St Andrews University must defend Clara Ponsati

Practical solidarity now: St Andrews University must defend Catalan Professor Clara Ponsati argues Michael Gray.

The arrest of a politician for carrying out her democratic mandate is a serious attack on democratic and human rights. The arrest of an academic – someone whose freedom is vital to think, research, and publish – for politically activity is equally outrageous in a free society. It is, therefore, sickening that theses extremes meet in the seemingly imminent arrest of St Andrews University Professor and Catalan politician Clara Ponsati.

Clara was a minister in the Catalan Government, which held an independence referendum in October 2017. Despite Spanish police violence and the seizure of ballot boxes, over 2 million Catalans voted ‘Sí’. After a declaration of independence, Spain arrested Catalan politicians and Clara – alongside President Carles Puigdemont – was forced into exile.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued to Scottish prosecutors on Friday 23rd of March. Police Scotland have confirmed as of Sunday 25th March that she plans to hand herself into the police.

The Scottish courts and legal system are independent, but are required to enforce UK legislation. In this case, the relevant legislation is the Extradition Act 2003. The matter of extradition is reserved to Westminster.

Political campaigners in Scotland, enraged at the prospect of Scotland complying with political imprisonment, have called for non-compliance with the warrant. But Nicola Sturgeon has stated that ministers have “no powers to intervene” in the judicial process.

Tonight (25th March) pro-democracy campaigners organised by the Assemblea Nacional Catalana a Escòcia will gather in front of Glasgow’s German Honorary Consulate to demand the immediate release of Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who has been arrested in Germany.

In the case of Clara Ponsati, one further route of practical solidarity should concern the position of her employer – the University of St Andrews. On the 11th March the university said it was “delighted that [Clara] has returned to her research work at St Andrews”.

St Andrews, Scotland’s oldest university founded in the early 15th century, is regarded as one of the world’s top universities. It’s status is protected in law, and it is also required by law to protect academic freedom.

Now one of its professors faces arrest, possible extradition, and then possible imprisonment on political charges. The Scottish Government’s hands may be tied by the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary – but Clara’s employer is not and has a legal duty of care for her wellbeing.

I have contacted the Principal of the university – Professor Sally Mapstone – requesting that she stands by Professor Ponsati, and if desirable makes representations in her defence before any court of law. You can do so too.

Scotland’s public life, for as long as it has existed, has been shaped by the independence of its legal system and universities. In 1984 the late Stephen Maxwell wrote that Scottish Universities “have enjoyed the privileges of their established status while disowning the responsibility for the political, economic or social health of the national community in which they live.”

I hope, for the sake of Clara Ponsati and the values that this confrontation now represents, that our national life is not found wanting this time.

Comments (77)

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  1. Michael Gray says:

    My message to St Andrew Principal Professor Sally Mapstone requesting that they support their employee Professor Ponsati & stand by her in court, if necessary. You can do so too: principal@st-andrews.ac.uk

    ‘Dear Professor Mapstone,

    I contact you with deep concerns for the position of your staff member Professor Clara Ponsati.

    Police Scotland have stated that she plans to hand herself into police following a European Arrest Warrant made to Scottish prosecutors by the Spanish Government. These charges are politically motivated and threaten the freedom and wellbeing of one of your staff.

    On the 11th March the university said it was “delighted that [Clara] has returned to her research work at St Andrews”.

    In the interests of the university’s duty of care to its employees, the principle of defending academic freedom, and protecting wider democratic and human rights, I request that the university issues a statement fully in support of Professor Ponsati and offers all possible support to protect her freedom through any legal process.

    Best,’

    1. Michael Gray says:

      Since this article was published, the campaign ‘St Andrews Students in Support of Clara Ponsati’ has been set up: https://www.facebook.com/StASupportClaraPonsati/

      Students, staff, alumni, and wider Scottish society are organising for the University to support its Professor.

      1. MIchael Gray says:

        Update:

        A positive statement from St Andrews Principal Professor Sally Mapstone:

        “Clara is a valued colleague and we are committed to protect and support her.

        As her employer and an institution committed to the defence of free speech, we are deeply concerned by recent developments, their motives and potential consequences.

        In the current circumstances, we believe there are legitimate arguments that Clara is being targeted for standing up for her political beliefs.

        That is anathema to us, and we will continue to offer her every appropriate support, while respecting due legal process.”

        Link: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/archive/2018/clara-ponsati/

  2. crantara says:

    Won’t happen. Ali Ansari, a co founder of the colonialist “These Islands” and Colin Kidd History Professor and Advisory Council member are both embedded in St Andrews Uni. Ansari is due to give a talk at the equally colonialist Scotland in Union. A look at the These Islands Advisory Council is a surprise. So many Southern academics and colonialists who think our country needs to told how its future should be determined. No surprise that Brian Wilson, Hague and David Bell are among the internal colonialists on the board. They call it a council of “wise heads”.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Yes, I fear Michael is wasting his time pleading to St. Andrews University of all places. As those of us who were active in Academics for Yes in 2014 know to our cost there is no such thing as academic freedom in Scotland’s universities, all of which are well controlled by a unionist colonial cabal and its royal societies.

  3. Redgauntlet says:

    Tots amb Clara….!!!!

