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Source: (consider it) Thread: Catalonia Independence
mr cheesy
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It seems to me that there are a few things which can be discussed about this weekend's events in Catalonia.

One thing, for example, that interests me is the way that many socialists and (here in Wales) Nationalists have jumped up quickly to support the Catalonian Independence movement.

We've seen prominent lefty politicians talking about bias in the BBC because of claims that the result of the referendum might be "taken with a pinch of salt". But then, isn't this a fair comment?

We don't seem to see many who are taking the viewpoint of the Spanish government.

Leaving aside the actions of the Spanish national police - which I think can universally be condemned and which may have pushed the region inevitably towards independence - it seems to me that there is a serious conversation to be had about the morality of wealthy (or wealthier) regions becoming independent and making the rest of the country poorer.

It's not for me to tell other people whether they should be "allowed" to be independent. But I think it is going to be difficult to continue having an EU if the member countries become increasingly fragmented and others are consequently left poorer.

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arse

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Golden Key
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I don't know what anyone *should* do. But when I heard on the radio that Catalonia is the wealthiest region of Spain, I figured that was why the Spanish gov't reacted so strongly.

Evidently, the region used to have a fair bit of autonomy, given by the courts--but most of that was later taken away.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
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Martin60
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I'm staggered at Spain's political ineptitude.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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It makes Theresa May's merely look like something excised from Jim Hacker's repertoire in Yes Prime Minister as something so stupid even he wouldn't suggest it.

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Love wins

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Golden Key
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Maybe, weirdly, they want to let Catalonia go, but feel they have to save face??

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Baptist Trainfan
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I'm worried that the Spanish police's brutality will give any potential terrorists a justification to take action. I know that this isn't the Basque country and I'm not aware of any Catalan factions similar to ETA, but you never know ...
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mr cheesy
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If the Catalan parliament authorises their police to resist the Spanish police - and even if they somehow recruit militas - then I think it is going to be quite hard to describe those people as terrorists if they start military actions against the central government forces.

That's the making of a civil war.

I suppose it is possible that others might use the political vacuum to launch large, horrific, attacks with many casualties - but it seems to me that's quite a different thing.

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arse

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Maybe, weirdly, they want to let Catalonia go, but feel they have to save face??

No GK. Keep to simple, unenlightened narratives. That's what we do best.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
No GK. Keep to simple, unenlightened narratives. That's what we do best.

Go on then, enlighten me. What's the complicated narrative?

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arse

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que sais-je
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
I don't know what anyone *should* do. But when I heard on the radio that Catalonia is the wealthiest region of Spain, I figured that was why the Spanish gov't reacted so strongly.

Evidently, the region used to have a fair bit of autonomy, given by the courts--but most of that was later taken away.

I was talking with a friend who has a son living in Catalonia. She's says her son's family (all Catalan) are more angry at being told they can't have a vote than concerned about Catalan independence.

Their view is that Catalan provides 25% of the Spanish GRP (see
various statistic on wikipedia) but get a tiny fraction of government payouts. Which, from the National Government's point of view, makes sense - taxing the rich to support the poor.

Is independence like a marriage divorce? If one partner wants to leave on what grounds should their request be refused?

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"controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity" (Thomas Browne)

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
No GK. Keep to simple, unenlightened narratives. That's what we do best.

Go on then, enlighten me. What's the complicated narrative?
"they want to let Catalonia go, but feel they have to save face". Breaks Occam's razor a couple of ways.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by que sais-je:
I was talking with a friend who has a son living in Catalonia. She's says her son's family (all Catalan) are more angry at being told they can't have a vote than concerned about Catalan independence.

I heard that if it had been a referendum (or even just a poll without interference by the courts and police), there might not have been a majority in favour of independence.

If that's true (I have no idea), then it seems to suggest a massive shooting of oneself in the foot by Madrid.

quote:
Their view is that Catalan provides 25% of the Spanish GRP (see
various statistic on wikipedia) but get a tiny fraction of government payouts. Which, from the National Government's point of view, makes sense - taxing the rich to support the poor.

