Suspending the Catalan Parliament, Spain Destroys the EU’s “Rule of Law” Figleaf. 221


It takes a very special kind of chutzpah systematically to assault voters, and drag them from polling booths by their hair, and then say that a low turnout invalidates the vote. That is the shameless position being taken by the Europe wide political Establishment and its corporate media lackeys. This Guardian article illustrates a refinement to this already extreme act of intellectual dishonesty. It states voter turnout was 43%. That ignores the 770,000 votes which were cast but physically confiscated by the police so they could not be counted. They take voter turnout over 50%.

That is an incredibly high turnout, given that 900 voters were brutalised so badly they needed formal medical treatment. The prospect of being smashed in the face by a club would naturally deter a number of people from voting. The physical closure of polling stations obviously stopped others from voting. It is quite incredible that in these circumstances, over 50% of the electorate did succeed in casting a vote.

To enable this of course required some deviation from norms. People were allowed to vote at any polling station. The right wing German politician from the Bavarian Christian Democrats, Manfred Weber, leads the largest group in the European Parliament, which includes Rajoy’s Popular Party. He was therefore the first speaker in the EU Parliament debate on events in Catalonia, and managed not to mention police violence or human rights at all in his speech. He did however find time to mock the Catalan authorities for making these last minute changes in procedures to voting rules, which he said invalidated the result.

Weber is no stranger to using spurious “legalities” to support the jackbooted oppressor. His party has attempted to close down EU Commission programmes to build schools and clinics for Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, on the grounds they do not have planning permission from the Israeli authorities.

The obvious answer to the objection of Weber and others on the running of the referendum, is to have another one agreed by all and run in strict accordance with international standards. Yet strangely, despite their complaints about the process, they do not want to have a better process. They rather do not wish people to be allowed to vote at all.

There are however no arguments that the Catalan Parliament was elected in anything but the proper manner. Its suspension by the Spanish Constitutional Court – a body on which 10 out of 12 members are political appointees – is therefore not due to any doubts about the Catalan Parliament’s legitimacy.

No, the Catalan Parliament has been suspended because the Constitutional Court fears it may be about to vote in a way that the Spanish government does not like.

Note that it has not even done this yet. Nobody knows how its members will actually vote, until they vote. The Constitutional Court is suspending a democratically elected body in case it takes a democratic vote of its members.

This makes the EU look pretty silly. It was looking pretty silly anyway. I telephoned the Cabinet today of Frans Timmermans, the EU Commissioner who told the European Parliament that Spain was entitled to use force against the Catalans and it had been proportionate. I spoke to a pleasant young man responsible for the “rule of law and fundamental rights” portfolio in the Cabinet. I got through by using my “Ambassador” title.

Here is the thing. He was genuinely shocked to hear that people thought the Commission’s support for use of force was wrong. He stated that it had not been the intention of Timmermans to say the use of force was proportionate, rather it must be proportionate. He became very agitated and refused to answer when I repeatedly questioned him as to whether he thought the use of force had in fact been proportionate. I suggested to him rather strongly that in refusing to acknowledge the disproportionate use of force, he was in effect lying. I pointed out that Timmermans had supported use of force and said “rule of law” over and over again, but scarcely mentioned human rights.

Here is the thing. It was plain that his shock was genuine, and he had no idea whatsoever of the social media reaction to Timmermans speech. I told him to search Timmermans on twitter and facebook and see for himself, and he agreed to do so. The problem is, these people live in a Brussels bubble where they interact with other Eurocrats and national diplomats, and members of the Establishment media, but have no connection at all to the citizenry of the EU. Nor had he seen the Amnesty International report, which I subsequently emailed him.

The rule of law is not everything. Apartheid was legally enforced in South Africa. Mr Weber’s Nazi antecedents had laws. British colonialism was enforced by laws. Nor is the administration of the law always impartial. Apartheid had its judges. Pinochet had judges to enact his version of the “rule of law”.

Actually all dictators are very big on “the rule of law”.

The most sinister thing Timmermans said to the European Parliament was “There can be no human rights without the rule of law”. Sinister because he did not balance it with “there can be no rule of law without human rights”.

What Spain is attempting now to impose on Catalonia is rule of law without democracy. I am going to be most interested to see how Brussels manages to justify that. We are seeing a whipping up of hatred by a central government against a national and linguistic minority and a suppression of its freedoms and institutions.

The highly politicised Spanish Constitutional Court, in suspending a democratically elected parliament because it does not like its views, has pointed up today that it is not sufficient for the EU to simply parrot “rule of law”. Spain currently has a Francoist Party in power with a Francoist judiciary intent on closing down democracy in Catalonia.

The rule of law within the EU has to stem from democracy, and to respect human rights. Neither is true in Rajoy’s Spain.

