reconsider their opinions because facts on the ground have changed. The EU certainly isn’t all bad, but when it comes to stuff like this its track record is pretty terrible…

  • Douglas

    I don’t think you are right Craig.
    The EU has been infiltrated and undermined by the right but I don’t think that this is beyond repair.
    The EU still has a chance to re-discover it’s mojo but it may take some time.
    Getting rid of the malign influence of the UK will help.
    If the EU does not wake up and respond then I agree attitudes need to be rethought but I think there is still a chance that it will recover it’s sense.
    The EU is not a nation state. It moves much more slowly than we would like and has an aversion to being seen to interfere in internal matters.
    I still think that there will be a firm response but unfortunately not instant.

    • TB

      I wish more people had read that article before mindlessly adding their comments to the “Well said Craig” deluge!

      • Richard

        Agreed, IG and TB.

        Craig, I agree with your evaluation of the situation, and I too am angry and disappointed. But don’t you think it’s a bit premature to dump the whole organization because it did not respond rightly, or quickly enough (the right response may still come), to this particular situation?

        Can I ask what other organizations you support, which always do the right thing? The UN? Red cross? Scottish government or police?

        “[…] in fact the EU does indeed function to maintain the global political elite, and cares nothing for the people.” – I’d rather not comment. Maybe you can do that yourself.

        These are sad days.

        Would the alternative – a Europe without the EU – make the situation better?

  • reel guid

    The EU inevitably has been inundated with neoliberals. How could it really have been prevented? Neoliberalism isn’t going unchallenged as we know.

    To end the EU project on the grounds that it’s infected with neoliberalism is like a doctor killing their patient in order to destroy a virus.

    • Republicofscotland

      True, the EU primarily in my opinin has been a force for good. However Sunday’s events and the EU’s apathy towards the extreme violence directed towards the peaceful voters in Catalonia shows it has dark side as well.

      I’d imagine Nicola Sturgeon’s outbursts and stance on Catalonia, hasn’t gone done too well with the EU bigwigs.

      EFTA for us I think, on independence.

      • reel guid

        You could be right Ros.

        One thing’s for sure. Whether EU or EFTA, Scotland has to get away from the UK and what looks like being WTO trade rules.

        .

  • Laguerre

    You’ve always said, Craig, quite rightly that you should never judge an institution by the people who are currently occupying the positions of power. Is that not also the case here?

    Personally, I am not a nationalist of any kind, so my point of view is less strong than yours, though I am naturally opposed to breaches of Human Rights under any circumstances. I don’t see how isolated nationalism can succeed today. You have to think like a Brexiter to believe it.

  • Matt

    I too have been shocked how easily many contributors to this debate have brushed this violence under the carpet due to the illegality of the referendum. I have two areas that I think should be addressed.
    First who was acting illegally? The people attempting to vote? How can the violence against would-be voters be justified?
    Second, how can Catalans achieve independence legally?

    • mogabee

      Important points that not many are addressing. The following is also overlooked;

      Q. How many countries have defied law to fight for their Independence?
      A. A great many! 😀

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Welcome home Craig. The kind of women I love do it all the time (in my experience) but its very rare in men. It is the sign of great intelligence. Changing your mind on the basis of very strong information and evidence. I love people I meet across Europe and the World as much as anyone including you. But I love Democracy more than anything where people have the freedom to choose. Centralised Dictatorships such as The EU and The USA result in the extreme rich getting richer, at the cost of ridiculous laws imposed to impoverish people who were doing OK but now can’t even vote without a jackboot crushing their grandparent’s heads.

  • SandyW

    Me too, also, Craig. I remember the EU as the liberal(ish) organisation that all the former Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe were desperate to join in order to gain those supra-national protections of rights and the freedoms of movement and trade. You’re right, they’re not that anymore. I’ve spent a fair bit of the past year trying to persuade some Left leaning leavers that the EU is not as bad as they think, certainly nothing in comparison to Westminster. Like you, I now have to admit I was wrong.

    • SA

      The same East European countries seem to now be pulling the EU to the right and are xenophobic, or are now the focus of NATO interest against Russia, In other words there is a strong tendency for the tail to wag the dog.

