More Catalan Farce than Greek Tragedy
The central government blinked first in the game of poker. But nobody expected the exciting sprint finish. OK, maybe we did.
With the finish line in sight and the Spanish government about to vote in the Senate the Catalan separatists sprint through on the inside to take it by a nose. No, this was not a photo-finish in a horserace. Although it might have been.
Finally. Just before the central government were to announce the implementation of Article 155 the Catalans unsuspended what they had suspended. The insuspendable (is that even a word?) that was suspended has now been unsuspended. Does that make sense? OK. I am trying to make light of it all. I can’t help myself because it is such nonsense. Almost laughable. Sadly, the reality – out there on the streets – hardly makes any sense either.
Party Now – Pay Later
The Catalan separatists took to the streets and partied like it was 1999 last night. Today many will wake up with sore heads.
They had better get used to that feeling because soon heads could be cracked hard in bitter conflicts on those same streets. The government has been backed into a corner now and has to act to defend the country’s constitution. There is no other option but to arrest certain characters in this drama. The Catalan parliament has already been dissolved so the next few days will see some serious manoeuvres by both sides. Things will get violent – at least in the short term. But once that kind of thing starts how do you stop it? It can soon become a runaway train.
Why did the Catalan separatists officially declare independence just before the central government vote on Article 155? What do they think this will achieve? Do they think that any intervention now by the Spanish authorities will somehow be seen by the international community as an invasion of a separate state? Will they expect UN peace-keeping forces to come in and save the day when (for it now when not if) the violence starts? I am serious. I have been around long enough to know that these politicians may actually believe such rubbish.
Lies, damn lies and statistics….
Some interesting statistics: I got these figures from the BBC’s website incidentally, but I am sure other sources could verify them. If you disagree and have some other source please; do let me know.
Catalonia has 16% of the population and accounts for 19% of the country’s GDP. In other words their GDP contribution is not much more than their population percentage – which would seem about right (I suppose). A prosperous enough area but perhaps not quite the economic powerhouse many have been led to believe. The way the region has been talked about one might expect figures like 15% of the population and 30% of the GDP. But that is not the real picture. And most of that 19% contribution to the national GDP is made up of foreign companies and investment.
Worse than that the region is supposedly some €52 billion in debt to the central government, having been bailed out following over-spending and the financial crash in 2008. Should an honest new state first look at paying off such debts? What do you think?
With violent clashes just around the corner here are a few thoughts…
Spokespersons are advocating non-violence but the reality will prove to be quite different. There is talk of forming a human chain around the Catalan parliament building to prevent the arrest of their leader Mr. Puigdemont. If anyone thinks that will end without violence from both sides then they are sadly deluding themselves.
Already, intimidation has been on display in colleges and the youth always has a tendency to be hot headed on issues they believe in passionately. Will those opposed to independence remain silent and be cowed by intimidation?
Meanwhile Mr. Puigdemont has seen fit to send his family out of the country. I hope people bear this in mind when the violence begins.
What’s that old saying? One rule for them, one for us…