Catalan Woes

It’s interesting this topic has barely been covered in national news in Britain considering the topic of Scottish independence becomes prominent as the referendum draws nears. Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, has blocked off the chance for Catalonia to hold a referendum to decide whether it wants statehood or more independence.

To some it is amazing that this is even happening. Imagine if David Cameron completely vetoed the referendum and had it halted. To me it is undemocratic as polls clearly show there is a strong sentiment towards wanting greater freedom. Nonetheless Britain has an uncodified constitution whilst Spain doesn’t. Apparently Spain is one entity and so whether a region wants independence, the whole of Spain must decide on this matter as well.

This is unfortunate though lawful, so there is not much Catalans can do regarding this. Perhaps a problem with constitutions is that it’s extremely rigid in its outlook and such. This problem for instance regarding gun ownership in America and the second amendment has caused waves in the media. I digress – a constitution is a constitution so unless the centre right Prime Minister of Spain wants to amend it – this referendum is not going to happen.

It’s a shame really when the urge for a greater independent Catalonia emerges and more people want it to happen. Unfortunately all these faux referendums and campaigning was done in vain and will only rile up the Catalans and anger them more. If Mariano Rajoy didn’t think the threat of Catalonia becoming independent was a real one; no doubt he would have let the referendum become a reality.

See Catalonia provides Spain with almost 20% of its GDP so therefore it’s a crucial part of Spain no matter how you want to look at it. It is then is obvious why Spain will do anything it can to keep Catalonia within it. The reason other regions such as Andalucia love Spain is because they get a huge slice of the money Catalonia makes, and this further makes Catalans believe they are being hard done by. Along with the governments investment for Catalonia has also reduced by the large margin of 25%. In layman’s terms, they are putting in far more than they are receiving.

Image(General Franco handing Real Madrid the European Cup at the Santiago Bernabeu)

This injustice feels amplified when you consider the oppression the Catalans faced under the dictator General Franco whose favourite team happened to be Real Madrid. The language of the Catalans was oppressed and anyone even caught speaking in it would have been punished. Imagine that. Imagine not being able to speak Gaelic because a foreign English dictator wanted you to speak English only. That is a simple analogy but a reasonable one, because Catalonia is not Spain. They merely share borders.

Image(It was kind of a big deal)

As Catalonia continues to get ignored by the government the sentiment of independence will only grow. Perhaps Mariano Rajoy should have at least allowed a referendum to happen to see what the Catalan opinion was. By completely destroying it, to me it feels undemocratic and a way to flex ones muscles. This is especially true when you consider 1.5 million Catalans (Catalonia population is roughly 7 million) rallied in the name of Catalonia becoming a European State. Unfortunately they would also require the vote of all EU states to be admitted into it – would they get Spain’s vote? No chance.

So this is it, a clear dead end for Catalonia. Nonetheless do not expect this issue to die down as the younger generations become more radical and enamoured to the idea of an independent state.


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