  • Jan Gilpin

    Am v interested to read this. I went through a similar process a couple of years ago in response to the situation in Greece following the election of the Syriza government and the dreadful anti democratic pressure that was then applied by the EU.

    Its been shameful to see the way immigration and racism has been used in the EU debate I do not label all those who voted Leave as racists. The position I and others hold on the EU which it seems you now also share has little to do with immigration and is not represented by the media or politicians in the main… We are living in a very dangerous world if we cannot criticise a powerful body such as the EU without being called racists….

  • Gordie

    European Free Trade Association membership is to mu mind a better fit for Scotland. I don’t buy into much of what is said in criticism of the EU but it is difficult to see how the punters can maintain their sovereignty or authority with the numbers of people involved. The larger the organisation the further away its leaders will be from the punter. If we see something we want to change, European law or simple bad practice of some kind then we might need to convince a couple of hundred thousand people in a population of 5 million. That might be enough to force change. In a union of 350 million how many people do we need to mobilise across how many countries and languages and against all the vested interests to affect change?
    As trading bloc and cultural exchange I am right behind it, as a political union (beyond the political input required to sustain the trading bloc I am against. EFTA is a good fit to my mind.

    As for the ‘Rajoy supporters’ in the EU Commission – a shower of complete c*nts.

  • Tony Kevin

    Important commentary by Craig Murray on the Spanish State violent suppression of the Catalonia referendum, and European Union support for this violence.. You won’t read this elsewhere. Echoes of Ireland here, Richard O’Brien? Tony Kevin

  • Loony

    “I do not see any doubt that the Catalans are a “people”. They have their own language. They have their own culture”

    Yes they have their own language but then so to do Basques, Gallegos and Valencianos. Basques manifestly have their own culture, having never been completely conquered by the Moors, and never having fully surrendered to Franco. They are genetically a different people to the rest of Spain. It was only in Pais Vasco that the Church stood with the people during the time of oppression.

    Gallegos are a mix of Spanish and Portuguese – and Portugal is already a separate country.

    …and so what is this unique and separate Catalan culture of which you speak. It needs to be compared with something and comparing it with Kosovo is just plain bonkers – especially when Basque, Gallego and Valenciano comparators are readily available.

    Oh I know Catalonia has banned bull fighting thus proving its separateness to the rest of Spain. Their anti bullfighting stance is such a long standing cultural tradition that they only actually got around to banning it in 2010. Even something so simple as that was fucked up with the Catalan government being deemed to have banned it illegally – and so once again you can go bullfighting in Catalonia.

    So the Catalan government is incompetent, and its corruption is not in doubt. Take a look at the government of Spain – that too is incompetent and corrupt so not much of a cultural difference there.

    The only cultural difference I can find is that the Catalans speak enough English to go bleating to the global hegemonic powers that they are an oppressed people, and the gullible swallow this horse shit.

    You may as well say that people in London like drinking Kopi Luwak coffee and people in Newcastle like drinking Brown ale – hence there is a sufficient cultural difference for London to declare independence.

    • Matt

      This makes no sense. How does asserting that Basques are a people demonstrate that Catalans aren’t?

      • Loony

        Is it more logical to compare Catalonia with Pais Vasco or to compare Catalonia with Kosovo?

        If Catalans are a people then there needs to be identifiable differences between Catalans and other Spaniards. I can identify differences between Basques and the rest of Spain. I cannot identify any material differences between Catalans and the rest of Spain. If it is to be argued that Catalans are a discrete people then such differences need to be identified. Perhaps you can identify these differences.

        • Lekraw

          Erm…is them speaking a different language not sufficient for you to prove they are “a people”? How about the fact that every nation and language in Europe has a word for “Catalans” and “Catalonia”? Maybe the fact that Catalonia spans the border into Southern France, or that ethnic Catalans are found in Andorra, Valencia, the Balearic islands, eastern Aragon, Roussillon and in Sardinia? If that isn’t enough, surely the fact that Spain itself recognises them as a “nationality” is? Maybe you’ll be convinced by the fact that they have their own national dress, cuisine, myths and legends, and traditional music? If that isn’t enough to convince you they are “a people”, then I don’t know what your definition of a people is.

