Catalans Go To The Polls….Again.

Here We Go Again

The sad saga of Catalonia had gone quiet for a short while. It has been nearly two months since I last wrote about it. No longer.

There is an election in the autonomous region in two days time where the central government are asking the Catalans to vote for a new bunch of idiots to run the region after the debacle of the UDI that never really was back in October.

If the central government think things are going to calm down they are sadly deluding themselves. The only possible outcome I can see is an even more polarised population in the region.

Roll Up, Roll Up. The Circus is in Town

The election campaigns are in full swing and if there is one thing to say about it all then this is it: The whole circus is beyond parody. We now have the bizarre situation where the separatists who have been jailed are being allowed to stand in these elections. They are even broadcasting their political messages from their jail cells on radio and TV. Even the former Catalan parliament leader and self styled leader of the republic, Sr. Carles Puigdemont, is being allowed to stand and is campaigning all the way from the “safety” of Brussels where he has been effectively hiding since the arrest warrant was issued at the end of October. The radio and TV channels have been broadcasting his messages to voters from his Belgian refuge.

It begs the question: How on earth could any self-respecting Catalan vote for such a person? Meanwhile one of the other independence party leaders – a certain Sr. Oriol Junqueras – who is now in a Spanish prison, is telling voters that at least he never ran off into hiding. I suppose if I was inclined to vote for one of those parties I would choose the one who stood his ground and chose to stay and ‘face the music’. But what the f**k do I know?

Even by the freaky standards of Spanish politics you really could not make this shit up!

On a slightly different subject…

I have been reading a book about Spain that I had intended reading for many years. You know the thing. You want to read a book but never quite got around to it? Well that is the way it is for me.

That book is “Spain is Different” and when it was first issued in 1992 it quickly became a go to read for anyone who was considering living or working in Spain.

The reason I mention it now is because the book was written by Helen Wattley-Ames, mostly about the time she spent living and working in Barcelona in the early 90s. In 1992 was a special year for Spain and Barcelona in particular. It marked the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus sailing to the Americas – from Barcelona. It was the year that the world fair was held in Sevilla. Above all that it was the year of the Barcelona Olympics and foreigners – particularly Americans – were flocking there.

I intend writing a review of the book when I have finished it but for now, because it is very relevant to this week’s events, I want to point out a few of the things the author had to say about regionalism; way back in 1992. She expresses concerns about “the degree to which local governments overdo regional nationalism.” She explains how this had led to cases of people from other Spanish regions not being hired, even if that meant hiring foreigners. She goes on to state how language has become a politicized issue in bilingual regions – namely Catalonia – and how that can lead to trouble. Wise and prophetic writing from a quarter of a century ago.

Back to the Election…

Well; by early Friday we will know if the Catalan farce is to continue. There can be no doubt can there? What will happen in the aftermath? Another attempt at UDI? Or will there be a new prison built to house the politicians? Above all, will Sr. Puigdemont return from his self-imposed exile in Belgium if he is re-elected?

Are we about to see a regional parliament being run from behind bars?

Whatever happens I want to wish everyone in Catalonia a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. They all deserve a break from the turmoil.

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