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221 thoughts on “Suspending the Catalan Parliament, Spain Destroys the EU’s “Rule of Law” Figleaf.

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  • Hugh Meechan

    Struggling with the idea that it’s the Catalan Socialist Party that brought the case.

    • nevermind

      No the socialist have acted in self interest, they know that the money from Catalan based businesses are upholding the social structure and the peace amongst the many unemployed.
      If they can’t make the masses tick over, they get thrown out, or worse.

  • Loony

    Whilst you continue to twist and spin reality to fit with your own ideological world view the Spanish Defense Minister on Maria Dolores de Cospedal has spoken

    “The state of law has a duty to defend its citizens and therefore the duty to defend liberty and the law, because in a democracy the law is made by all of us.”

    “Either you are with the law or you are against it.”

    “With the law in hand, from a position of unity and addition, of institutional respect and with rules we have all given ourselves, we can continue to build a project that has been the most successful one in recent world history.”

    “The Constitution and our entire body of laws are our ensign but at the same time give us the instruments and means to protect our nation.”

    “It is in our legislation where all of us, absolutely all of us, are equal. It is precisely the law that makes us equal and avoids the tyranny of a few on the rest.”

    “That is precisely why no one can ignore it because they are placing themselves not only outside of the law but mean to place themselves above others.”

    Acting as cheerleader for a civil war is not something of which you should be proud – especially when you so obviously have no real understanding of the tensions that remain within Spanish society.

    • Carl

      He is criticizing the suspension of a democratically elected parliament. Only a peculiar mind sees that as cheerleading for civil war.

      • Loony

        How would you propose to deal with a democratically elected parliament that repeatedly refuses to obey the law. Oh I know you would simply ignore it, just like you did in the UK when Blair decided to launch a war of aggression in Iraq and kill untold people and cause untold harm.

        This is Spain and you will not be permitted to destroy Spain as you destroyed Iraq. Perhaps you remember killing all those Iraqi’s on the basis that they gassed Kurds. Aint it odd that you no longer seem to care about Kurds. Anyone in Catalonia comforted by your war mongering should study a bit of history.

        • Carl

          So now you’re also projecting warmongering onto me with no more justification. What’s up?

          • Geordie Bordie

            What Loony doesn’t tell you is that there was no danger of this referendum sparking secession. Initially anyway.

            That’s not really what it was about.

            It was simply a desire of the Catalan people to express a view.

            Rajoy acted as he did, sending in his thugs, not to quell a budding secession, but rather to shore up his own Francoist base with memories of Franco’s merciless beating of the Catalan people.

            Which they cheered and cheered.

            He had been losing support to the Socialists, but when he unnecessarily beat the Catalan, up goes his vote.

            That’s how cynical he is, and the useless king too.

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

            Remember also that Franco wasn’t an accident. He was the elite and monarchy’s guy, brought in to suppress democracy during a period of decline.

            When he’d done his work, and the world was moving towards financial capitalism back comes the king and the rest of the elite wasters to reclaim their wealth.

            Franco was just doing their dirty work for them.

            Franco and they are one.

      • N_

        Do you actually know what “civil war” means. Well I’m telling you, William, people in Spain and Catalonia DO know.

    • Julian Wells

      “Spanish Defense Minister on Maria Dolores de Cospedal has spoken” — so stand to attention, you dozy Catalans and shape up, if you know what’s good for you!

  • Loony

    The most relevant and most ominous words uttered by the Defense Minister are:

    “The Constitution and our entire body of laws are our ensign but at the same time give us the instruments and means to protect our nation.”

    Article 8 of the Constitution states that Spain’s Armed Forces have the “mission of guaranteeing the sovereignty and independence of Spain, of defending her territorial integrity and constitutional order”.

    That could be read as meaning that the military do not need specific and discrete authority to act in the event that there is an obvious threat to the territorial integrity of Spain. A part of Spanish territory unilaterally declaring independence would appear to satisfy any test that there is an obvious and indisputable threat to the territorial integrity of Spain.

    • craig Post author

      I think that it is no surprise to anybody that the Spanish government is threatening yet more violence.

      Your philosophy appears to amount to no more than “always do what the guy with the jackboot tells you to, or you will get hurt”. It is not the most intellectual of positions.

      • Maren

        I am not sure how you can state that there is no majority for independence among the Catalans. Seven of nine polls taken this year show Yes in the lead, and every single poll taken since 2012 shows that a majority of Catalans support holding a referendum (over 70% and 80% in the last two held this year).

        Some polling asks a different question, however, and it’s if they want a change from the status quo. There is another clear majority for Yes in that case. In those polls, among the people who want a change, about half want independence and the other half want a federal state. But if the question gives them the choice only between the status quo and independence, enough of them break for independence to give Yes a majority.