Is independence like a marriage divorce? If one partner wants to leave on what grounds should their request be refused?

We went to Catalonia earlier in the year and the one thing you do notice is the absolutely huge amount of EU money that has been pumped into the place - including into brand new train tracks which have never had trains for years and other infrastructure.

So I think these things are relative (assuming that the EU structural funds are intended to be used to support poorer parts of the EU).

But then again, presumably an Independent Catalonia would not need such high taxes and probably wouldn't contribute proportionally as much to EU funds as it does today as part of Spain* - which seems to suggest to me (probably over-simplistically) that the EU would have to pick up the slack from the rSpain with decreased revenues.

And what would stop other areas of Spain (or anywhere else) wanting to do the same thing?

Isn't this a downward spiral for the EU?

* assuming various things, of course, including that they'd be allowed to become an EU state

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arse

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
"they want to let Catalonia go, but feel they have to save face". Breaks Occam's razor a couple of ways.

I agree - although I'm sure the whole political situation is complex. It is quite hard to comprehend why the Spanish government did what they did but still managed to only disrupt a tiny part of the referendum.

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arse

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

We've seen prominent lefty politicians talking about bias in the BBC because of claims that the result of the referendum might be "taken with a pinch of salt". But then, isn't this a fair comment?

On one level - given that the referendum had already been ruled as illegal - the entire thing was just a massive exercise in - peaceful - civil disobedience.

Given that, the ineptitude of the Spanish government in dealing with it was staggering.

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Martin60
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Sheer incompetence. Wouldn't have happened in Franco's day.

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Love wins

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Sheer incompetence. Wouldn't have happened in Franco's day.

As a tactic, it works, as long as you can control all information flow.
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Martin60
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Yeah, Trump does that to perfection, better than anyone ever. By control, take a dump in.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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I also note that everyone is calling everyone else in this situation a fascist. Which seems to devalue the term both ways around.

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arse

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Marvin the Martian

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I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

There must be some limits. Otherwise how are you going to deal with the person who insists he should be allowed to declare his house an independent state?

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arse

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american piskie
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

One reason: because in the post-dictatorship settlement they overwhelmingly supported the adoption of the Constitution which does not permit secession. I think a lot of moderate Spaniards are saying "above almost all things we value being a state governed by law, and so if you think this law ought to be changed we must all vote on it". I think that in Spain, so recently a dictatorship, and with much laundering of dirty laundry still to do, it's not surprising that so many see any drift into illegality as dangerous.

(All this doesn't mean I don't think Rajoy and team have been spectacularly inept.)

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

There must be some limits. Otherwise how are you going to deal with the person who insists he should be allowed to declare his house an independent state?
Ignore it.

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Love wins

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american piskie
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As an afterthought, if one wants to get a feel for some of the nastier forces at work try this
Collaborators with God

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by american piskie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

One reason: because in the post-dictatorship settlement they overwhelmingly supported the adoption of the Constitution which does not permit secession. I think a lot of moderate Spaniards are saying "above almost all things we value being a state governed by law, and so if you think this law ought to be changed we must all vote on it". I think that in Spain, so recently a dictatorship, and with much laundering of dirty laundry still to do, it's not surprising that so many see any drift into illegality as dangerous.

(All this doesn't mean I don't think Rajoy and team have been spectacularly inept.)

That's revolutions for you. The constitution be damned. That was then, this is now.

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Love wins

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american piskie
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by american piskie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

One reason: because in the post-dictatorship settlement they overwhelmingly supported the adoption of the Constitution which does not permit secession. I think a lot of moderate Spaniards are saying "above almost all things we value being a state governed by law, and so if you think this law ought to be changed we must all vote on it". I think that in Spain, so recently a dictatorship, and with much laundering of dirty laundry still to do, it's not surprising that so many see any drift into illegality as dangerous.