  4. John Payne says:

    I am not a supporter of Catalan independence but it is disgraceful the way that the corrupt PopularParty government in Madrid is using the courts to create chaos in Catalonia. every democrat in Europe should be pressing their own government, the EU and UN to intervene. And we must all get behind Prof Ponsati to prevent her extradition. Visca Catalunya! LIberty for all political prisoners.

    1. Antonia Massanet-Bartlett says:

      Dear Mr Payne

      I read all the messages of support for this individual with astonishment. I, my husband and our three children live in scotland and have had to do so because we are from Mallorca and our default language is spanish. We were told that unless we stopped speaking spanish in spain and spoke Catalan (a language which we have never spoken) we had no place in Mallorca. This woman is one of the architects of an education system which persecuted my children for being spanish. I left my home because of her and people like her in catalonia. It is scary and disorientating to feel that the place you have known your whole life is not recognisable because of aggressive dictatorial nationalists like the separatists in catalonia. If you wish to fight for victims of oppression, I can send you a picture of our family whom are all exiled here because of people like this “education minister”. If you would like to know what it is really like to live in catalonia, I would be happy to give you details of what life was like for us, unlike this woman’s propaganda.

      1. James Scott says:

        Please do not confine this process to private correspondence and please do inform us all here of the full details of your enforced linguistic exile. Which I for take with a pinch of salt. A considerable one at that.

        As part of this, please acknowledge the error in your posting to the effect:

        “This woman is one of the architects of an education system which persecuted my children for being spanish…”

        given that she was very very briefly briefly Minister of Education in Catalonia. Which does not cover the Balearic Islands.

        And also for the rhetorical exaggeration involved in the choice of language in the quote.

        1. Redgauntlet says:

          Exactly, James.

          The idea that Spaniards living in Catalonia are deprived of their linguistic rights is a load of total horse. You know, the media, maybe 90% of it is in Spanish. The Catalans, besides, move between the two languages with ease…

          But then you get people like Antonia, who are so completely indifferent / oblivious to the rest of humankind, that THE MERE IDEA of maybe having to learn another language, TERRIFIES THEM…they take it as a personal insult that the Catalans, yes, speak Catalan…

          I wonder who that reminds me of…

          1. ben madigan says:

            my son went on an Erasmus scholarship to the Univ of barcelona, which provided Spanish lessons for the erasmus students. Although most lectures were in Spanish, 1 lecturer in particular spoke only in catalan and set his exam paper in catalan. My son wrote his answers in Spanish – reasoning that in the time-span of his scholarship he could only learn 1 foreign language and that the Uni had provided only lessons in Spanish.he passed well.

        2. Jamsie says:

          Perhaps you owe this lady an apology.
          The Balearics have always been Catalan.
          In fact the Balearics only became an autonomous region of Spain in the early 1980s and was actually confirmed as such in law in 2006 or 2007.
          At the time of becoming autonomous Catalan became an official language of the Balearics alongside Spanish as a sop to the Catalans during the changeover to the new regional status.
          Furthermore Civil Servants in the Balearics since the mid 80s have been required to be fluent in Catalan as well as Spanish.
          The tensions between Catalan and Spanish on the island have long been a feature of the ongoing disparate between the ethnic groups.

          1. James Scott says:

            “The Balearics have always been Catalan.”

            I’ll drink to that.

            “In fact the Balearics only became an autonomous region of Spain in the early 1980s and was actually confirmed as such in law in 2006 or 2007.”

            My version of Wiki quotes 1983 i.e. the tail end of the autonomy-splurge in Spain for the first element above (though why you use the modifier “only” I do not know since the whole autonomy -splurge took place in the period 1979-83; based on the Constitution of 1978.)

            I do not understand the second time reference above to earlier this century.

            “At the time of becoming autonomous Catalan became an official language of the Balearics alongside Spanish as a sop to the Catalans during the changeover to the new regional status”

            Please refer to the first quote above. Originally written by….

            “Furthermore Civil Servants in the Balearics since the mid 80s have been required to be fluent in Catalan as well as Spanish.”

            That obviously depends on the definition of the word fluent. Though I accept, in broad terms, the main point about it being a requirement to have a pass mark in a specified Catalan exam.

          2. Jamsie says:

            James
            I was a frequent visitor to the islands in the 80s and made a few friends amongst people who lived on the islands.
            Ex pats, Spaniards of mainland descent, Catalans from the mainland and second and third generation islanders.
            I became acquainted with a few politicians and officials who explained the conflicting interests amongst the people.
            My second reference was a law (I think) passed around 2006 which made the Balearics autonomous as against what happened in the 80s.
            Don’t really know the details just that it happened.
            Perhaps I will look up in Wiki although it has never been one of my favoured sources.

        3. Antonia Massanet-Bartlett says:

          You are obviously an anti-english separatist. She is obviously anti-spanish separatist. You are what you are. There is no point in continuing this conversation.

      2. Robin Gill says:

        That doesn’t make any sense. Politically, Majorca would be governed by the Government of the Balearic Islands in Palma, so if you have any qualms with linguistic policy in Majorca one would take it up with the government of the Balearics and not with the Government of Catalonia in Barcelona, which is a completely separate institution. I have lived in Catalonia for 25 years. I have a daughter who has been through the state education system and functions perfectly in Catalan, Spanish and English. What I have witnessed over the last ten years is an intense recentralisation campaign by the Spanish government, which is also aimed at education in Catalonia to “españolizar a los niños Catalanes” (Hispanicising Catalan children) as the PP ex-minister Wert once famously advocated in the Spanish parliament.

