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.


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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  • Chris Fraser

    How do you know that the.majority of Brexiteers are motivated by racism? Firstly, the Europeans are the same race as us. Secondly, the primary concern of Brexit workers is the free movement system which has enriched the bosses at the expense of the workers, many of whom have been unemployed, undercut or otherwise undermined by it – but the largely unaffected and out of touch middle class couldn’t give a monkeys about that…If you want to help poor workers, start in Africa – and help them in their own country. Don’t bring them here to drive down the ages of the workers. Your attitude is the reason why Labour didn’t win the last election

    • Andy Boddington

      The polarisation that all Brexiteers are racist is because most remainers based their vote on the free movement of people and not the future tyranny of EU. They therefore considered all people who voted differently were for the opposite reasons that they voted. Whilst racism was involved in some leave votes and Farage’s despicable poster , this short sighted polarisation has been very damaging to the UK public.

    • Afterthought

      He knows because he knows the purpose of mass third world immigration is to punish, defang, and dilute out of existence “evil” whites.

      When they lie down and acquiesce, they are “good boys”.

      When they defend themselves, they are racists.

  • Catherine IMBERNON

    What do you suggest Europe do? Invade? Note my own Spanish name, my father was Catalan, and although I deplore the police role in this, fragmenting Spain is not especially useful.

    • Lewis Naphausen

      It might not be useful for you, the Spanish government or whoever else deems it “not especially useful” but just because you deem it not useful, would you take away everyone’s right to self determination, therefore including your own?

  • Keith Boothroyd

    Finally Craig you can see why many people voted to leave the EU. It was obviously a vehicle for the imposition of neo-liberal policy by mostly appointed Officials and the clearest example of this was the appalling treatment of Greece and the undermining of the democratically achieved aspirations of its peoples. Most of the debt relief went to the northern European banks whilst, adding insult to injury, all this was imposed by a troika staffed by former Goldman Sachs employees who should have been in jail for their fraudulent activities in ‘cooking the books’ which allowed Greece into the Euro in the first place. Whilst you are now aware of the neo-liberal economic policies of the EU and the clear lack of interest in any Democratic or Human Rights issues if it affects their ‘European’ project you are still missing the other key aspect of the EU. Back in 1956 it was promoted as a trade bloc, but since the fall of the USSR it has promoted membership of NATO and become a pawn of US neo-conservatives and liberal interventionists. It has turned a blind eye to the promises of Reagan and Matlock that NATO would not ‘piggy-back’ Germany and is now on Russia’s doorstep, any ‘Cordon Sanitaire’ is now a thing of the past, it has gone along with the US placement of ABM systems in Poland and Romania, it bombed Serbia when the latter objected to the independence of Kosovo, which had not even had a democratic vote on the matter, [will it act in the same manner towards Spain!] and it was party to the violent coup organised by the US in the Ukraine. [There is evidence that the CIA were training neo-Nazi shock troops from Svoboda in Poland] They cannot even claim they were unaware of this since we have evidence of the Ashton [EU Foreign Affairs chief] and Paet [Estonian Foreign Minister] telephone conversation which the EU never bothered to investigate! So finally Craig you might start to respect some of us who voted Brexit and certainly not for any racist or anti-immigrant reasons. You have a good sensibility on political issues it was only a matter of time before you saw the light!

    • Alan Knight

      Keith, I agree with what you say about the activities of the EU, controlled by a bunch of corrupt banksters, but I really don’t think the majority who voted Brexit even have a clue about what you’re talking about! Many just aped the views of fuckwit Farage and the infantile Boris Johnson – that was about the level of it. The UK Government is just the same at the EU with it’s neo-liberal policies, so who know’s where things will be further down the line with this big mess…

      • Gareth

        Wow, even a cogent and fact based comment on why many voted is still shouted down and the base Daily Mail arguments put in their place.
        Fantastic arrogance.
        Just maybe many of us realised that adding layers of unaccountable idiots is far from lean management as it buries accountability and distances democracy, before we even start on the rest of the corporatist BS.

    • Sharp Ears

      Well said Keith Boothroyd. Spot on in several aspects.

      Several of us on here knew about Goldman Sachs/Greek debt. The usual suspects here attempted to rubbish that commentary at the time.