(All this doesn't mean I don't think Rajoy and team have been spectacularly inept.)

That's revolutions for you. The constitution be damned. That was then, this is now.
Indeed: and given how the last overthrow of the rule of law went in Spain I am not, as I say, surprised that most Spaniards are not keen on the idea.
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Martin60
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There's no comparison.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
There's no comparison.

I'm so glad you are here to make pronouncements, Martin. Let's just close the thread now, you've clearly ended all possible discussion on the topic.

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arse

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Martin60
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I'm so glad you're making your contribution as previously on the Grenfell fire in your interesting way which can only be pursued infernally. If you think that there is a comparison between the Fascist invasion of Spain and Catalonia's yearnings, please make it.

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Love wins

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Sheer incompetence. Wouldn't have happened in Franco's day.

Franco would have used much more violence. Perhaps I don't understand your meaning?

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Martin60
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He'd have had the apparatus to make that unnecessary.

[ 02. October 2017, 13:16: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Franco was a bad man who killed thousands. Catalonia has wanted independence since at least the 18th century and probably since the Reconquista. Spain has worries about Basque independence only recently calmed down. Catalania's melody plays in harmony.

Governance from the dominant core is a problem? Would federalism ie regional control in a devolved power model, where provinces may control many things, work better in some of these countries? But by the time they're voting it is far too late.

Franco's response I think would have been 20k arrested, several hundreds shot in the streets, torture. Followed by retaliatory terror. So Martin you cannot have meant that.

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Martin60
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Indeed not. His repressive apparatus would have made sure that it didn't even break the surface, after setting the tone of 114,000 victims between 1936 and 1952.

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Love wins

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Franco was a bad man who killed thousands. Catalonia has wanted independence since at least the 18th century and probably since the Reconquista. Spain has worries about Basque independence only recently calmed down. Catalania's melody plays in harmony.

Governance from the dominant core is a problem? Would federalism ie regional control in a devolved power model, where provinces may control many things, work better in some of these countries? But by the time they're voting it is far too late.
*snip*

The 1978 Constitution (one of the 7 authors was Miquel Roca i Junyent from the Pacte Democràtic per Catalunya) which was endorsed by 91% by referendum, provides for that. There were further extensions of autonomy but the Parti Popular under Rajoy was unhappy with that and withdrew them in (IIRC) 2012. Rajoy's unwillingness to negotiate further has not helped.

Spain is a bit more fragile as a state than many might assume, and a particularly nasty civil war is just now passing from living memory. The period of fascist oppression is still within memory, and was a reality, rather than a rhetorical exclamation. I have long been uncomfortable (not that he cares for my discomfort or, perhaps, anyone's) with Rajoy's negative and unproductive stance with respect to the Catalans; he seems to want to close off discussion and movement and expects that heavihandedness will "solve the problem."

Spaniards generally, and the Catalans are no exception, have come to value the ballot and democratic expression, and the symbolism of interfering with and suppressing a referendum will have longterm consequences.

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Pangolin Guerre
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I think that Catalan independence is a bad idea. Were I Catalan, I would probably think the same. However, to be told that I cannot vote on the question would get me out on the street with my fellow citizens.

I think that in the Nationalist mindset there lies the unacknowledged anxiety about Spain's fractious regionalism. (Golden Key, I think that you're attributing far too much subtlety to Rajoy and his government.) Were Catalonia to go, how long before the Basque lands (also net contributors to the national fisc)? And then Galicia (which makes much of its unique, celtically-rooted culture, and has its own language), then Aragon, Andalucia, Asturias? Really, the sensible answer would be a federalism beneath the monarchy.

I doubt, in light of the past weekend, that ETA has failed to take note of the Guardia Civil's behaviour. (Explains the black masks I saw on the GC as they took away ballot boxes.) I certainly didn't fail to notice. I also didn't fail to notice the Nationalist demonstration in Madrid, where given were the fascist salute and rousing choruses of Cara al Sol.*

*Facing the Sun, fascist Civil War song (of the Falangistas, originally).

