2007 - 2021

Catalan Parliament to vote on UDI from Spain


(Note: the article below and the headline above have been tweaked since it was first posted earlier today …. see Comments).


Barcelona residents gave a lukewarm thumbs-up to the idea of full autonomy from Spain in an informal referendum organised by pro-independence activists on Sunday.

Just over 91 per cent said yes to the idea of full independence – however, the turnout was a modest 21.4 per cent in the city, which is the capital of Catalonia.

The two sentences above were The Scotsman’s full and comprehensive coverage of Catalonia’s consultative national referendum on independence, the final round of which was held in Barcelona on Sunday.

There is some interesting use of language in the above “article”. Note the careful insertion of “lukewarm” into the headline which suggests “move along, folks, nothing to see here.”  (The word “independence” must stick in their craw too much to include in the headline.)

Likewise the use of “just over 91%” translates in Scotsman-speak to “What kind of half-arsed result is that?  A full 9% voted against it.  Can’t be that popular if it got less than 100% endorsement, eh?”

The referendum, we’re told, was “informal”.  A pipe and slippers referendum, perhaps, mug of tea and broken hobnobs.  The sloppy Hootsmon report even reads like it was Barcelona rather than the country of Catalonia that wants “full autonomy from Spain”.

The report may not be deliberately misleading.  It’s possible that the filler piece was written by a young intern from the University of Google who couldn’t give a fuck either way.

Still, it doesn’t excuse the fact there is no in-depth commentary on this important story.  And no mention that this rolling referendum has been conducted in 530 municipalities over a period of eighteen months using a vast army of 50,000 self-organised volunteers.

There is no mention either that the Artur Mas, President of the Catalan Parliament, and leader of the CiU, took part in the vote and voted for Independence.  There is no mention either that, for the first time, the majority of MPs in the Catalan Parliament have indicated they support full independence from Spain.

And strangest of all there is no mention that TODAY the Catalan parliament are voting on a motion from one of the smaller pro-Independence parties (Catalan Solidarity for Independence) calling for a Unilateral Declaration of Independence*

While its highly unlikely the motion will get passed at this first attempt, that it’s even on the agenda gives an indication of how strong feelings are running.

What else did The Scotsman forget?  Oh, aye, any kind of analysis of why Catalonia wants to leave Spain. Or why the break up of Spain into smaller more democratic states has now gone past the point of return.  Plus the implications of all this for Scotland, and for other stateless nations in Europe.

While the Scottish media don’t want to inform the Scottish public about these important developments Bella Caledonia will continue to monitor events closely.  (For more information on the Catalan independence referendum see previous Bella article here by SNP observer, Grant Thoms).

*Article 2 of the Spanish Constitution, which is a legacy of the days of Francoist fascism and runs counter to the UN Charter on Rights of Nations To Self-Determination, explicitly forbids the break up of Spain whether through legal or parliamentary means. This fascistic clause has been interpreted by some in the Catalan Independence movement as meaning that Independence can only be achieved through declaring UDI through the Catalan Parliament then negotiating agreements with the international community.

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  1. Frankly says:

    There was, of course, never any possibility that the Solidaritat Catalana independence bill would be passed. Were the current governing party, Convergence and Union (CiU), a moderate right-of-centre coalition of devolutionists and independentists, to vote for the UDI bill today, it would probably fall apart tomorrow. Accordingly, as has been reported in the Catalan media since, as far as I am aware, yesterday evening, the CiU is to abstain and thus allow the bill to fall apart instead.

    In his inaugural address in December, President Mas, who voted in favour of independence in the unofficial symbolic independence referendum in Barcelona last week, described himself as not a revolutionary but a builder of Catalonia. This means staying in office for longer than three months. As he has just stated in the Catalan Parliament’s equivalent of FMQs, he is in government for four years.

    The Catalan Government will now apparently pursue a renegotiation of the fiscal relationship between Barcelona and Madrid, in accordance with CiU policy enunciated in the electoral campaign last year. If Madrid fails to respond satisfactorily, which is not unlikely in its present economic circumstances, the CiU should be in a position to rely on broad support across Catalan society to construct stronger opposition to the present constitutional arrangements and push Spain over the brink at an opportune moment, which the bond-market vigilantes may provide sooner rather than later. At present that opposition, impressive though it is, is insufficient, as the low level of participation in the unofficial independence referendums can be said to indicate.

    To govern is to choose.

    1. Levin says:

      F- yes, it wont go through at this stage but its fascinating times in Catalonia. Like here the process will take time, with ebbs and flows.

  2. John Ferguson says:

    Thanks for this very informative piece, sadly it show more the poor quality of journalism in this country than the success in Catalonia, then, what’s new. You can always tell a good UK journalist by how worn their knee pads are.

  3. N Conway says:

    A thanks from me also and have you checked out this blog from catalonia to caledonia I cant take the credit as its not mine

  4. bellacaledonia says:

    Thanks for feedback John.

    I’m going to amend the article and headline slightly as the information I originally got over-compressed the time for this Act – if passed -to go through the Catalan Parliament. It cant be decided tonight. (More’s the pity!)

    This blog post from the Catalonia Direct blog has more specific information about the Independence Act that comes before the Catalan Parliament today:

    “On April 13th an Independence Act is to be debated in Catalan Parliament. It is most unlikely to pass, but it is a propaganda victory for the independence movement in general, and for Catalan Solidarity for Independence (SI) in particular. The Act is not an outright declaration of independence from Spain, but a roadmap to do so in what is today the regional parliament.

    The Act states that Catalonia is a nation, to bound with the United Nations Charter and the principle of self-determination of peoples. The people of Catalonia is the only holder of a national sovereignty that is the foundation of the future sovereign and independent State of the Catalan nation. The decision to declare independence is attributed the people of Catalonia and the Parliament as its legitimate representative inside the regional Spanish framework. The Act defines a procedure: within three months from the adoption of the Act it is to be constituted the House of Representatives of the Catalan Nation, that will work so Independence is declared.

    Independence will be effective when the current procedural Act is approved; whenever it will be negotiated by the Catalan government with the international community the manner and timing of the declaration of independence; when is declared by a majority of deputies in a session of the Catalan Parliament convened for that purpose.

    The Act is very unlikely to pass because SI has 3 seats in a 135 chamber. Independentist MP and maverick Joan Laporta is also a sure Yes vote. Chances are of more Yes votes by some of the nationalist MPs of other groups, like the 62 of Convergence and Union (CiU) and the 10 of Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC). However, the Act may have unforeseeable consequences in Catalan and Spanish politics, By presenting the Act, the small SI group wins precious media coverage. The Act effectively dictates the whole political agenda. Nationalist groups like CiU, which have build a massive appeal in Catalonia on the defense of Catalan interests, with a notorious ambiguity and opportunism towards Spain, now are forced to define theirselves as Spanish unionists or Catalan independentists.

    It all will deppend on how much support it gathers among the more nationalist MPs of the other groups. Above all, the Independence Act adds momentum to the Catalan independence movement, after the massive demonstration of last summer in Barcelona and almost 900 hundred thousand Yes votes to independence, in the unofficial referendums held in Catalonia during the last months.”


  5. David MacGille-Mhuire says:

    Is the clock ticking for the faux nation-states and a “new” and historically genuine form of internationalism replacing the current chauvinistic, elitist order?

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