        As I see it the current wave of arrests of pro-independence politicians and civil organisations is aimed at the politcal destruction of pro-independence interests. I do not think Ponsati or any other Catalan politician remanded in custody at the moment will receive a fair trial as the charges against them are competely absurd.

        1. Redgauntlet says:

          Exactly Robin.

          “Españolizar a los Catalanes”, a total non-sequitur if ever there was one given the Catalans are ALSO Spanish…. he meant, of course, “Castellanizar a los Catalanes…”

          Wert now holds a diplomatic post in the Spanish embassy in Paris. He doesn’t even speak French.

          Just like Trillo, named ambassador in London for the UK, with no knowledge whatsoever of English…

          They are totally UNBELIEVABLE bastards of civilization, the Spanish right-wing…

          And now we’ve got Easter Week coming up, when guys like Trillo, Wert, Rato and Aznar go out and publicly flog themselves in the streets of Madrid to atone for all the PUBLIC MONEY they have stolen from the good people of Spain.

          It’s fckin unbelievable…

          1. Alf Baird says:

            And we have the Anglicisation of the Scots. Language is a gey powerful tool and the basis of our culture. Yet none of the many thousands of civil servants sent by Whitehall to ‘run’ Scotland over the last 100+ years or professionals invited to lead and manage our institutions ever bothered to learn Scots. Today over half of all teachers in several regions of Scotland are English, and none of them need to learn Scots either. Aspiring Scots have always had to replace their Scots tongue with English in order to get on in life, i.e. in order not to be discriminated against. Language is a forceful cultural weapon used to assimilate peoples. Is it any wonder many people in Scotland vote against their own independence? This is why we have never had a Scots Language Act – it is too powerful a political and cultural weapon. If Scots fowk kent thay hid thair ain braw langage, thay’d shuirly want thair ain naition bak an aw, swith lyke tae.

      3. Jaume Barcelo says:

        As someone living in Mallorca I must say that the comment by Antonia is a bunch of lies.

        The truth is that those speaking Catalan have some advantage when competing for work positions offered by the local administration. I know this very well as I have worked as a teacher this course despite the fact I didn’t have any certificate in Catalan. Today I have been confirmed that I passed the C1 Catalan certification which I know will be helpful if I continue working as a teacher.

      4. Craig P says:

        Congratulations on learning English though, to fit in with the UK.

  5. Alf Baird says:

    “In 1984 the late Stephen Maxwell wrote that Scottish Universities “have enjoyed the privileges of their established status while disowning the responsibility for the political, economic or social health of the national community in which they live.”

    So true, and well worth repeating.

  6. John O'Dowd says:

    I fear Crantara and Alf Baird are absolutely correct. St Andrews University is no longer a Scottish Institution – and is among the most right wing reactionary organisations in an increasingly right wing reactionary UK.

    Tonight I have written in protest to the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh protesting against this action in the strongest possible terms at this reversion to Spain’s Fascist past, and informing them that I have cancelled a planned holiday in Spain this spring.

    I have also indicated that I will no longer purchase Spanish goods or produce.

    The email address of the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh is:

    cog.edimburgo@maec.es

    I doubt whether such actions, even by many thousands of us, will have any great effect – Fascists are always and for ever beyond reason. But I believe it is important to take a stand against all such vile regimes wherever and whenever they emerge from the depths.

    The Fascists are on the march, and I fear Spain will not be the last.

    1. I completely agree about the make-up and structure of St A University – but still think there is some benefit in exposing the reality of this and of opening another from to solidarity for Clara Ponsati.

      1. John O'Dowd says:

        Yes, I’ve written to Professor Mapstone too.

        1. John O'Dowd says:

          I received very promptly the following response:

          Dear John,

          Clara is a valued colleague and we are committed to protect and support her.
          As her employer and an institution committed to the defence of free speech, we are deeply concerned by recent developments, their motives and potential consequences.
          In the current circumstances, we believe there are legitimate arguments that Clara is being targeted for standing up for her political beliefs.
          That is anathema to us, and we will continue to offer her every appropriate support, while respecting due legal process.

          All best wishes,
          Sally Mapstone

          Principal and Vice-Chancellor,
          University of St Andrews

          It’s a fine and appropriate response, for which I am grateful. The only problem with it is: “we will continue to offer her every appropriate support, while respecting due legal process.”

          Due legal process in Spain is clearly corrupt and in the hands of its fascist Franco-ist government; what will be tested is whether the Scottish legal system will fall into line with this abuse of the European warrant. If so, we are all shamed.

    2. ROBIN GILL says:

      I wouldn’t cancel your holiday. Spain’s ghosts of Francoism are appearing again, true, but I wouldn’t cancel your holiday. There were (and are) plenty of republicans in Spain too. It’s only by talking to people and establishing contacts that we can counter this upsurgence of fascism that seems to be happening all over.

  7. Crubag says:

    I’d agree there should be no case to answer, but it is misleading, even if unintentional, to frame this as only relating to UK legislation.

    The UK Act is only transposing a European Union framework decision (equivalent to a directive) on European Arrest Warrants. A UK or iScotland inside the EU would be bound by these provisions.

