Fernando González Urbaneja | The latest poll published by La Vanguardia shows 39% of Catalans in favour of independence and 53% against. With these figures, it is understandable that ERC is opting for the slow road, to continue to stir up public opinion in order to achieve its goal, to reach its Ithaca. There was also a question on the language spoken at home: Spanish 41%; Catalan 29%; indistinct 30%. Everyone will draw their own conclusions, but the claim that Catalan society is unanimous or clearly in favour of the “indepes” proposals does not enjoy sufficient support. Conllevanza rather than coexistence.
The 2018 budgets predict very optimistic increases in revenues (+6% in some taxes). But there is no real risk of non-compliance if spending remains tightly controlled.
On the day when Catalonia votes for a new government, the region’s citizens are very confused about the reasons and where the blame lies for the situation they find themselves in.
In a surprisingly statesman-like manner, Carles Puigdemont performed a balancing act in respecting the referendum result, safeguarding his support from the independence movement, and avoiding total escalation with Spain.
A few days ago, a week ago, the unilateral and seditious declaration of independence in Catalonia seemed to be on the cards, almost inevitable in fact. But the King’s speech last Tuesday and the demonstrations in Barcelona and other cities involving both Spaniards and Catalans have changed the dynamic of the process.
The main problem from today onwards is not that Catalonia obtains independence, because there is zero possibility of that happening. It’s rather the weakening of Spain and Europe. Prime Minister Rajoy has the law on his side, but he is politically weak. He needs to look for back up outside, from Europe. But effective support, not notional.
Acting as an “agent provocateur”, Catalonia’s government intends to hold a wholly biased and unrepresentative independence referendum in early October. It knows the outturn will hardly attain half of the potential voters, as only a minority of the population favours an outright split from Spain.
In Madrid, much of the media and most commentators, -not to mention the big national parties — tend to be bewildered, if not outraged, by the secessionist drive. When in Catalonia (or at least speaking to independentistas), I find that the opposite is true: disenchantment with and disdain for the Spanish state is almost a given and the word “independence” tossed around as if it were a football.
I hate this endless temptation for bracketing time into what we call “years.” Time is time and, by definition, there are no interruptions. The problems which beset us in 2016 are still here, whether it’s terrorism or open warfare or Spain’s ingovernability. Thinking it’s going to be very different in 2017 is deceiving ourselves.
Parties staunchly supporting independence have won the elections to the regional Parliament only in terms of seats, not votes.