        But even if you theorize against all the evidence that No was just slightly in the lead before Sunday, that lead would be gone now. The Spanish reaction to peaceful voters pushed many over the edge – that’s just human nature. Of course, there are always hardline unionists who don’t care what the state does, but many more No voters will have switched to Yes (and anecdotal evidence shows that to be the case. In one example I saw, a husband and wife set out to vote no, encountered the police violence and voted yes in reaction to this). The opposite reaction of Yes voters changing to No is far less likely in this situation.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Just love the hypocrisy that the Brits engage in now about the EU when their government shot down 13 unarmed protesters of its violation of civil rights on Bloody Sunday, then instituted a policy of internment without trial for them during which torture occurred. of assassinating republican leaders aka Operation Ranc during its ‘shoot to kill’ policy, and killing supporters of a soft GFA when it was hanging in the balance.

      Spain has learned how to behave in the EU from the UK.

      • Bob Smith

        Bloody Sunday was a long time ago and would simply not happen today. It’s a poor example to use just to attack the UK. Much easier to attack the continued police violence against people of colour in the USA which doesn’t seem to have changed a bit since the 1960’s.

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          The inquiry into the murders started by the paratroopers only reached this conclusion seven years ago, 38 years after it happened. Nothing, of course, about the ongoing barrbarism. That’s how the UK started off after entering the EU in 1969.

          • Bob Smith

            The UK no longer has armed troops on the street and the number of citizens killed by police firearms is minuscule. Pretty good place to live compared to most so called democratic states. Your continued attempts to drag the UK into the mud are laughable.

    • Julian Wells

      On your evidence reading of the Spanish constitution it sanctions unilateral action by the armed forces to enforce their view of things — in other words, a military coup.

      If the constitution really does bear this interpretation then it effectively licences latter-day Tejeros and other Franco nostalgist (of who there are not a few in Spain) to suppress any movement of which they disapprove.

      That the constitutional court’s judgement is at the request of the Catalan wing of the PSOE demonstrates how fundamentally witless and irresponsible are the latter.

  • reel guid

    Corbyn hasn’t tweeted anything about this parliament suspension. In fact he’s not tweeted anything about Catalonia since an underwhelming solitary effort on Sunday.

    Yesterday though he did tweet to mark the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street. And mentioned how his mother was one of those who stood up to Mosley’s blackshirts.

    Doesn’t look like the son is of the same calibre his ma was. There will be better equipped state police versions of Mosley’s thugs trying to prevent parliamentary democracy in Catalonia on Monday. But will Jeremy look the other way in solidarity with the treacherous Socialist Party of Catalonia?

    • craig Post author

      I was pleasantly surprised by Corbyn’s forthrightness on police violence. I thought Scottish Labour would stop him. I have no doubt Scottish Labour is stopping him on the wider Catalan Independence question.

      • reel guid

        Yes but he never castigated the politicians who sent the police thugs. As I kept posting here the other day, what we saw on Sunday was, above all, state violence. And if you don’t call out far right state violence as state violence then you are letting these politicians off the hook to a great extent.

        • Stu

          I am hoping he comes to power and implements policies with a view to making the UK a fairer society which can achieve it’s potential. I also think it will be a huge shift for to have a western leader who genuinely opposes imperialism. I want to live in a more equal society which values all it’s citizens and allows them to live dignified lives, i’m not bothered whether that’s in an independent Scotland or the UK.

          You on the other hand are panicking because he might create a fair UK which would derail your myopic nationalism.

          • reel guid

            Bit difficult to genuinely oppose imperialism if you’re pretty lukewarm in your opposition to fascism.

          • Republicofscotland

            Stu.

            Corbyn is temporary, indepedence is permanent. It doesn’t matter what Corbyn promises, Scots are better off independent for Corbyn if he becomes PM, will be replaced.

            Corbyn again gained his popuarity by speaking of implementing policies that are already in most part implemented in Scotland.

            The truth is Corbyn looked at the SNP model, liked it and began promising it to the rUK.

            Don’t get me wrong, like George Galloway I admire Corbyn’s stance on Palestine etc, but independence is the way forward for Scotland.

          • reel guid

            Ba’al

            Jeremy Corbyn scarves eh?

            They should have ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ on them.

            Unless of course you’re Catalonian. In which case don’t expect much help from St. Jeremy of Islington. Other than maybe a bit of hand wringing about police violence.

            Come to think of it. The population of the rest of Spain greatly outnumbers the population of Catalonia.

            That must be the meaning of ‘For The Many Not The Few’.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Reel – I’m delighted to see that the meaning of ‘democracy’ has not escaped you.