**Tangentially, in 1937, the only bishop of the Spanish episcopate not to sign the collective letter of support for Franco was Vidal i Barraquer, Bishop of Tarragona, who was moderately well disposed toward the republican government, and to Catalonia.

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
It's not for me to tell other people whether they should be "allowed" to be independent. But I think it is going to be difficult to continue having an EU if the member countries become increasingly fragmented and others are consequently left poorer.

Which is rather what Russia would like, right? Hence the allegations that they are throwing their foreign propaganda wing behind the Independence movement.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
The 1978 Constitution (one of the 7 authors was Miquel Roca i Junyent from the Pacte Democràtic per Catalunya) which was endorsed by 91% by referendum, provides for that. There were further extensions of autonomy but the Parti Popular under Rajoy was unhappy with that and withdrew them in (IIRC) 2012. Rajoy's unwillingness to negotiate further has not helped.

Spain is a bit more fragile as a state than many might assume, and a particularly nasty civil war is just now passing from living memory. The period of fascist oppression is still within memory, and was a reality, rather than a rhetorical exclamation. I have long been uncomfortable (not that he cares for my discomfort or, perhaps, anyone's) with Rajoy's negative and unproductive stance with respect to the Catalans; he seems to want to close off discussion and movement and expects that heavihandedness will "solve the problem."

Spaniards generally, and the Catalans are no exception, have come to value the ballot and democratic expression, and the symbolism of interfering with and suppressing a referendum will have longterm consequences.

Very helpful. Thanks.

Additional things I wonder is the EU in the situation. How much does it matter if regions are independent if they are all within the EU? Then also I think of ethnic Russians in the Baltic countries and Ukraine

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
I think that Catalan independence is a bad idea. Were I Catalan, I would probably think the same. However, to be told that I cannot vote on the question would get me out on the street with my fellow citizens.

I think that in the Nationalist mindset there lies the unacknowledged anxiety about Spain's fractious regionalism. (Golden Key, I think that you're attributing far too much subtlety to Rajoy and his government.) Were Catalonia to go, how long before the Basque lands (also net contributors to the national fisc)? And then Galicia (which makes much of its unique, celtically-rooted culture, and has its own language), then Aragon, Andalucia, Asturias? Really, the sensible answer would be a federalism beneath the monarchy.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but unless the regions were only part of Spain in name only, there would be nationally applied taxes. And if that happened, there would continue to be taxes raised in one region and spent in another.

quote:
I doubt, in light of the past weekend, that ETA has failed to take note of the Guardia Civil's behaviour. (Explains the black masks I saw on the GC as they took away ballot boxes.) I certainly didn't fail to notice. I also didn't fail to notice the Nationalist demonstration in Madrid, where given were the fascist salute and rousing choruses of Cara al Sol.*

*Facing the Sun, fascist Civil War song (of the

That's interesting, but I don't understand what you are saying. Which Nationalists? Those supporting Catalonian Independence or against it?

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arse

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
Which is rather what Russia would like, right? Hence the allegations that they are throwing their foreign propaganda wing behind the Independence movement.

I hadn't heard that. But I'm not sure what to think about anything much any more - given what we know (or think we know) about various aspects of Russian influence and interference, it seems entirely possible.

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arse

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Very helpful. Thanks.

Additional things I wonder is the EU in the situation. How much does it matter if regions are independent if they are all within the EU? Then also I think of ethnic Russians in the Baltic countries and Ukraine

Well on a superficial level it obviously does matter otherwise all of the independence movements within countries of the EU would have given up.

On a slightly more serious level, I think it matters because the states within the EU are not all exactly the same - with regard to things like immigration and taxation - so I think it is quite likely that increasing states due to independence of regions would lead to greater instability and a reduction in overall EU funds. Plus politically, it is going to be pretty difficult for existing EU states to wipe the slate clean and get down to working with newly independent states on an equal footing.