  • Gus Cairns

    Good grief. If they haven’t chucked Hungary out yet, they are certainly not gonig to do anything about Spain. The EU simply wasn’t set up to intervene in this kind of conflict. It’s notrhing to do with them being neoliberals: it’s do do with it beng explicitly a Treaty organisation, not a Federation. They simply can’t do it politically. If they were a United States of Europe with a democratic structure and a parliament that can legislate, then they’d have a right to intervene and we’d be living in the USE. Which, personally, I would be comfortable with but which is generally refarded as a political impossibility. Until then there is simply nothing they can do except tut on the sidelines and try and reassert a general intention that it’s not good for Europe to keep splitting apart into more microstates.

  • Jane Wood

    The Spanish Police acted appallingly, but the referendum was illegal. Each EU Nation is a sovereign state , with its own laws , the EU cannot intervene in domestic problems . They will react, they will intervene diplomaticly , after much thought on the right course to take .
    I protested against the live transportation of animals in the 90’s , the Met were shipped down to Shoreham , they acted appallingly too , we did nothing illegal, the EU did not intervene.
    Apparently we want to take back control , we never lost control, , nor has Spain or the other 27 States.
    What do you expect the EU to do ?
    A referendum got us in the mess we are in now .
    It down to the Spanish Government to discipline it’s Police Force

    • Linsey Young

      How can exercising an inalienable human right as defined by the UN charter be “illegal”? The domestic Spanish constitution is in violation of this right and as such is itself illegal. If the UK were to pass a law making it mandatory to behead people with ginger hair, would you accept that as well? Apartheid was legal. Exterminating Jews was legal. These things were still abhorrent despite their legality.

  • DtP

    FFS with bells on. Still calling Brexiteers racist when everybody and their dog knew exactly the way the EU was going? Geez, it’s hardly a Damascene conversion when it’s bleedin’ obvious. Anywho, there is more joy in heaven etc etc.

  • Patricia

    Glad to hear it and I hope increasing numbers of SNP members reach the same conclusion.

  • Manolo I. Segovia

    By the way, Sr. Craig Murray, the actual number of people attended in hospitals in Catalonia last Oct 1 was four. Four. The rest were brushies the type your son can have in his playground. And lots of post-truth news, like the girl “with all the fingers broken” (no one), the old lady in the stairs (the poor woman just fell in a school with no police), or the kid with blood in his face (a pic from 2012 anti-globalization riots).

    But you still support the separatists. Ok, You are in good company: Farage, Wilders, LePen and Assange, Snowden and Putin. Kudos!!

    • Alan Knight

      The EU can’t intervene in domestic problems? What about Greece? They certainly intervened there, and shafted the whole country. They do what they want, WHEN IT SUITS THEM. To say they have no influence is a bit niave.

      • Erik

        The Greek situation was one about banking. The EU basically gave Greece a loan with conditions, in order to pay its banking debt. These are not remotely the same things. Even sovereign nations can owe banks money.

    • EAleu

      Dear Manolo, I was there and I am one of the 900 people who were dragged, hit, kicked or punched by the Spanish police and Guardia Civil. Shame on you if you trust fabricated news like “fake blood”, “old ladies falling down the stairs by themselves”, etc.
      Perhaps you should watch real footage…
      Spain is crumbling thanks to a government that acts like in the Franco times. Please stay there and enjoy. We are on our way out!

      Thank you, Mr. Murray for your article.

      • Manolo I. Segovia

        Dear EAleu, I am so glad you are not one of the actual number of people (4) attended in hospitals in Catalonia last Oct 1st . Yes four people. Four.
        …after a toll of millions killed and thousands injured throughout decades. Great old Brit, so democratic and respectful with human rights. Remember Falkland (Malvinas) not so long ago or India independent war… I recommend you to be discrete.

        As said before, the actual number of people attended in hospitals in Catalonia last Oct 1 was four. Four. The rest were bruises the type your son can have in his playground. And lots of post-truth news, like the girl “with all the fingers broken” (no one), the old lady in the stairs (the poor woman just fell in a school with no police), or the kid with blood in his face (a pic from 2012 anti-globalization riots).

        How many people were really injured during the catalan referendum?

        But you still support the separatists…?

