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Friday, 29 September 2017


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As an American certifiably dumb about anything Spanish other than olives, Manchego cheese and paella I found the article highly educational. Thank you, Ortega.

Sticky situation. Interesting Spain moved from democracy to civil war to dictatorship and then back to democracy, all in a fairly short period of time. Memories should be fresh about characteristics of all phases. Governments never change it seems and are most often the first threat to all free people. I'm betting Catalan stays put as is.

AEP has an interesting counterpoint to that pro-Castilian article ...

"What seems clear is that Mr Rajoy and his Partido Popular have provoked a Catalan backlash by blocking enhanced devolution that had already been agreed with the outgoing Socialist government. What the Catalans want is a settlement on the Basque model with their own budget and tax-raising powers.
 Mr Rajoy then exploited the eurozone banking crisis to try to break the power of the regions, forcing Catalonia to request a €5bn (£4.4bn) rescue even though it is a net contributor to the Spanish state. He has since hid behind mechanical legalism."

Or, in other words, as usual, one bunch of nationalist country-bumpkins spoiling for a fight with another bunch.


One big problem (amongst many) in Spain is the uncontrolled overspending by many of the regional governments. The EU is constantly demanding of the central govt in Madrid that Spain reduces expenditure to get the deficit under control, but there is a certain level of irresponsibility in regions like Catalonia.
The Catalans complain that they remit more taxes than the centrally distributed funds they receive. This ignores the "progre" design of distribution to subsidize poorer regions. In fact the community of Madrid remits more taxes and receives less per capita than Catalonia. For years it was claimed by the Catalans that there should be a ceiling of 4.5% difference between remitted and received funds, " like in Germany". This does not exist in Germany, but has become lodged in the collective victimhood rife in Catalunia.

I hope there is peace and quiet over the weekend, though I have me doubts. Either way all those responsible for this dog's dinner or "merienda de negros" should be punished.

"The Catalans complain that they remit more taxes than the centrally distributed funds they receive."

Mmm, where have I heard that before?

Perhaps they could write the amount on the side of a red bus, take back control, and spend it on their NHS?

Let's hope they know some rudimentary mathematics, like netting off, for example.


SoD, I doubt it. They estimate that the cost of establishing their own consular service is one million Euros.


Thank you again for caring so much for us. I guess this is quite a tyresome matter for anyone alien to it (also for the ones who have to suffer it daily).

When the Basque Country gained its settlement, the catalans were offered a similar one, and they rejected it. It seemed then more important for the nationalists to gain power than to collect taxes, something never quite popular. The basques have always been more clever.

About the backlash mentioned, it is a quite complicated story:

1. The nationalist regional government, since its cration, pretended to speak to Modrid in formal terms of equal to equal, althought the Supreme Law for all the spanish people was (and still is) the Spanish Constitution.
2. When a socialist government came to power in Catalonia, and when later the socialists also came to power in Madrid, there was the agreement to make a new Autonomy Bill for Catalonia. It was a de facto modification of the Constitution but without saying so. They were, so to speak, too clever by half.
3. Because of the bad design of our system, this Bill went to be approved in referendum by the catalan people before it came to be revised by the Supreme Constitutional Court (because it was appealed by the Partido Popular).
4. When some, very few, articles of the new Bill were annulled the rhetoric of the equal to equal negotiation became useless: it was clear that Catalonia was as much ruled by the Constitution as any other part of Spain. And then began the 'sovereignty movement' that brought us where we are today. An increasing part of the catalan population became convinced that the only way to have full autonomy was by leaving Spain. More than a backlash in power, that as a matter of fact was quite increased, it was a myth that crumbled: the catalan nation in equal terms with 'Spain' (sic).
5. The problem is that to leave Spain by a referendum is not legally possible without changing the Constitution. And the catalan nationalist party, affraid of the more radical parties to get control of the situation, choose the radical rhetoric of the opressed nation and many people, until then moderate middle class nationalists non pro independence, followed them.

And so, tomorrow a part of the population will try to vote, while the police, following the instructions of the Court of Law, will try to prevent them to do so. The situation is even more complicated since the catalan region has its own police, wich has been modelled by the nationalist regional Government. And the radical non pro independence left has also called for the vote: the worse it gets, the better it is for them. A bloody mess, as you may imagine.

Excuse such a long story. I'm not able to make it shorter.

And, finally, have in mind that, whatever happens tomorrow, this is only the beginning.

Best regards.

Ortega, thank you, that was an excellent summary and you are right, I think, to warn that this is just the beginning. Alas, I am not much given to praying but I do *hope* that good sense will prevail before blood is spilled.

Let them go, Ortega.

Is it worth even one life?

How many centuries? How many lives?

There's not an Englishman alive who'd lift a finger to keep the Scots in the union, let alone give his or his son's life. If they wanna go, let 'em go.

True strength and worth comes from having the confidence not to coerce.

If they won't stay, it's coz you're doing something wrong.

Good luck tomorrow.



"True strength and worth comes from having the confidence not to coerce."
Emotionally, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Unfortunately, such national issues cannot always be resolved strictly on the basis of emotional considerations. Because laws.

I know nothing about Spanish law (nor British law), but the Constitution of the United States makes no provision for any individual State's secession. Hence, the deadliest war in American history has been the Civil War. Because we are a Nation of laws, not men.

Aside from the legal considerations, you must also take into account the demographic homogenization of the populous. By now, no State in our Union is entirely populated by native statesmen. I am pretty sure that not all the inhabitants of Scotland are Scots, neither is every person in England English.

Recall all the bloodshed when the Indian subcontinent was partitioned between India and Pakistan. Last time I checked these nuclear-armed enemies are still at it.

National issues are rarely, if ever, amenable to sentimental solutions.


"True strength and worth comes from having the confidence not to coerce."

It's not sentimental.

If I recall correctly, the Scots are still in the union.

And Blighty's status in the other union is still much debated. Fat lady tuning up but not singing yet.

And both unions were sad to see their respective prodigals consider leaving, but did no coercion.

How'd that coercion thing go for Yugoslavia?

And that coercion thing between 1861-1865: Done deal? Or is the army of the dead coming your way? Will the US have the courage to say "Let them go" and so keep them, or will the army of the dead triumph and the US disintegrate?

In the Game of Thrones, the plot only ever thickens. Or was that turtles all the way down?



As for "the laws", two points: -

- Just because something is the law, doesn't make it right. There were laws relating to exterminations in the great tyrannies of the 20th century, but that doesn't make them right just because they are laws.

- The executive and legislative bodies can change the laws. Rajoy had that option, he could have stood by the devolution offered by his predecessor to Catalonia, but he chose to protect his voterbase instead, and revoked it. He hid behind a false claim of "the law", knowing full well he could have changed the law, as his predecessor initiated. He chose to risk stirring the army of the dead in Spain to protect his power. What's Rajoy's "Strength and worth", do you think?


38 and counting.


The law in question is the Spanish Constitution, the "law of laws". In order to amend that either wholly or partly in something which affects all the people, the proposed text must be put to referendum. This's means everybody gets a say in whether or not they agree with the new text and the majority opinion is implemented. Bit like Brexit, really.

The devolution text clashed with the constitution.


"Just because something is the law, doesn't make it right."
Wow, how could I forget something that is so obvious? Thank you for reminding me. You are absolutely right!

BTW, since people frequently disagree about almost everything, who decides what is right or wrong? You?

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