With today’s arrests and the furtherance of the Spanish programme of the seizure of finances and communications Catalan autonomy has been effectively suspended, forcing a serious and volatile constitutional crisis. These are the conditions that have led to open revolt and violence in many part of the world before, and nothing – other than the remarkable sense of calm thus far – makes Catalunya any different.
Democracy – and it is difficult to accept that in 2017 we still find ourselves having to explain this – is all about the will of the people over the ambitions of those in and behind government. The Partido Popular, the ruling party in Madrid, is a minority government that now no longer has the support of Congress for the actions it is carrying out against Catalunya. In reality what we have is a western government using military-style measures with a military police force against an apparently “illegal” act of democracy without the consent of its own parliament.
In spite of the fact that it is now well-known around the world, thanks to social media, the BBC, CNN, Euro News, and Russia Today have refused to report on Spain’s decision to send the military into Catalunya in its efforts to stop the vote going ahead. Yesterday people across Catalunya were photographing convoys of armoured vehicles belonging to the Spanish Armed Forces and the Guardia Civil and posting them online.
By emphasising the dissimilarities between Catalunya and Scotland, those who fixate on this idea of their unrelatability are failing to see altogether what is perhaps the single most important point of connection – the absolute sameness and predictability of the response of power to challenge. Right now Spain is behaving towards Catalunya in a manner which has sent shockwaves around the liberal democratic world. It is doing this because the Catalans have forced it into a position wherein it has no options left in which it can both win and maintain its pretence of enlightened civility.
The situation, while on the surface like a carnival, is tense. It is understood that any violence – or perceived violence – whatsoever, on the part of the pro-independence movement, will likely result in a full military intervention by Madrid. This is what happens when those with the power have no options left, and Spain has nothing left to play but force.
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.
If we fail to address that printed media imbalance we may well lose out again in the next referendum. The best time to start preparing for this is last year, but seeing as that has come and gone, the next best time is right now. Every day iScot is struggling to stay in business. It needs an awful lot more people to subscribe either online or to its print edition and have it sent to their door. Of course, there’s no point spending money on any old crap. It and whatever else we produce has to be quality.