  • Manolo I. Segovia

    Bear in mind Stalin’s motto:
    “It’s not the votes that count; it’s who counts the votes.”

    THE WASHINGTON POST: Catalonia held a referendum. Russia won:

    LE MONDE: Catalogne : sortir de la politique du pire:

    FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE: Katalanische Hotels werfen Polizisten raushttp:

    FINANCIAL TIMES: Catalan separatists must step back from the brinkhttps:

    • Russell Now

      Why do you link to newspapers owned by billionaires and transnational corporations? Do you think they are credible sources after years of provable deceit?

      • Manolo I. Segovia

        Dear Russell Now, will you be so kind to educate us about any newspapers you consider been “credible sources”?

        • Geordie Bordie

          Russia has no interest in Catalan independence, for obvious reasons.

          This constant Russian crap is the Dems pisspoor pitch for next year’s mid terms.

          And anyway, they’re completely and utterly insane the Americans.

          Watching their shitty empire dissolve before their bleary eyes.

          You’re safe with Vlad. He loves Spain.

          And he wants to eat it whole.

          More likely Soros is fucking you.

    • lysias

      The Washington Post rely outdid itself in blaming Russia for the Catalan referendum. Self-parody, in spades.

  • S.Thornton

    People really need to get a grip on themselves and at least post from a point of knowledge.

    Whilst i detest what the Spanish authority’s did it is an internal matter for the country the EU does not run country’s internal politics no matter what brexiters and the Far Right think.
    There will be an investigation in any human right violations (of which there seems to be many) and the ECHR will of course bring to book those responsible (As they have for the UK’s human right violations over the disabled) but this isn’t going to happen right here right now.

    The racist tags persist on brexiters because it constantly keeps re-appearing through foul mouthed rants by members of that particular group and by the huge rise in racially motivated attacks that the vote has unfortunately encouraged, this is mainly because such racist groups as Britain First EDL and a large percentage of UKIP etc was embraced by leave to achieve their aim.
    However i dont believe all of the leave vote was racist just an unacceptable percentage, Brexiters are mainly xenophobic rather than just plain racist there’s a huge difference but both are unacceptable in a modern world.

  • Andrew Richardson

    Craig, I hope you can find it in yourself to be supportive of the EU, and Scotland becoming an Independent Nation and member of the EU… at least to begin with. I am an EU skeptic but for tactical reasons support “Independence within the EU” as a starting block. The difference with our situation here in Scotland is that the EU want to stick it to the english due to their brexit vote. They WILL, therefore, be very vocal in opposition to the use of any violence here. Any such violence will be widely reported and condemned. “Recognition” of our Independence, when we declare it, will also be swift. 🙂 “Recognition” is a problem the Catalans may have… 🙁 …and is why we must make use of the EU in our transition to Independence by holding Indyref2 before we leave the EU. 🙂
    Tactically, the EU is useful to us right now and we have to make use of that… the union of 1707 is a hard nut to crack. The EU is now on OUR SIDE, post english brexit vote, and they wish to use us a stick with which to beat the english. (mutual back scratching, we will be using each other!) They have guaranteed our EU membership and will all “recognise” our Independence when we declare it. ( Obviously France will be first and Spain last! LOL! 😀 ) Try doing it the other way first?… westminster will shut us down and we will not have the means to ever hold, never mind win, another Indyref. 🙁 This is a crucial TACTICAL consideration and even as an EU skeptic I have zero qualms about using them. Once we are Independent we can assess the EU as a full member and leave should we wish… THAT would be a skoosh by comparison to leaving the UK. We’d have “form” by then and would only be following the rUK precedent.

    • freddy

      I wonder if Nicola Sturgeon
      will declare independence from the U.K. on the same day that Catalonia declares independence from Spain?

      • Pigstream

        I wonder if the Shetland and Orkney Islands will declare independence from Scotland the following day?

      • T Bick

        If she gets a majority, then yes. However westminster didn’t prevent vote, and referendum voted against dissolution of uk. Maybe you missed it!

    • Geoffrey

      I think you are correct that the EU will be as helpful as possible to Scottish Nationalism,primarily as you say to cause as much damage as possible to the BREXITNG UK. If Spain were leaving the EU no doubt they would be supporting the Catalans, and the Basques, Galicians etc.. and it is why the protesters in the Maidan were supported in the hope of bringing the Ukraine in and further isolating Russia.