          Whether you’re convinced or not is really neither here nor there though. Catalonia meets the criteria for statehood under the declarative theory of statehood, as expressed in the Montevideo Convention of 1933, signed by 19 countries including the US, and similarly by the EEC Council of Ministers Badinter Arbitration Committee, which provided legal advice to the Conference on Yugoslavia.

          • Loony

            Andalucia meets all of the factors that you identify – and yet no-one considers Andalucia to be a separate country.

            I have no idea what the Montevideo Convention is – but I do know that any references to Yugoslavia are not helpful. There is no possibility that Spain will allow itself to go the same way as that former country. After all that is the aim of the international globalist anarchists.

            I suppose it must have looked like such a good idea. Split off Catalonia (whose government has been hijacked by communists) and the Basque country will surely follow. All good communists need to expand so lets welcome Valencia into “Greater Catalonia” Why with any luck the burgeoning nations of Pais Vasco and Greater Catalonia will manage to destabilize France – making that too ripe for dismemberment. Where all this leaves the rump of Spain is a question no-one cares to answer because they do not care about the people.

            However Spain is the wrong place to pick this fight – you will be met with uncompromising resistance.

          • Loony

            More important than what? More important than the opinions of the other 16 Autonomous Communities? And if so why?

  • Vronsky

    Unionists would ask why I approved of one union but not another. My view was that the EU with all its imperfections was a worthwhile project while the UK would be best dissolved, to the advantage of all its component parts.

    The EU has slipped towards the position of the UK: arguably not worth saving. But it’s not there yet. We need to support the Varoufakis intention: its shit but we must try to fix it.

    • Lekraw

      I answer (or did answer) the “one union but not another” question by pointing out that the two “unions” have absolutely nothing in common other than the word “union” in their names. One is an incorporating unitary state, where all sovereignty resides with the union government, while the other is a supranational organisation (or confederal union) where almost all sovereignty remains with each independent member state, except for that sovereignty which each member state agrees to pool.

    • J

      I still have considerable hope that Varoufakis and DIEM25 can catalyse a change within the EU, change which is certainly very unlikely without his and their efforts, or something very like them. Otherwise the EU, on it’s current path, will destroy itself as he and others have predicted.

      One only has to look around, it’s already happening.

    • giyane

      Crabbit Geezer

      Your comment reminds me of the multiple choice of answers in a Health & Safety exam. What is the safest way to take down a brick wall? 1/ Start in the middle where the brick work is at body level? 2/ Start at the top and work your way down? or 3/ Start at the bottom and allow gravity to do most of the work for you?

      Once you are in the institution you are totally confined by the etiquettes of the institution which are designed to disable all attempts at reformation. Henry VIII got it right. Demolish the infrastructure of the institution. Rape the inhabitants who are bonking the monks silly anyway. Remove the gold and place it into your own treasury. Correct answer: Start at the bottom and let gravity do most of the work for you.

  • SA

    Craig
    Thank you very much for a very thoughtful and well considered analysis. For many of us who support the EU we did so with wide open eyes and with the knowledge that the EU project is deeply flawed and has become an instrument of neoliberalism. Despite what you say about Kosovo, the EU acted then purely for geopolitical reasons and not out of concern for the Kosovars. In many ways also the EU has acted as a political wing of NATO and more recently with regards to EU damaging sanctions against Russia, as a non-independent global voice. The EU treatment of Greece was direct violence towards a people and not indirect support of oppression unlike the current endorsement.

    I have weighed up all these factors when I came to in the referendum but have voted remain because I believe that our co-dependence on Europe is too far gone for withdrawal not to hurt this country very severely. Like Corbyn I hoped that UK remaining within the EU was the only hope for redemption as working within Europe to try to reform it. I know this is a forlorn hope but I cannot see any other feasible alternative.
    Maybe when the dust settles the Catalans may be able to appeal to the ECHR for a judgment.

    • Andrew Nuttall

      ” In many ways also the EU has acted as a political wing of NATO”

      NATO just moved it’s HQ to Brussels, so closer integration is most definitely planned..