Of course, Europe has a lot of history of states breaking with others and being annexed, but most of that happened a long time before the states concerned joined the EU.

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Ricardus
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Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia all gained their current form within the lifetime of the EU - and largely on ethnic nationalist grounds.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
Which is rather what Russia would like, right? Hence the allegations that they are throwing their foreign propaganda wing behind the Independence movement.

I hadn't heard that. But I'm not sure what to think about anything much any more - given what we know (or think we know) about various aspects of Russian influence and interference, it seems entirely possible.
Here is a link to Politico EU discussing the allegations.

Specifically, Sputnik, a Russian state-backed news source, has been accused of publishing misleading and downright false news about the referendum and corruption in Madrid. That news was then widely shared by Russian twitter bots.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia all gained their current form within the lifetime of the EU - and largely on ethnic nationalist grounds.

OK, but how many of those were new countries created from countries within the EU?

I think the majority were Eastern bloc countries which rejected the influence of Russia in favour of looking to join the EU.

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arse

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Ricardus
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Sure. But it's pretty hypocritical of European countries to object to separatism when most of them were formed out of separatist movements.

Eta: although I realize on re-reading that this doesn't actually contradict your post.

[ 02. October 2017, 16:11: Message edited by: Ricardus ]

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I fully support Catalan independence. If they don't want to be a part of Spain any more then why the hell should anyone else be able to tell them they have to stay?

There must be some limits. Otherwise how are you going to deal with the person who insists he should be allowed to declare his house an independent state?
You mean apart from withdrawing his permission to work in the country he just left and refusing him access to that country’s facilities such as health, education, power, water, rubbish collection, etc? You could even declare that without a visa arrangement he’s not allowed to cross the border (i.e. leave his house).

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Hail Gallaxhar

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You mean apart from withdrawing his permission to work in the country he just left and refusing him access to that country’s facilities such as health, education, power, water, rubbish collection, etc? You could even declare that without a visa arrangement he’s not allowed to cross the border (i.e. leave his house).

I'd have thought the simplest solution, as Martin suggests above, is to not let him do it.

You can't have people in a country who arbitrarily declare themselves to be outside the auspices of the law.

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arse

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
I think that Catalan independence is a bad idea.

OK, but why?

quote:
Were Catalonia to go, how long before the Basque lands (also net contributors to the national fisc)? And then Galicia (which makes much of its unique, celtically-rooted culture, and has its own language), then Aragon, Andalucia, Asturias?
The problem being? Why not have six or seven independent nations rather than one, if that what the people of those areas want?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The problem being? Why not have six or seven independent nations rather than one, if that what the people of those areas want?

Because why should individuals, or groups of individuals, be allowed to do something which adversely affects someone else?

If this was a legal agreement in another walk of life, would we say it was fair for one side to simple state that they're walking away?

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arse

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
You can't have people in a country who arbitrarily declare themselves to be outside the auspices of the law.

The whole point of independence is that once it’s declared the people who declared it arent in the country any more.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Because why should individuals, or groups of individuals, be allowed to do something which adversely affects someone else?

That argument cuts both ways. The Catalan people clearly feel that they’re being adversely affected by being forced to remain a part of Spain.

quote:
If this was a legal agreement in another walk of life, would we say it was fair for one side to simple state that they're walking away?
You mean like when two married people get a divorce?

I’d be interested to know your opinion of other independence movements from the relatively recent past. Should East Timor have stayed part of Indonesia? Should Eritrea still be Ethiopian? Should we still only have one Sudan? Should the various Balkan states still be Yugoslavia? Should the Soviet Union never have split up? Should Czechoslovakia still exist? Or are you of the opinion that the current set of national borders is exactly how the world is supposed to be, and it’s just taken us until now to realise it?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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mr cheesy
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I'm not saying that Independence is bad. I'm just saying it isn't always a moral good. One example being that an individual cannot simply declare that he is now living in his own country.

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arse

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