The European Union has not, in any meaningful sense, spoken up in the defence of Catalunya. More than this, it has not spoken up in the defence of freedom and democracy – not for the Catalans and not for anyone. The watchword everywhere, even echoed by the Scottish Secretary of State, is that this is a matter for Spain and the Spanish Constitution. Once again power has been justified by the law it wrote for itself and its own preservation.
Nations exist on the international stage not because the nationals of nations say they exist. They exist because other nations; the international community, recognise their existence. This cornerstone of international law is the Westphalian settlement, and the growing awareness of this in Scotland is motivating more people in the independence movement to look beyond the shores of Scotland in search of support for Scottish statehood. Berlin is the obvious first destination.
Indeed nothing has changed. The Scottish government, rather than dropping the idea of another referendum, has simply delayed introducing the required legislation until after the Brexit process has been completed.
Opportunities for Scotland to reclaim its rightful place in Europe seldom come around. Being the human shield of your psychopathic next door neighbour will do that. It has taken us 300 years to have another chance to assert our European self.
Scotland’s real interest is in what will be happening at the other side of the table. Where the UK enters the arena with a singular – though deeply fractured – agenda, the European Union’s position is more complex.