  • K Crosby

    Full marks (or is that Marx) for facing facts Craig. I voted out of this EU because I wanted to be in a free and democratic one and as it happens, I think that immigration is the best thing to happen to Britain since the ending of WWII. So there. As for the Spanish filth, well, filth are filth.

  • Loony

    Whilst there is a discussion of racist Brexiteers and lovely but viciously oppressed Catalans consider this:

    In the UK 2015 General Election the British National Party (the closest the British have to a fascist political party) obtained a total of 1,667 votes.

    In the 2010 Catalan parliamentary elections (i.e an election confined solely to Catalonia) the Falange (the direct successor party to Franco) obtained 1,760 votes.

    It would appear that Catalonia with a population roughly equivalent to 12% of the UK population still manages to out produce the whole of the UK when it comes to fascists.

    • Lekraw

      That’s not really true. What you’re forgetting is that the Tories’ manifesto for the 2015 and 2017 elections was in large part a copy of the BNP manifesto of the 90’s or 00’s. British people don’t need to vote BNP, because the Tories have shifted so far to the right that they basically are the BNP. With that shift, a “civilised, respectable” party now allows people who wouldn’t have dreamed of voting BNP, for fear of being labelled fascists or racists, to vote for those policies without stigma. The UK is miles ahead of Catalonia when it comes to fascism, and the scary thing is that most people don’t even realise it.

      • Local Plan

        In 1982 a fascist sympathiser told me that he and his mates didn’t need to join the (then new) BNP as Thatcher had moved the Tories far enough to the right. Hasn’t changed much, has it?

  • Jim Davidson

    Hi Craig,
    I have also been a supporter of EU membership for most of my adult life but now find myself harbouring severe doubts regarding the moral integrity of the organisation. Consequently if no fundamental reform in the aftermath of the Catalonian situation seems to be forthcoming then it is possible that the latter will inflict more damage on the EU than Brexit ever will. EFTA may well stand to gain what the EU loses.
    I wonder if you could comment on the alleged Spanish violations of Articles 2 and 7 of the the EU charter which are widely quoted in the pro-indy media.
    Many thanks,
    Jim Davidson.

  • ben

    massive respect for you Craig. This is a lesson in honest, analytical thinking. What a world it would be if everyone were willing and able to confront their own deeply held biases as pragmatically and clinically as you have here. the EU looks like a great idea on paper, but the reality has become something far from our perceived ideal. When the EAW didn’t require habeas corpus, when the idea of a Euro army was floated, when national euro companies run our utilities, when the free market gets in the way of socialist policy formation I am against the EU. Surely in the 21st century we can all coordinate fluidly without some inflated, centralised, structure which we do not have control of?

  • fred

    “That video was a key factor in persuading me, after 44 years of actual enthusiasm for the EU, it is no longer an organisation which I can support. ”

    I’m sure everyone here at the time remembers how entusiasticaly you campaigned for Remain before the referendum.

  • Rhisiart Gwilym

    The way the Euro-gics (gangsters-in-charge) are treating Greece tells you all you need to know about their true commitments, Craig. Took a while for you to get here; but respect and congratulations for having the honour and honesty to announce it publicly, straight out, once the penny dropped. Strikes me as doubtful that the EU will ever be any more democratic than the United States; which is to say: having all the formal trappings, but – from the outset – more honoured in the breach than the observance. Reformable? Well, maybe. But I suspect that such formations are probably only truly democratisable by being broken up.

  • Rob Outram

    While I respect your expertise in diplo-speak Craig and as appaled as I am at what I saw in Barcelona I must admit I read that statement very differently. I understood it as a veiled threat to Rajiy to get his act together and start behaving like a politician instead of being a thug. This whole section….. “these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation.
    We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics. We trust the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process in full respect of the Spanish Constitution and of the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined therein.” reads to me as the situation in Catalonia needs political solutions not brother and sister against each other and you Mr Rajoy need to take leadership with a political solution respecting the rights under Spanish law of your citizens.

    • J

      “Violence can never be an instrument in politics.”