    For a UK or iScotland outside the EU, there will need to be a fine calculation as to the benefits of apprehending suspects or criminals balanced with the risk of extradition to what we regard as unfair justice systems.

    1. Jamsie says:

      You forgot to mention that Scotland is part of the UK and the matter is reserved to the Home Office.
      And that we are obliged as members of the EU to comply.
      Spanish justice obviously complies with the EU dictats on human rights therefore there should be no concerns about the lady being called to face a court and answer for her actions.
      These actions will only become crimes if she is convicted.
      And I am sure the ECJ will somehow be involved as matters develop.

      1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

        I am not sure that it is as clear as your unionist mindset would like. Scots Law might well have something to say in respect of the warrant against Ms Ponsati. What she is accused of is not a crime in Scotland.

        1. Jamsie says:

          Perhaps you should check your facts and possibly also take account of Mrs Sturgeon’s response.
          The charges made on the EAW will be criminal offences under Spanish and EU law hence would be considered the same under UK law.
          Scottish law has nothing whatsoever to do with this.
          And please note my mindset does not extend to judging the individual and whether I support the union or not is irrelevant.
          The entire matter is one that should be dealt with in Spain and nationalists here should trust their European Union colleagues who after all they want to remain part of to uphold justice.

          1. Jamsie says:

            http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/14639126.SNP_MSP_hails_influence_of_European_arrest_warrant/

            And just in case no one realised it….the SNP support and want to keep the EAW even after Brexit!

          2. Redgauntlet says:

            Why would any democrat trust the utterly corrupt government of Mariano Rajoy? Corrupt and vile thieving lowlife scum is what they are. Apologists for mass murder… utter scum…

            Who do you think it was who, personally, took apart the Catalan Home Rule Bill by taking it to a Constitutional Court packed full of Fascist judges? It was Mariano Rajoy. The Home Rule Bill has been voted for massively in Catalonia, passed by the Catalan parliament and passed in the national parliament in Madrid under Zapatero.

            Mariano Rajoy, that walking disgrace to European democracy, a blight on European democracy, a liar a psychopath and a total thief, this is all Rajoy’s doing….

            Are you aware that the Spanish Home Office actually launched a spy network to tap the phone calls of Puigdemont and the entire political Catalan class? Paid for with public funds?

            That RETARD FASCIST Fernandez Diaz, who was the Home Minister and actually believes that the Virgin Mary watches over the Guardia Civil, used public funds to launch a covert spying operation on Catalan politics…

            That never got to a Spanish court. Obviously. Because they are a network of vile fascists…

            This is a crisis for European democracy. I wonder when people in Scotland – irrespective of whether they are Unionists or not – will actually work that out…

            The PP are a bunch of recycled Franquistas. What reasonable justice can Puigdemont or Clara except to receive in that corrupt fascist backwater which is Spain?

    2. ROBIN GILL says:

      As far as I see it (I’m no legal buff), the police have to act on a warrant but there should be no extradition unless there are equivalent offences in Scotland and there are none. Is that correct? However, it’s shameful that the Spanish government should even be able to build a case in Scotland.

  8. Sara says:

    The referendum was ilegal and clearly manipulated by Ponsati’s group. She fled,she is not in exile, just back doing her 9-5 while some others of her team had the courage to face the music at home.

  9. Willie says:

    Let us be crystal clear here. The arrest warrant Ponsati is a politically inspired warrant.

    Ponsati was democratically elected, she is a European Citizen and she is being hounded by a state that is doing everything possible to restrict democratic expression.

    Without overstating the point, would our fabled legal system extradite a Jewish protestor to 1930s Germany or a Catalan nationalist to General Franco’s regime. Seems very much that it would and that our international obligations unreservedly require it.

    Well we did look away at the building of the gas chambers in the 1930s and we can do so again. I would however hope that between the court of public opinion and the firmament of legal luminaries that we say we have, that Scotland develops a line that will stand against politically motivated extradition.

    1. Jamsie says:

      But Willie….. this warrant has been issued by one of the sister members of the EU who you nationalists want so badly to remain part of or to rejoin with in the event that indy ever took place.
      Are you saying that they cannot be trusted?
      And so unfolds the contradictions of nationalism in Scotland ….eh?
      Fishing!!???
      European law!!???
      Thank Christ the chances of indy are very very very low.

  10. Redgauntlet says:

    A few things about Spain you should know, and probably don’t know:

    1) The Spanish State has never condemned Franco’s coup against the democratic government of the II Republic on the 18th of July 1936. This motion has been put forward on several occasions in the Spanish parliament, but it has always been voted against by Mariano Rajoy’s quasi Fascist PP. The Civil War led to the loss of approximately 800,000 lives.

    2) Just half an hour from where I live in Madrid, lies the biggest mass grave in the whole of Europe. It is called the “Valley of the Fallen” and is basically a mausoleum to the dictator Franco. Spanish “justice” has mustered enough courage to actually force the fanatical catholic priests, who have a convent there, to open the mass graves, after the legal actions of a family who wanted to reclaim the remains of their loved ones.

    There are 33,832 people buried there – though to say they are buried would be a vast exaggeration. They are all lumped there with no order and no respect in a chaos of decayed corpses. Which the Spanish tax payer pays for.