            And the final privilege of democracy is that it can vote for its own abolition.
            The huge question remaining for me is whether, should the ancient kingdom of Clackmannan organise its own referendum and vote for independence from its oppressors in London and Edinburgh, the Scottish Parliament would let it go without a fight.

          • reel guid

            Ba’al

            If, in independent Scotland, a Clackmannanshire independence movement became strong and wanted a referendum then I’d support their right to one. And their right to secede if a majority voted Yes.

          • fred

            “If, in independent Scotland, a Clackmannanshire independence movement became strong and wanted a referendum then I’d support their right to one. And their right to secede if a majority voted Yes.”

            Unless a fire alarm went off in one of the polling stations, then you would want the entire vote declared null and void.

    • Republicofscotland

      reel guid.

      Corbyn won’t say too much on Catalan independence, for if he does publicly favour it, and in my opinion I think he does. Then his stance would be extremely hypocritical, as he opposes Scottish independence.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Spot difference (1): In 1940 Russia invades & annexes Lithuania. 1990: Lithuania “illegally” declares independence – EU recognises. ”

    “Spot different (2): In 1938, Franco invades independent Catalonia and annexes to Spain. 2017 Catalonia votes for independence – EU silent.”

    Says George Kerevan.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/GeorgeKerevan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwingsoverscotland.com%2Freaders-digest%2F

    It seems that the EU picks which nation to support and which nation not to support, with regards to independence.

    • Victor Value

      They are probably been consistent. They haven’t recognised the referendum result in Crimea either. Democracy and the EU don’t sit too easily.

    • fred

      “Spot different (2): In 1938, Franco invades independent Catalonia and annexes to Spain. 2017 Catalonia votes for independence – EU silent.”

      Prior to 1938 Catalonia was not independent, it was an autonomous region of Spain, a Generalitat, much as it is now only without so many powers.

      • SilentCatalonia60%population

        “this situation can only be maintained as a repressive dictatorship. That kind of involution we can save by stopping this right now and you from here are not helping.”

        Catalonia was never independent. This falsehood has been the precept imposed by the Generalitat as the base of the entire fictional construction of the history and the rights of Catalonia created by the independentists. The level of kids indoctrination in this tale, has reached terrifying levels.

    • Erik

      Politics is not black and white in any stretch of the imagination. We the every day man knows very little on what is rwally going on anywhere. Yet we so eagerly have opinions on subjects we know very little about as we are experts. Its called diplomacy. We so eagerly condemn the EU and yet critisize it when it does and doesn’t react to something. We are expecting a quick resolution to something incredibly complex… it’s not going to happen.

    • SA

      ROS
      You and others use Lithuania as an example with oversimplification. The EU if it ever recognised Lithuanian independence came after many other countries did and probably after the dissolutions of the USSR in September 1991 as far as I can tell.

      It seems to me that there is a trend amongst ardent pro Scottish independence supporters to support any nationalist movement sometimes glossing over their shortcomings. In the case of Catalonia the right wing nature of the current Catalonian leadership and the personal benefit aspects of it and other geopolitical background is not carefully analysed but the theme is that if plucky Catalans being suppressed by Francoist Spain.

      Before I am personally attacked for saying all this I hasten to say that I agree that the Spanish government was extremely heavy handed in dealing with this and it could have dealt with this in a more diplomatic manner.
      I have no axes to grind in all this.

    • Habbabkuk

      “In 1938, Franco invades independent Catalonia and annexes to Spain”
      __________________________

      Catalonia was independent in 1938? Most people seem to think it was an integral part of Spain in 1938. And therefore couldn’t have been “annexed” to Spain.

      This man George Kerevan sounds rather uninformed. Or perhaps just seriously confused.

  • SilentCatalonia60%population

    Suspending the Catalan Parliament, Spain Destroys the EU’s “Rule of Law”

    Dear Mister Craig, you are part of the misinformation campaign net that want to destabilize my country. Or, you’re a non qualified professional.
    1.- The Spanish Catalan Parliament, IS, the regional autonomic representation of that part of the Kingdom of Spain. AND, The President of that Parliament Mr. Puigdemont, IS the representant of the Kingdom of Spain IN Catalonia. To be named President, he HAS sworn the Spanish Constitution.

    2.- The Tribunal Constitucional, máximun tribunal institution, HAS SUSPENDED THE NEXT MONDAY’S PLENARY SESSION OF THE SPANISH CATALONIAN PARLIAMENT. THEY HAS NOT SUSPENDED THE PARLIAMENT. Understood?

    So, I require you to erase the falsehoods you say in this …article and give us, Spanish citizen an apologize. And if you have a minimum of decency, do not erase my message and let others read it. Thank you.

    A Spanish Catalonian Citizen.

    For other readers, please get information in a serious place from serious professionals.