    • Victor Value

      Without the means of defence, you have no state in the strict sense of the word.

  • Erik

    For someone who’s been so informed and intelligent in articles, you seem to have fallen hook line and sinker into the righteous indignation and sudden hatred of the EU. You like so many others seem to still not understand what the EU is about. It has no EU army because it is not some United States of Europe, it is a treaty of sovereign nations trying to work together economically and politically. TWENTY EIGHT nations trying to work together while having their own goals and problems. You should understand that diplomacy is a sloth, slow and ponderous to get to where it needs to go.

    What do you expect the EU to do? Kick Spain out of the EU without a trial, debate or political discourse? Send in the non-existent EU army? Be angry at SPAIN! Spain is a Sovereign nation who is responsible for its own actions and you seem to expect the EU to act like the UN.

    Like you I’m losing faith, except this faith is in Scotland as an independent nation. Scotland has suddenly lost all sanity and ability to reason. Do you know why? I suspect it’s because they see Catalonia as a possible future for Scotland, supposedly ‘ignored’ by the EU while the rUK beats down on it with force. As a result it is lashing out against the EU, who only seconds before the Catalonian indyref were ‘close allies, brothers and friends against the oppressive UK. We love EU! We love EU!’

    The EU… criticized by leavers for infringing on Sovereignty (and applauded by remainers for not infringing on sovereignty,) and now criticized by remainers for NOT infringing on Sovereignty! It’s insane and reactionary. Russia is having a field say with this and people are getting suckered right in.

  • Jay Carey

    You took a long time to come to this decision after all that has happened in the EU even prior to the UK Referendum so now you see it is nothing more than a Corporate Entity operating under the guise of a governmental body. Very much like we are seeing all over the world especially in the US the Governments are simply ignoring their own laws and obligations in the pursuit of profit.

    Not only that but surely history has now shown us the bigger an entity gets the less lawful it becomes so the realistic answer to this is to break up the European Union just as you would break up a Corporation into smaller businesses. If history has taught us anything its that smaller business actually have more vested interest in its customers.

    Corporations on the other hand have only one goal regardless of the consequences involved in attaining that goal.

    Its good that you have finally opened your eyes to the EUs true intentions 🙂

  • Chris Cooke (Snr.)

    I long-winded torturous explanation of a bout of cognitive dissonance suffered by the author. The next step is to understanding there is an intellectual case for voting Leave, at least as intellectual as the author, which has nothing to do with the artificial left/right nonsense nor base immigration fears; I’m quite sure the author will be pleasantly surprised at the new company he may stumble across on the Leave side. Just one small point of correction. Spain’s Constitutional Court only failed to find a constitutional right to a Catalonian referendum. It did not (and could not) issue any order to block it. It would in fact become only an advisory referendum. On the other hand I am quite sure you are right on Spain’s duty under EU treaties (as well as Spanish law!) not to harm its population.

  • Raymond Kerr

    I believe that the EUROPEAN union is controlled by a bunch of self important political JACKALS that think they are above democracy, they have morphed the EUROZONE into something that is not what we signed up for ,

  • gyges

    “and the majority of Brexiteers are motivated at base by racist anti-immigrant sentiment.” I don’t care whether you think that Brexiteers are motivated by racism; it’s not what motivates them, it’s what motivates you. At least, it should be. The reason that it hasn’t been about the policies of the EU but instead about identity politics has shown an appalling lack of political judgment on your part. The details of the Maastricht Treaty, the ECJ cases such as Laval and Kingfisher, the shambles of the Euro, Bernard Connolly’s book, all meant nothing to you because some unwashed types were racist in your opinion so the preceding events and ideas (and much, much more) were simply discounted. Utterly pathetic Craig. Pathetic.

  • Anna Very

    ‘Backing’? What I read was Juncker’s condemnation. Are we sure we’re not dealing with yet another Brexiteer trickster here? Lies, lies and more lies.

  • Lucy

    I understand your anger, it’s justified. But… The EU is only as good as its parts. If May, Merkel et al are supporting Spain then who would be pushing for another approach? With an issue like this, the EU will not be good enough for our tastes, but without it, there would be no improvement, just May, Mariel et al supporting Spain and no bodies to suggest that’s not good enough or push for change over time. That suggests that the EU has some value, even in hard cases like this where it fails us.