    The vast majority are Republican prisoners of war who were worked to death building their own tomb. Though, bizarrely enough, Franco also ordered some notable fascists like the failed poet Primo de Rivera, who was executed by the Republicans in Alicante, to be buried there. Though he, of course, is on the top floor.

    3) The Spanish national archive is largely inaccessible to worthy Spanish historians like Angel Viñas. Most of what we know about the – completely farcical – “Spanish transition to democracy” has been resourced from the national archives of countries like Germany and France. We know, therefore, that with Tejero’s failed fascist coup attempt in 1981, that the then Spanish King, Juan Carlos de Borbón, described the fascist coup plotters as “wanting what we all want”….

    4) As Paul Preston – who suffered a nervous crisis in researching his indispensable THE SPANISH HOLOCAUST – Franco’s African Army carried out a genocidal campaign against all Republicans and anybody related to the Republicans, which included the mass rape of Republican women, or liberated women on the road to Madrid. That such atrocious acts of barbarity has never been condemned by the Spanish State, is absolutely appalling.

    People like Clara Campoamor whose tremendous life story should be of interest to any Scottish feminists out there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Campoamor

    5) The last President of a “Catalan Republic” was called Lluis Companys. He fled Barcelona in 1939 when the Fascist hordes were at the gates. He was later detained in Paris by the Gestapo, transferred to Madrid, where he was brutally tortured in the Puerta del Sol, before being transferred to Barcelona, where he was executed at Montjuic, which is like torturing a Scotsman in London and executing him at Edinburgh Castle. The added humiliation.

    During the various months in which Companys was in fascist detention, he was not allowed to change his clothes even once…

    6) The Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy, and in fact the whole Spanish State, is an affront to European democracy. And the ludicrous actions of the vile, abject, corrupt and loathsome Spanish State must be condemned sternly and strongly by all European democrats who care for human rights. The Spanish establishment are a bunch of dangerous fascists.

    7) Franco, just before he died, after naming the former Juan Carlos de Borbón as his successor, declared that he has left Spain “atado y bien atado”. Tied up, and well tied up.

    As we are seeing these days, with Clara Ponsati, with Puigdemont, and with at least half of the Catalan political establishment…

    1. maria says:

      I would appreciate if you could stop your independist propaganda and stop insulting the Spanish people and the more than 50% of Catalan anti-independists who want to remain being Spanierds. Stop comparing or calling these people “franquists” when most of them despise what represents Franco. Stop using the darkest chapter of Spanish history to justify the Catalan independist cause- Franco died in 1975 and the independists are the only ones obsessed with him, when thanks to Franco, Catalunya was able to enjoy of industrial wealth, not like other regions of Spain. You forgot to mention how Company’s murdered more 8,129 Catalans and created concentration camps. We are tired of your lies and your hatred towards Spain. The independists have caused political, economical and social chaos- destroyed families and frienships. Why don’t you start by telling the truth about the Catalan crisis- this is not a problem between Spain and Catalunya but a problem between Catalans- those who want to remain Spanierds and those who want independence- the latter at the expense of breaching the law and the Spanish Constitution and by harassing, intimidating and stigmatising those who don’t share their idiology. Tell the truth about how the Catalan government in conjunction with their local police had been premeditaly planning this process for the last 5 years- including the spying of constitutionalists polititians. Scotland is not aware of the full facts of what these people have done and had they know them, they would see you and those who think like you for what you are-liars.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Dear Maria

        I am not a supporter of Catalan independence – I think it is a very bad idea, bad for Spain, bad for Catalonia, bad for Europe. I am a supporter of democracy and human rights.

        Do you seriously believe that Rajoy and the PP government are anything other than recycled Francoists? If they were democrats, they would not allocate ZERO PESETAS in their budget to Zapatero’s Law of Historical Memory which provides some provision for families to reclaim the remains of their loved ones from the numerous mass graves which litter Spain, as well as the removal of Francoist names and symbols from public buildings and streets.

        They would not oppose, time and again, an explicit condemnation of Franco’s homicidal coup of 1936 in the Spanish Parliament. As it is, Rajoy won’t call Francoism a “dictatorship”. He calls it an “authoritarian regime”.

        If Rajoy was a democrat, he would have resigned at the first sign of the biggest corruption scandal in Spanish political history, the Gurtel scandal which finances his political party and links up numerous rich Spanish families with the governing party of the nation; a corruption scandal on an epic scale which is being conveniently forgotten thanks to the Catalan situation…

        Rajoy would have resigned, because for a democrat, the most important thing is the dignity and honour of the office you hold. Not the person who holds the office, but the office itself is what is important…

        It’s an honour to hold office in Scottish public life. That idea never reached Spain.

        And you are right about the allegations of the Catalan nationalists also setting up their own spy network against those who prefer to remain part of Spain.

        What does that say about Spanish democracy, Maria? Both the Catalan State and the Spanish State were using public money to spy on each other… which is illegal.

        The Scots have a lot to learn about how to live life from Spain – the Spaniards live much longer than the Scots. And the Spaniards have a lot to learn about democracy from the Scots.

        Maybe we could do an “intercambio”?