  • Max Wheeler

    Very well said. But I believe it is incorrect to say that ” 770,000 votes … were cast but physically confiscated”. My understanding is that 770,000 is the number of people on the electoral register of the polling stations where the electors either hadn’t the opportunity to vote, because it had been closed by police activity, or where the votes, having been cast, were removed before they could be counted. Assuming turnout among these 770,000 would have been the same as elsewhere, that means getting on for 400,000 votes were actually ‘stolen’. Those who would not have voted anyway lost nothing. Still, 400,000 votes stolen is bad enough, and your overall conclusion stands.

  • What's going on?

    My, how the country’s going to the dogs. This site used to be the thinking lefty’s go to read, now it’s more like the Express’ comments section.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        I am a thinking lefty, and I sometimes read The Express, along with all the British media drivel.

        Remember when The Express had a special article n/ the Gareth Williams murder. It stated that the handles of his carryon bag where his rotting body was finally found were velcroed toetrther, making it clear that he could not have volunterily gotten into it nor miraculously got out of it.

        Serious investigators should read even the worst medua outlets. Remember vividly when the rabid right-wing paper The Dallas Morning News stated a month before the JFK assassination that he was going to be killed by Nixon and his cronies by apparently LHO on November 22,1963 which turned out to be all too true.

  • Sharp Ears

    Off topic but important. Moshe Machover, born and raised in Israel and a mathematician and professor in this country, has been expelled from the Labour Party due to the efforts of the JLM.

    Jonathan Cook reports.

    As battle rages in UK Labour Party, Moshe Machover expelled after asserting ‘Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism’
    October 5th, 2017
    http://mondoweiss.net/2017/10/continues-asserting-semitism/

    • Julian Wells

      Off topic, and very important indeed; I know Moshé and the charges are fantastical and clearly orchestrated by the JLM.

  • robin clunie

    On Democracy. An opinion.

    The peoples right to vote freely and choose freely trumps any legalistic debarments at any time, in any circumstance, anywhere.

    Law is a construct and subject to revision.

    The right of an individual to vote/choose is inalienable and unalterable and can only be denied through force.

    Force preventing/inhibitting/denying choice is a denial of democracy.

    There can be no compromise on the peoples right to choose on any matter they choose to vote on.

    Ever.

    shame on the Madrid junta. shame on EU

    • Victor Value

      It was to be expected of the EU and thank god we will soon be out of that particular cesspit.

      • N_

        EU membership wasn’t any kind of a problem for most people in Britain. If you want to use the metaphor of living in a cesspit, there are many other aspects of life in Britain that deserve your attention far more. But which probably won’t get it, because opinion channellers in the media don’t give you the okay to think about them.

    • SA

      Whilst everyone has the right to vote in a democracy there are boundaries to set. One of these is setting up an appropriate framework for this vote. In this case, I believe that the framework under which this referendum was held was not supported by some parties and by central government on constitutional grounds.
      The sad thing about all this is that neither side comes out well and there are no winners only losers which is the people.
      As outsiders we are not bound to support one side or the other unless we know all the facts.

  • Vinatea

    Did the catalan parliament follow an special process to approve the referéndum? Is it “democratic” that you need more MP support to elect the director of the local TV than to call a referendum?

    http://www.lasexta.com/programas/salvados/mejores-momentos/el-dardo-de-jordi-evole-a-carles-puigdemont-si-esta-tan-convencido-de-que-el-pueblo-le-apoya-convoca-elecciones-anticipadas-y-saca-la-mayoria-cualificada_2017092459c80f9d0cf27caff6409064.html

    So many questions…. And you havent even answered the ones I asked you yesterday. Heads, shoulders, knees and toes. Knees and toes.

    • SilentCatalonia60%population

      Some here are talking about the rights of the Catalan Parliament but everybody is forgetting that the Rights of the opposition members have been annihilated. How can you to speak about the rights of the Catalan Parliament that is now kidnapped by insurgent that are attempting a a coup d’Etat?

      • nevermind

        Why did a very silent and stoic Madrid refuse to talk to them and relied on violence alone?
        Has the inquisition left the Spanish Government with their mouth sown shut?
        A Government that is very likely face accusations of fraud and will have to call an election this year.
        Rajoy is already at it, he projecting the strong man.
        But I do not dismiss that there are other factors at play that want to see the EU make a twit of themselves.
        Another reason to stay in this club and sort it out.

        • SilentCatalonia60%population

          It is not “Madrid”, it is the Nation representative.
          The Govern has try to talk with them infinite times. To accept the talk, all those times Puigdemont has imposed to PM Rajoy to accept the illegal referendum as condition.

          Absolutely no president can accept to commit an illegality like that because our Constitution do not allow it only for a fewSpanish on the national territory. A referendum has to be voted by ALL the Spanish citizens.