  • neil slater

    This is nothing new. The reason (or one of the main reasons) that people like me voted for a #Lexit was after watching how the situation in Greece had been handled. The idea of the EU was for the many states to protect each other in times of neccessity, but instead we always see the indivdual nation issues being trumped by the needs of the whole. Likewiht Greece and now with Catalonia and no doubt any other state or issue that is on the lower end of the power scale.

    • Chris Rogers


      I’m amazed people on the Left keep referring to Greece, when in reality economic tyranny was inflicted on several Euro-Zone member, among them Cyprus, and it was what was forced on Cyrus by the Commission/ECB that effectively killed any remaining sympathy I had for the EU, which, was quite significant when Jacques Delores was at the helm – its been down hill all the way since Delores departure, particularly in the EU Institutions embrace of neoliberal economic prescriptions, which are anathema to this old git.

  • Tony Gosling

    ‘the majority of Brexiteers are motivated at base by racist anti-immigrant sentiment’
    Not true Craig – its a small minority
    France failed – Macron, god help them – because its National Front failed to deal with the far right
    UKIP succeeded because they were booted out

    The far right have been a minority of infiltrators – never the majority

  • Carme Mampel Juncadella

    Dear Murray,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your post has made me cry. I am a broken hearted catalan starting to fall into complete desperation by being constantly bombarded by the “legal” argument: that we are wrong, that we are terrorist, nazis, extremists, that we deserve what police did to us. The majority of politicians in power, the king and now the European commission. Where can we turn for justice, for help? Your words have been a light in the midst of darknes, bless you. I hope that you will overcome your economic troubles. My grandfather always said ” if it costs money, it’s cheap”.

  • Old Nick the Bladder Blower

    Well what do you know? Craig finally admits he is wrong.

    After he has called all those with Greek friends, who are on the receiving end of EU policies, “Racists”, and the like, the man whose only friends are his fellow Scottish Nationalist friends, admits he is wrong.

    Too late Craig. I was married to a “foreigner” long before you was, and yet you called me a racist. Get on with it Craig, defend your libel case if you can, but you will get no help from me. I defended you for far too long, so suck it down!

  • Eric MacRae

    It’s hard not to agree, but I’m going to try. I was disappointed, but not surprised by the EU Commission’s statement on Catalonia. If nothing else, it totally destroys the Brexiteers’ and the Lexiteers’ arguments that the EU is an all-powerful superstate dictating to national governments on how they must behave, and that the UK must therefore have complete sovereignty over its own affairs. How can Jeremy Corbyn claim that the EU will force Britain to privatise its industries when the institution is so clearly scared to criticise the national governments of its member states. The EU is simply a product of its member countries. My wife and I have experienced firsthand how little power its institutions have over national governments. Once again, the answer is not to run away from our neighbours and try to create a land of ideological purity in glorious isolation, but to work on reforming the institutions and the international organisations that the world needs to function in the future.
    If you can get away from the Scottish angle, you only need to look at who is making political capital out of this. Nigel Farage is gleefully chastising the EU for its weak response and criticism of the EU is all over the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph – all hardly cheerleaders for Catalonian independence in the past. The EU is weak because europhobes likes them made it so.
    I think we should criticise the EU’s response, but the answer is not to withdraw our membership. At the very least, those sympathetic to the cause of Catalan independence should ask the Catalans themselves whether they want us to leave the EU. They are probably more pro-EU than Scotland is. Many on the Left in the UK flirted initially with Brexit, but changed their mind when they actually spoke to left-leaning groups elsewhere in Europe, like Syriza or Podemos. They don’t want us to leave, but to stay and fight with them for progressive values throughout Europe.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      How can Jeremy Corbyn claim that the EU will force Britain to privatise its industries when the institution is so clearly scared to criticise the national governments of its member states.

      It may be scared of criticising the Guardia Civil’s methods, but it is more than prepared to impose a policy of opening state industries to market competition wherever it can; by diktat. This is not just Corbyn’s opinion, it’s EU policy. It’s not impossible to imagine a situation in which a protest against privatisation according to an EU directive is suppressed by an equally robust national police force: would you even expect the EU to criticise the national government for implementing EU rules?

