In today's episode:
- 1. Egypt - Morsi power grab: Crisis end 'imminent,' Ahmed Mekki, Egypt minister, says
- 2. Syria - FSA insurgents blow up mosque in Aleppo
- 3. Iraq - Iraqi army, Kurds continue buildup in disputed region
- 4. Greece - Most Greeks want the Euro, oppose austerity: poll
- 5. Under the Radar - BP seeks deal with Nord Stream to bring Russia gas to UK
Well, you asked for opinions on the Catalonian referendum, and you’ll GET IT, by thunder!
I concur with you on this one: Catalonian independence or just expanded autonomy is a very bad idea.
Gratned, for the people of Spain’s wealthiest province, escaping from the listing galleon might seem like a good idea. They pay out more revenues than they take in, and therefore in the interest of self-preservation, they ought to split off the rotting body.
This is sentiment is similar to the demonstration for independence in Venice last month.
But for Venice and Catalonia the situation is the same: even if they did leave their motherland behind, where do they think they will go? Their situation remains grim. In Catalonia, there is rampant unemployment, a dismal economy, a dead housing market, a pension funding crisis, and no decent plan in sight for recovery.
Does Catalonia’s politicians really think breaking away from Madrid would preserve them from their obligations to the global bankers?
Do they really think the credit agencies will show mercy for their precipitating a financial crisis in the rest of Spain by seceding? No, they will see their already poor credit slashed to zero for instigating regional trouble.
Spain has been in dire situations plenty of times before: the civil war of 1936-1939 was only the worst of them. Constitutional crises, coup de etats, regional revolts, and economic collapses fill the pages of Spanish history for the last two centuries.
Spain always emerged from them intact, if battered and bruised.
No, they fell into the banker’s trap together, and they will have to claw their way out of it together.
I can’t agree with you on Greece at all. The only way out for Greece is to get out of the Euro, bring back the Drachma and retake control of their own economy by retestablishing their own sovereignty. You don’t have sovereignty if you don’t issue your own currency.
Syriza, to my mind, appears to be controlled opposition. I may be wrong about that, and they may just be wrong about economics but I find it difficult to see how their rhetoric is realistic whilst Greece has no power to issue currency.
The ECB can wait longer than the Greek people can.
Eric, very good summary of the Cataluña independence topic and its consequences. I agree completely. Besides all the remarks mentioned by you, it would be interesting to see what Soros thinks about the independence: http://www.opendemocracy.net/joan-subirats/catalonia-and-spain
This could be analyzed together with the Basque separatist movement. During years, from 1890 aprox, the Basque independence movement has been clearly supported by te British Empire. It is very interesting to see how one of the main founders of the PNV (Partido Nacionalista Vasco) had very strong connections to the British government. Sir Ramon de la Sota became one of the wealthiest men in Spain, thanks to mining, insurance and ship businesses he made with the British government as partner. It is not by chance that the Basque flag (ikurriña) is a copy of the Union Jack. Also important to know that BBC has NEVER spoken about ETA terrorists calling them terrorists, but separatists.
I am afraid that Cataluña topic is a similarly supported one. Funny to know that Foreign Office agent George Orwell´s “Homenaje a Cataluña” is a story that takes place in a different area of Spain, Aragón.
The result of these policies is that Spain has lost a huge part of the cohesion that most of the states have, or should have, which make us weaker in front of ECB, IMF, Goldman Sachs, etc…
I agree with your stand on Catalonia, as well as with Mario’s interesting comment.
As for the first comment, by Hansa, I would like to say that, while in agreement with its main content, it reproduces what is perhaps the core propaganda issue of secessionists: the notion that ‘they pay out more revenues than they take in’. What they do when they make this claim is compare the contribution of Catalan tax-payers with the amount of expenditure of the Spanish government in Catalonia. So, if Spain launches a satellite for its defence (including Catalonia’s, obviously) it doesn’t count. All the ships of the Navy don’t count. The hundreds of Embassies and Consulates around the world (which attend Catalan people and companies, as they do with any other Spaniard) don’t count. I could go on all day long…
The rational approach would be a general cost-benefit analysis, comparing the aggregate value of the Catalan contribution to Spain with the aggregate value of services (of all kind) provided by Spain. Secessionists carefully avoid this analysis, no wonder why.
Actually, the optimum approach would be a cost-benefit calculus of Catalan secession compared with the present status. What would be the costs, for instance, of establishing Catalan Embassies and Consulates all over the world? And even if Catalonia made a huge effort to establish them, would their interests be as well protected by a Catalan Ambassador as they are by a Spanish Ambassador? Just use common sense to respond. And what about the EU? How would Catalonia protect its interests with a handful of votes in the Council, a handful of representatives in the Parliament, and no Commissioners? Again, use common sense.
These are just a few examples. There are thousands. But no matter how many rational arguments you may offer, you will never reach the obscure mind of a jingoist.