  • Laguerre

    i don’t feel strongly either way, not being a nationalist. The Spanish government are being excessively brutal, and may occupy Catalonia militarily on Monday, if the Catalans vote for independence. Not a good reaction.

    But, it has to be said, that it’s not very different from the Brits sending troops to Northern Ireland.

    • N_

      So where’s the analogous force to the Ulster Protestant paramilitaries? This is not much like Northern Ireland, but scarily it is similar to a scenario one could imagine for Scotland.

        • Geordie Bordie

          “It was not the Ulster paramilitaries who were rebelling.”

          In the early days, that’s precisely who were rebelling.

          They were rebelling against overtures from the NI prime minister to the RoI prime minister to do a deal which would have secured the economic future of the whole of Ireland.

          He wanted to retain NI’s heavy industry, which he knew was going to be outsourced to the East in the 70s, and the deal would have secured that.

          He warned and warned what was to come but they didn’t listen.

          To be fair, they were manipulated by sectarianism and spookie bookies.

  • N_

    In 1936-39 did the Scottish National Party take a position on the Spanish civil war, when many Catalans fought real Spanish fascism without falling into the trap of Catalan nationalism?

    I mean every bloody Scottish nationalist seems to be an expert on Spain nowadays, so perhaps one can tell me?

    I suspect they had some members who supported the Republicans and others who supported the Falangists, but what do I know?

  • craig Post author

    I have deleted quite a lot of comments by Loony, In consequence replies on those threads have also disappeared. Apologies.

    Pro-Madrid comments are certainly allowed where they have something interesting to say, and there are plenty on this thread, including from Spanish commenters. But Loony was producing a never-ending stream of right wing babble devoid of factual or intellectual content, and I got bored with him/her.

  • N_

    And hey Craig, let’s remember that you called for the authorities to use the Public Order Act 1936 to ban a non-violent pro-Union march in Edinburgh by the Orange Order that was scheduled to take place, and that did place, very shortly before the Scottish independence referendum. Had it been banned, there would have been violence on the streets.

    Don’t you support your opponents’ right to express themselves?

    Catalan opponents of independence are just as Catalan as Catalan supporters of independence. Anybody who thinks otherwise should really think a damned sight harder before they use the word “fascism”. Nationalistic fascism always involves political movements which rabidly portray themselves as expressing the national identity in a “truer” way than their opponents. The whole BBC-assisted discourse based on “Catalans” versus “Spain” is shit.

    • kathy

      That was hugely provocative and it was only due to the self-restraint of the pro-yes group that it didn’t end badly – which is probably what the better together slime were hoping for. Craig was absolutely right.

  • Laguerre

    “Suspending the Catalan Parliament, Spain Destroys the EU’s “Rule of Law” Figleaf. ”

    I don’t quite see why this is a fault of the EU. What is happening is the internal matter of Spain. A similar example would be the Brits putting troops into Northern Ireland. It’s not going to work, but you do it.

    • lysias

      The point is that the EU can no longer claim that the Spanish government is just enforcing the rule of law. Not with a straight face anyway.

  • lysias

    In the spring of 1861, President Lincoln unconstitutionally suspended habeas corpus without a vote of Congress and had his army arrest several .members of the Maryland legislature, because he knew they were about to vote to follow Virginia into secession.

  • ian C

    Craig, The pleno on Monday has been suspended on a legal technicality, that it was convened under article 4.4 of a law that has already been suspended as illlegal by the constitutional court.
    Another party, Sí Que es Pot (CSQP) has requested the appearance of Puigdemont under the (still) legal norms to answer the question of “What political measures he considers appropiate” after the referendum. This needs to be accepted by the parlament on Friday. But the PP member has accepted this.

    Perhaps the greatest problem here is that the judiciary are heavily politicised .

    http://www.eldiario.es/catalunya/politica/Coscubiela-Constitucional-comparecencia-Puigdemont-declaracion_0_693981410.html

  • FranzB

    I note that Rajoy is down to 170 seats out of 350 in the lower house. Maybe Podemos can call a vote of no confidence and precipitate new national elections. In which case perhaps the Catalan govt. would put independence on hold pending the election result. In the hope that a new national govt. would be prepared to discuss independence for Catalonia with the Catalan govt.

    Hope Spain doesn’t go the way of Weimar, with cabinet rule under emergency measures. Herr H was appointed chancellor by cabinet in January 1933 according to the terms of the constitution. The legalists would doubtless approve of the process, but history shows that not all constitutions are perfect.

    • Martinned

      Maybe Podemos can call a vote of no confidence and precipitate new national elections.

      Only if they can get Ciudadanos, the party that was literally founded to oppose Catalan independence, to support them.