      Read this, eg, all of it:


        • Victor Value

          I particularly like the end

          “The only thing that the new system will almost certainly rule out is state monopolies that do not have to compete with rivals to win franchises, renationalised or otherwise”

          So in effect, if the people vote for a government committed to state ownership of utilities it’s a waste of time as they couldn’t do. Not much point in elections then.

  • Marta

    I am from Barcelona but I live in the Scottish Borders since 2004 when I came to live with my Scottish fiancé now my husband.
    I am catalan but I never wanted independence although I always respected and understood the feelings of other Catalans. I always defended a referendum because what is more democratic than that? I knew an “illegal” referendum was going nowhere but I see it as a way to make a point. We want the right to vote our own sel-determination. I was an EU supporter And also I rejected Brexit although I was no allowed to vote.

    But the past years and overall this week has been the point to stand up and say this is it I had enough crap. Now yes I want a Republican Independent Catalonia (but not the way is going right now I want a proper referendum) I don’t want to be part from a country that approves violencia and repression exactly like the Franco Regime times, I don’t want to belong elsewhere part of a country where the Mossos are accused of sedition (15 to 20 years) when they were the only police who enforced the peace and protect the unarmed people. The firemen did the same. I do not want to stay in a country whith an obsoleted constitution (made with Franco’s regime politicians) that politicians don’t want to change it to allow a referendum but as soon was born the first daughter of Felipe but they are willing to change it so that girl will be able to be Queen (the constitution didn’t allow women) that only show us the law and justice is it equal. I do not want to be in a country who’s King is unable in his speech to show concern for the victims of police violence and like the government says the police acted in proportion. This man doesn’t represent me, his father was Fraco’s heir. Spain the politic system is full of corruption PP the Gov. The one which more corrupt cases. Catalonia is not Saint also has corruption. And also since yesterday I support Brexit for the same reasons you explain in the letter.

    It’s sad

    • Geordie Bordie

      Good for you. The violence against innocent peaceful people was disgraceful and sickening.

      Like an occupying army.

      Catalonia should never again be policed by such cowardly thugs as the Guardia Civil.

    • Manolo I. Segovia

      It is certainly a complex situation when some are determined to repeatedly lie.

      The police presence was mandated by the judicial sistem…, remember the “separation of powers”: Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. It turned violent because that is just what Spanish police do. Every single protester would have been fully aware of Spanish police brutality. Someone high up in the catalan indie camp decided that violence was called for to gain international sympathy for the independence movement. And those that went out to vote, in an illegal referendum, knew what to expect and they went…,and they got the images for the World to see…

      There is no autocratic denial of the right to self determination. There is a legal requirement that CataluÑa abides by the law. If there is any autocratic element then it is from the catalan authorities who are seeking to put their interests ahead of the other 16 autonomous communities in Spain.
      I do not condone or condemn. It’s my country but I don’t think I fully understand the grievances.

    • Manolo I. Segovia

      Querida Marta, no catalan has ever voted for Puigdemont neither in national nor regional elections. And only 47,8% voted for the pro-independence sides in the last 2015 elections. And these parties did not explicitly include in their program for these elections all the measures and developments to be implemented over the period. No mention of this illegal referéndum was included. In my view, a very ‘catalan ‘ way of doing things would have been to call for new regional elections with all these steps of late included in their program and let the catalan people decide on their own without forcing them to face this stressing mess. This is democracy, I hope.

  • Stephen

    why does the EU become “Right Wing” as soon as you part ways with it? The use of deconstruction techniques, namely difference, seems is used to remove any culpability from the left wing or put more simple, “anything I don’t like is right wing”.

    Surely new ‘peoples’ can come into existence by their differing desires and cultural behaviours, as has been the creation of peoples through out history. If you only define ‘people’ by past difference then you have stated history has stopped when it is being written now. For someone who throws around bigot like he at a Frisbee game you seem to be a remarkably narrow minded person, dare I say it you’re “Right Wing”.

  • Pete Weaver

    I am a Brexiteer and immigration was not the reason for my vote. I want this country to be fairer more open and have it’s own free trade deals (which TFEU207 forbids EU members from having).

    I resent and reject utterly that the Brexit vote was a ‘racist’ vote.

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