        1. maria says:

          Dear Sir,

          I am not going to repeat myself and I am disappointed to note that you have made up assumptions about my political opinions without me having said anything about Rajoy and Co. I am not a PP voter and I do not trust any politician, and as a human rights and democratic person you believe yourself you are, I am very surprised that you have ignored the human and democratic rights of more than 50% of Catalans. The level of harassment and social stigmatisation that all these people have lived at the hands of independists for the last 20 years has no precedent. This is nothing to do with Rajo sir, this Catalan government has chosen very carefully this moment of PP scandals in order to publicise their cause internationally. You seem to omit very conveniently the scandals of Pujol- a former Catalan president (for 29 years) who is also currently investigated for tax evasion, bribery, money laundering and public corruption- one of the biggest scandals of all time; or the famous Convergencia y Unio’s ADIGSA case which set up illegal funding systems via illegal commissions of 3% on public projects; or the millions and millions of euros used for the creation of Catalan diplomatic houses abroad to spread the independentist Catalan cause abroad when people in Catalunya are struggling (e.g. hospital’s waiting lists for urgent operations, social programs stopped) because of the debt generated by the Catalan government in the last 10 years. As to Franco let me tell you my personal story- my grandmother did not have any political affiliations when the Civil War took place and when the Republicans came to her village to kill Franco supporters, my grandmother was killed in the street when she was on her way to alert a neighbour with whom she did not have any friendship. My father and her brother and sister became orphans (my father was 8 years old) and was separated from his siblings. When we asked my father why he never talked about the Civil War or expressed any hatred against the Republicans despite having reasons for that, he always said the same: “we should learn from our mistakes in history. The past is in the past and using the past to cause division among Spanierds in the present is just wrong”.

      2. James Scott says:

        “(a) Franco died in 1975 and the independists are the only ones obsessed with him, when (b) thanks to Franco, Catalunya was able to enjoy of industrial wealth, not like other regions of Spain. ”

        The 2 elements of the above merit individual consideration:

        (a) [i] On 26th March 2018, El Generalísimo’s granddaughter Doña Carmen Martínez- Bordiú had published in the Spanish equivalent of the London Gazette her petition to the Spanish government, under the provisions of the 1978 Spanish Constitution, to inherit the title of “Duquesa DE FRANCO” following the recent death of her mother, Franco’s only daughter.

        Can anyone reading these boards imagine a similar request from Hitler’s granddaughter ?

        To succeed Hitler’s daughter as Herzogin VON HITLER !

        [ii]Fully six (6) days earlier, MPs in the lower house of the Spanish Parliament decisively rejected an attempt to amend the 1977 Amnesty Law which, obviously, predates the current constitution and as such might readily be described as a Francoist law.

        The rejected amendment would have added extra words to the existing law stating:

        [Provisions of the existing law] “will in no way inhibit either courts or judges from investigating, judging and punishing appropriately those responsible for the crime of genocide, of crimes against humanity, of war crimes and of other grave infringement of human rights.”(*)

        So that the insouciant lack of concern for the doings of Herr Franco and contempt for international law with its ius cogens in this area is not confined to one correspondent on an obscure Scottish blog but rather is, at the time of posting, the considered shared current democratic consensus of Spain; well certainly of PP (the unofficial anti-Catalan party) , of Ciudadanos/ Ciutadans (the official anti-Catalan party) and, lest it be forgotten, of PSOE/PSC (only legitimate heirs of Mr X and now the champions of a new federal Spain; after the last Catalan nationalist has been jailed, that is.)

        (b) Someone has the gall to characterise post civil war Catalonia as having been “the apple of Herr Franco’s eye.” A favourite of the bloody dictator; meriting an undeserved measure of indulgence. Akin to that which he bestowed upon his only child Carmencita “nuneca” Franco, aka much later in life as Duquesa DE FRANCO

        Let the doyen of Catalan historians, Professor Josep María Solé i Sabaté, writing in the prologue to his book Revolució i Esperança (2001; Ara llibres, Barcelona) speak:

        “Catalonia lost the Civil War, everyone there without exception lost it, even including those who joined up with the victors, and, mistakenly, believed that they were amongst the winners. The enforced surrender of its own structures, of its language, of its culture, of its traditions, of its customs; the complete rupture in the fields of social, economic and political continuity, the rupture of the succession of a new generation which was instead supplanted by outside elements of occupation…, all told amounted to the wholesale defeat of the country. Everybody in Catalonia lost the Civil War”

        Yet apparently contrary to the conclusions of this ignorant professor, in reality, Franco had undertaken a bloody military coup d’état against the elected government, with the help of Hitler and Mussolini which resulted in a 3 year war of attrition causing at very least 250 000 deaths followed by more than a decade of merciless executions which butchered almost as many again specifically in order to build a Seat factory in Martorell, to build a refinery and a chemical complex in Tarragona and to attract hordes of nubile Swedish girls to the Costa Brava, thereby enriching lazy Catalans to the detriment of hard working Spaniards elsewhere.

        Shame on you.