    • SilentCatalonia60%population

      Podemos has attempted already to get support to call a vote of no confidence and didn’t got it. Less in this situation That is a lane without exit.

      To declare the independence in Catalonia with the 60% of the population against, is not viable. That republic only could be maintained if it is a repressive dictatorship. That kind of involution we can save it by stopping this right now and you from here are not helping.

      A Catalonian Spanish Citizen. I have the same rights over Catalonia as any other Catalan. If you’re ultimate interest is destroy Europe, then, Spain is the lamb to be sacrificed.

      • nevermind

        So we can look forward to the north of Spain getting occupied by the military.
        The Basque nation is also restless after watching this primitive behaviour by politicians who call themselves democrats and diplomats. Ai carajo, cabrones con zero cohones.

        • SilentCatalonia60%population

          Sure. Basque terrorist band bombs killing a thousand of us, many of them kids, was an exquisite versallesque way to ask for independence. Gorilla diplomacy, to be soft worded

          • nevermind

            you are speaking in the present not past tense, ETA has been disbanded didn’t you know.
            But these sort of fascist measures will only get their goat and I dare not think what would happen, if tanks draw up outside the Sagrada Familia.
            Rajoy is fostering sedition with every anti human rights measure he takes.

  • Martinned

    The rule of law is not everything. Apartheid was legally enforced in South Africa. Mr Weber’s Nazi antecedents had laws. British colonialism was enforced by laws.

    Yeah, the fact that someone might think that something like what happened in Catalunya this weekend is somehow comparable to Nazi Germany is literally why Godwin’s law was invented.

    (Not to mention that managing to put a tu quoque/ad hominem in the middle of a violation of Godwin’s law must be some kind of record deserving special recognition.)

    • Geordie Bordie

      Loony’s version certainly sounds like Nazi Germany.

      Bodies piled ten feet high and all the rest of it if you don’t do what we tell you.

      I’d imagine he speaks for many a PP supporter.

      They certainly cheered the beatings.

      As ya do when you despise a group enough…

  • Carl Jenkins

    Thank you Craig for explaining some of the subtleties surrounding the Rule of Law and how the said Rule can be used to uphold bad practice e.g. Apartheid or to uphold Human Rights.

    I particularly liked the bit about Dictatorships being very keen about the Rule of Law to keep themselves in power and protect their bad practices in maintaining order among the people they rule over, especially those who dare to challenge their ‘processes’ of Government.

    I said a few weeks ago that the EU and the UN were going to face some very stiff challenges over the situation in Catalunya and so far both have been seen to be failing in their responses. Your first class article helps us to understand their difficulties. So glad we have a decent democrat on our side.

  • lulemali

    The Spanish government seems to have assurances from the EU. Which with its response to the brutalization of the Catalans by their own state, lost any crumb of credibility that it had left. There is plenty of historical precedent on the hypocritical role of Western European central powers when it comes to defending principles (i.e. human rights) vs. their own interests, but the way they handled Spain this time is indeed a significant historical mark (and stain). The issue at hand, is not as much about Catalonia’s independence, as about the entire western block.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    When the Spanish Defence Minister, Maria Dolores de Cospedal, said:-
    ““It is in our legislation where all of us, absolutely all of us, are equal. It is precisely the law that makes us equal and avoids the tyranny of a few on the rest.”
    She is inverting, and on the level of domestic laws and processes is getting the legal cart before the horse of the democratic process.
    If Catalans aren’t permitted to vote on the issue of self-determination, then the very law she invokes, but on this occasion, ‘the rule of international law’ is compromised, as long as Spain remains a member state of the United Nations, which imposes duties upon the Spanish state a legal duty*:-
    “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.”
    • The UN Charter is itself considered an international treaty to which it member states subscribe.
    • So far as what the EU may supportive rule or say on behalf of Spain or the Spanish Government may say on its own behalf – all is subsumed under the express provision of Article 103 of the UN Charter, which reads:-
    “Article 103
    “In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present Charter shall prevail.”
    So, if we extract the words “equal rights and self-determination of peoples,” from Chapter 1, Article 1, Part 2 of the UN Charter, then this begs the questions:-
    1. Is the Spanish Defence Minister saying that Spanish domestic law supersedes international law?
    2. Is she saying that Spain does not find itself subsumed by the provisions of the UN Charter to which the Spanish state has acceded as a member of the United Nations?
    3. Is she further saying that even the EU support so far obtained, can ignore the very same fact that all the EU member states are subsumed by the UN Charter as a paramount source of International Law.
    The Defence Minister’s comments override the legal precondition that domestic laws must be congruent and compliant with International Law and not the reverse. If the legal horse is International Law, then it must pull all nation states’ laws along and not inversely be pulled by domestic law.
    Ironically, the ‘tyranny of the few’ becomes the nation states that seek to trample on the quest of the many Catalans who want to express a desire for self-determination, be that via their elected Parliament or through a referendum as a form of direct democratic expression coming from the Catalan region of Spain.
    The floor is open for debate.