      Whether by choice or expediency, violence has been instrumental to the EU and NATO for some time, including direct support for the attempt to impose ‘democracy’ upon Syria (by turning it into a shadow of Iraq and Libya.) The objective violence implicit in the functioning of the EU as presently constituted found clear expression within Europe and against Europeans when unleashed upon Greece, her people having been subject to successive corrupt governments but not directly the cause of their misfortune amidst a global banking led crisis.

      They were punished collectively for resisting the penury of their most vulnerable and the sale of their state and it’s assets to the financial authorities which govern the EU. Today we know that was not an anomaly.

      • SA

        Yes of course it is deliberately forgotten by many that the EU is the civilian counterpart of NATO and its actions in fragmenting East European countries as well as extended roles elsewhere. US sanctions on others is forced on the EU despite damage to European interest and economy not to mention added hardships to such countries as war torn Syria.

  • giyane

    Continuing the translation of Verhofstad’s political lies:
    ” In the European Union we do not try to find solutions through political dialogue and with respect for the constitutional order as enshrined in the Treaties, especially in art. 4.
    It’s not the time for de-escalation. A negotiated solution in which all political parties, including the opposition in the Catalan Parliament, are involved and with respect for the Constitutional and legal order of the country, is not the way forward.”

    I have an allergy to lies, and Verhofstad’s high class diplomatic lies are setting off my smoke and mirrors alarms. What politicians say and what they think are diametrically opposite. How can it possibly be that an institution like the EU can execute the ruination of Syria for the US for the last 6 years and it is still capable of implementing human rights for its own citizens? It’s like crashing the gears into reverse at 160 kph on the autobahn.

    Using exactly the same principle, i.e. reversing politicians words, I translated Mrs May’s words this morning on Today, Radio 4 and it comes up like this: ” We are not building a society which works for everyone [ repeat 3 or 4 times ], We are not trying to fix the problems [ means we are trying to close off all means of social welfare for the weakest in society and ensure that all resources are channelled directly to the rich and powerful ] ”

    The way to deal with all liars including politicians is to support the ideals enshrined in their constitutions, both UK and EU, and take very careful note that it is the leaders, not the people, who are engaged in destroying democracy. people as I have said before are very unwilling to break the law. I would question the motives of the Catalan leaders in forcing the people to do so in such a highly charged issue as ethnical integrity. as Trump legendarily stated [ IMHO wrongly about opponents to white supremacy ] There’s been wrongdoing on all sides. It was reckless in the extreme of the Catalan leadership to place civilians in the way of Madrid’s police thugs. They should resign, unless stupidity is a sign of machoism in Spain.

    • SA

      I also heard that May interview with amusement and incredulity. It was like a parody. If you changed certain words it would have sounded like a comic sketch. But May in her deluded way thinks that repeating words several times will have an enforcing effect. Instead all it does is make her sound like a parrot.

      • giyane

        Or like a spokes-puppet for an extremely nasty right-wing NWO government. For every pound we earn by our sweat, we give the government a quarter of a pound for sitting on its bum, and for every transaction that is made, we do the same in VAT. OK there are personal tax allowances but there are also additional income taxes like National Insurance. Yes there are concessions on VAT for essential need items, but we are also paying for shops to pay accountants to calculate the VAT.

        In other words government in Westernised countries is bloated with our cash, like a tick underneath your scrotum you cannot see, and they are using Hollywood Bollywood pictures of violence to manipulate our emotions into continuing to feed these bastards for our security. We are being conned big-time. By whom? The same experts at emotional blackmail as are trying to screw Craig Murray for bankruptcy.

  • Drew Taylor

    I too have desperately wanted to believe in and support a European Union. The idea of nations coming together in mutual support is a statement of human progress. Avoiding wars, building upon human rights and a common economic goal, who could argue? I voted to leave, to send a message in my own small way that it is unacceptable to allow the neoliberal, corporate takeover of the deal in the interest of more and more tax free profits. To espouse workers rights and deny the same workers the right to eat unmolested food, deny the people the right to benefit from investment in the interests of the already capital rich minority is a failure that can’t be forgiven. I’ll back a true union that rejects lobbying on behalf of self interest and focuses on the majority but I won’t back this union. Shame on the leaders without a mandate. Shame.
    Thanks for the article, the honesty and please carry on your good work.

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