        (*) “no impedirán que los juzgados y tribunales investiguen, enjuicien e impongan las penas correspondientes a las personas responsables de haber cometido delito de genocidio, lesa humanidad, delitos de guerra y otras graves violaciones de Derechos Humanos”

        1. maria says:

          Shame on me, for what? For looking to the present and the future and not the past? I am sorry to say this but your comments proved my point that people like you and the Catalan independists use Franco as rhetoric to portray Spain as an oppressive country. I repeat it to you once more, Franco died long time ago and not because many of us want to forget that horrible chapter of our history means that we defend Franco, we want to move forward. The Amnesty Law was approved in 1977 by full majority and included the approval of Catalan nationalists but you prefer to omit this fact in your comment. You seem to keep quiet about Company’s murdered actions at your convenience- another disgrace to Spanish history. That Franco facilitated the growth of Catalunya is a fact and in addition to the automobile industry (SEAT) and the chemical industries (Petroquimica), he also signed a Decree establishing Barcelona and Valencia as the only Spanish cities able to convene international exhibitions (fairs) in 1943. As to Franco’s granddaughter request for an aristocratic title, I found it outrageous but you seem to imply that the Spanish people approves of her actions, when it is not true. My question again to you now is what has to do Franco with the current Catalan situation sir and why you do not seem to be so knowledgeable about the premeditated actions of the Catalan government to the latest crisis?. What do you have to say to the fact that Puigdemont was previously warned by it is own local police about the possibility of violence if the illegal 1/10 referendum would have taken place?. What do you have to say about the fact that the Catalan government in conjunction with the Catalan local police, actively failed to assist the Spanish National police and GC on that day with the sole purpose of procuring police violence (as they were outnumbered) and gain international notoriety? What do you have to say to the persistent intimidation and harassment experience by the unionists at the hands of independists for the last 10 years or the fact that parents’ choices of teaching their children in school in Spanish more (rather than 2 hours week) are ignored?. Nothing I suppose, it is more convenient for you to refer to Franco.

          1. James Scott says:

            Shame on me, for what? For looking to the present and the future and not the past?

            Shame on you for the calumny in your earlier post that Franco favoured Catalonia. And for repeating it here. Whilst cavalierly ignoring the objective evidence to the contrary I presented from the mouth of Professor Solé i Sabaté.

            I am sorry to say this but your comments proved my point that people like you and the Catalan independists use Franco as rhetoric to portray Spain as an oppressive country.

            Nobody needs to do that when they see the evidence of their own eyes on tv screens the world over of Spanish riot police attacking defenceless voters; not protestors or rioters. Voters. Exactly 6 months ago today.

            (On Sky tv, Spanish Foreign Minister Dastís had no answer to offer; though later he implied the film had been manipulated. “But we filmed it ourselves” was the reply rom the Sky correspondent.)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9hAgn0todA

            Sadly no such reply was provided by the France24 host who asked the same Spanish Minister if it was true that “Spanish cannot be learned in Catalan state schools, not even as a foreign language?” “Quite true” replied the minister in question; lying through his teeth.

            I repeat it to you once more, Franco died long time ago and not because many of us want to forget that horrible chapter of our history means that we defend Franco, we want to move forward.

            Given how horrible (sic) this chapter was, it seems amazing that his granddaughter should be on the cusp of being confirmed as Duquesa DE FRANCO. In full accord with the provisions of the much vaunted 1978 Constitution.Hardly a corroboration of the status of Spain as a modern progressive EU democracy, I would assert.Or that the man who was, till about 18 months ago speaker of the lower house of the Spanish Parliament should have seen fit to attend thge funeral mass for Carmencita Franco. Can anyone reading this imagine Herr Wolfgang Schaeuble attending the funeral of Hitler’s daughter?

            Even to posit the question is to insult Germany’s hard won democracy and all German democrats !

            (In addition, if you move forward with your eyes tight shut about where you are (and your mind even more firmly shut as to how you got there) the likelihood of a successful advance is slim indeed.)
            The Amnesty Law was approved in 1977 by full majority and included the approval of Catalan nationalists but you prefer to omit this fact in your comment.

            Somewhat amguously I affirmed that this law could be considered “Francoist”. Why? Although it was indeed passed by the newly elected Cortes, it was in the twilight political zone when democracy was by no means assured, anything but in fact, and when even the clearly inadequate 1978 Constitution was not yet in force. Not to put too fine a point on it, the army certainly was not going to let anyone in the Cortes take it into their head that the augean stables of Franco’s 40 years of terror were going to be investigated.

            You seem to keep quiet about Company’s murdered actions at your convenience- another disgrace to Spanish history.
            I made no reference whatsoever to the period you allude to as it had not been raised. The rôle of the “Comitès” and indeed the abject capitulation of Companys to them, when armed members of the CNT took over the Palau de la Generalitat is indeed shameful. However, to his credit, Companys and his ministers were able to restore, within a country where a civil war raged, some very considerable semblance of constitutional authority after about 12 months with the death of roughly 10 000 people by then a fait accopli.

            Whereas Herr Franco launched a military coup d’état against the elected governement, lead ing to the death of roughly 250 000 people at absolute minimum and then sadistically butchered the best part of 200 000 more at his leisure over the next 10-15 years. Yet the only adjective you can find for this mass carnage is “horrible.”

            It would appear from this that you have taken to heart the British penchant for understatement. Gross understatement at that
            That Franco facilitated the growth of Catalunya is a fact and in addition to the automobile industry (SEAT) and the chemical industries (Petroquimica), he also signed a Decree establishing Barcelona and Valencia as the only Spanish cities able to convene international exhibitions (fairs) in 1943.

            There you go again….

            As to Franco’s granddaughter request for an aristocratic title, I found it outrageous but you seem to imply that the Spanish people approves of her actions, when it is not true.