  • CameronB Brodie

    “The most sinister thing Timmermans said to the European Parliament was “There can be no human rights without the rule of law”. Sinister because he did not balance it with “there can be no rule of law without human rights”.”

    There are two kinds of freedom. Freedom from (negative freedom) and freedom to (positive freedom). The splitting of freedom into this binary framework can be traced at least back to Kant, was articulated by Erich Fromm in his 1941 work, Escape from Freedom, made famous by Isaiah Berlin’s 1958 essay, “Two Concepts of Liberty,” and explored more modernly by Charles Taylor.

    These philosophers and thinkers generally used these two different categories of freedom to discuss and debate the role of government in citizens’ lives. But today we’d like to take a stab at exploring the way in which thinking about the difference between freedom from and freedom to can help us understand more about our personal development and the journey from boy to man.

    http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/02/21/freedom-from-freedom-to/

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Very clever. But ask yourself, in practical terms which of those two statements is actually true. Rule of law, embodying human rihghts, is certainly necessary to ensure compliance with human rights. But there are are plenty of countries with legal frameworks – maybe you don’t personally like the laws, but they have them – in which human rights are sidelined.

      • CameronB Brodie

        I was attempting to highlight the ethos that underlies international development, i.e. a balance between “freedom from and freedom to”. Unfortunately, the neo-cons aim for a regime of “positive” liberty, which is a grantee of a totalitarian, authoritarian future, IMHO.

  • DavidH

    Spanish authorities are clearly in the wrong… They say the vote wasn’t within the law yet have no suggestions on how one might take place that is within the law. That’s not upholding the law, it’s denying freedom of expression. And the fact that the EU just works to protect its own bunch of Euro-elites has never been well hidden.

    A point that’s also relevant to Scotland and Brexit, though. What kind of vote should be necessary to change the constitution in such a radical way? A change like that will necessarily have serious and permanent consequences for everybody, including some negatives. People’s nationalities that they were born and grew up with and hoped to pass on to their children. Jobs, livelihoods, businesses that people have built based on the current state of affairs will definitely be lost in some places, even if there are benefits to others or arguably the majority. This is not like democratically electing a government that has a fixed term of a few years, the losing parties participate as opposition, then everybody gets to vote again.

    The test of a successful democracy is often not what powers are given to the winners but what powers are given to the losers to make sure they are still represented and have a voice. The problem with such a constitutional or irreversible vote is that there’s no place for the losers, so it’s a fight to the death which will of course become violent. The same problem happens, by the way, when democracy is engineered to exclude portions of the electorate so they don’t even have a choice to vote for in the first place…

    So what portion of the electorate is needed to make an irreversible constitutional change? If 51% vote for a system that denies the rights of 49%, are “a people” exercising their right to self-determination? Or 80% / 20%? What about the right to self-determination of the losers? A vote where the winner takes all, permanently, is not democratic. It’s just majority rules.

  • Brianfujisan

    Been Nipping in And Out here

    Craig’s is a Hugely Principled Stance..In less than Two Days A religion of sorts is Canceled.. Many Years of Belief And Support of the EU. Just like that..
    And the Right wing Senders of Children to Die or Murder in far flung countries.. Say the Rioting Riot Police were in the RIGHT.. Cowards way out .. Some say it could happen in the next Scottish indyref.. I think That Would be a Bad Idea..But Who Knows For sure.

    Been a really horrible week.. Catalonia Reff Police Violence

    Billionaire Trump in Puerto Rica Throwing things no one can consume. Monstrous

    But TO ME the most Evil – in an Ugly week – is Boris Johnston’s Libya coment..That Evil Cnut Should be Dragged over there to see / assist the Clearing of Infants Bodies .. That his Hero War Criminal David Cameron
    Murdered.. Cameron twice the war Criminal – Syria .

    Anyhoo Well Done Craig.. A Concientious One

    • SA

      The crass implication was also that the UK was going to capitalise on the tragedy they helped creat in Libya by getting all those enthusiastic businessmen to rebuild the place as a sheikhdom once the bodies of those who were killed subsequent to the West’s actions, were removed. It can’t get more ghoulish.

  • SA

    Whilst the Catalonian independence vote was taking place another one, this time in Iraqi ‘Kurdistan ‘ was successfully and peacefully completed. It was followed immediately by economic and travel boycott by all surrounding nations.
    The Kurdistan vote does not seem to arouse much reaction, certainly in this blog or in the general media. I wonder why this is the case.

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