            Please provide chapter and verse for this, to my eyes, clearly non-existent opposition.

            Please also apologise when, shortly, the BOE (= the London Gazette) published the nomination of the granddaughter of the bloody Spanish dictator Francisco Franco Bahamonde as “Duquesa DE FRANCO” in full accord with the 1978 Spanish Constution.

            My question again to you now is what has to do Franco with the current Catalan situation sir and
            If you are still unaware of the malign corrosive influence which the Franco family and the Francoist dictatorship still contnues to exert on Spanish society and on Spanish democracy , then I doubt that any further evidence I might provide will help you in your apparently willful ignorance.
            why you do not seem to be so knowledgeable about the premeditated actions of the Catalan government to the latest crisis?.
            Rhetoric.
            What do you have to say to the fact that Puigdemont was previously warned by it is own local police about the possibility of violence if the illegal 1/10 referendum would have taken place?.
            Are you saying that the Catalan police warned Puigdemont that the 3 shiploads of Spanish riot police which had been sitting in Barcelona and Tarragona harbours for the best part of 6 weeks were intent on attacking innocent voters? But everyone knew that!

            Why a very very small selection of the Spanish tv stations and media had shown film of these self same police officers leaving their barracks elsewhere in Spain egged on by crowds to cries of “A por ellos” which might reaqsonably be translated as “Stick it to them”?

            Which the wholly peaceful and oppressively victimised Spanish police officers in the first video can clearly be heard singing.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE0EMaKoAio

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA1Sw-szU6w
            Yet to date the Spanish Interior Minister has not merely failed to investigate this disgraceful conduct but he continues to hail these far from impartial servants of public order as “heroes”
            What do you have to say about the fact that the Catalan government in conjunction with the Catalan local police, actively failed to assist the Spanish National police and GC on that day with the sole purpose of procuring police violence (as they were outnumbered) and gain international notoriety?

            i) See 2 pervious videos.
            ii) I get it, the voters hit their heads off the police truncheons to get a day off work next day after they visited the A&E department
            iii) See previous comments about lies by Foreign Minister on French tv.

            What do you have to say to the persistent intimidation and harassment experience by the unionists at the hands of independists for the last 10 years
            Fantasy.
            or the fact that parents’ choices of teaching their children in school in Spanish more (rather than 2 hours week) are ignored?.
            Fantasy.
            And lies.
            Ignorant lies to boot wholly lacking in any factual basis whatsoever. (See previous reply about French tv too here.).
            Nothing I suppose, it is more convenient for you to refer to Franco.

            Certainly Franco’s régime was based on lies. And the current Spanish government seems well versed in them too. As for instance when almost exactly 12 months ago PM Rajoy came to barcelona and promised “to invest 1 billion euro per annum over the coming 4 years”

            And the result of the first 12 months of this programme? According to the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce: Zilch. Central government spending remains at previous levels and Rajoy’s promises aren’t worth a row of beans.

            Now there’s a surprise ?

          2. MBC says:

            Maria, maybe you could enlighten us about ‘the [unprecedented] level of harassment and social stigmatisation’ Spaniards have received at the hands of Catalans in Catalonia over the last 20 years?

            Does it include arrest and imprisonment?

        2. Maria says:

          To the attention of James Scott to his latest reply to my last post which I could not reply.

          “Shame on you for the calumny in your earlier post that Franco favoured Catalonia. And for repeating it here. Whilst cavalierly ignoring the objective evidence to the contrary I presented from the mouth of Professor Solé i Sabaté.”

          Calumny? Do not make me laugh… So it seems that whatever Professor Sabate says you take it as true and the rest of Spanish historians as those lying… wasn’t Sabate member of the Fundacion Acta, an ideological laboratory of Catalan nationalism and the one who was also named director of the Museum of Catalan History back in 1996 whose role was heavily criticised in Parlament because of his lack of dedication and effective management of the museum as he was also working at the same time in a political radio programme?.

          I am sorry to say this but your comments proved my point that people like you and the Catalan independists use Franco as rhetoric to portray Spain as an oppressive country.

          “Nobody needs to do that when they see the evidence of their own eyes on tv screens the world over of Spanish riot police attacking defenceless voters; not protestors or rioters. Voters. Exactly 6 months ago today.”

          You should have seen the violent attacks of the Catalan police officers (the Mossos) of defenceless anti-austerity protesters in May 2011 following instructions of the Catalan government, facts that the Catalan government prefers not to recall very conveniently. It seems that they did not have any issues with those attacks… a bit of double standards there, do not you think?.

          “Sadly no such reply was provided by the France24 host who asked the same Spanish Minister if it was true that “Spanish cannot be learned in Catalan state schools, not even as a foreign language?” “Quite true” replied the minister in question; lying through his teeth.”

          There have been thousands of cases of parents that had to go to Court to request 25% of their children’s classes in Spanish and because the Tribunals sentenced in their favour, these parents and their children suffered social marginalisation from the school and other parents and were forced to move their children into private schools. So the one lying through his teeth it seems that it is you. See https://www.elespanol.com/espana/20160424/119738178_0.html

          “Given how horrible (sic) this chapter was, it seems amazing that his granddaughter should be on the cusp of being confirmed as Duquesa DE FRANCO. In full accord with the provisions of the much vaunted 1978 Constitution.Hardly a corroboration of the status of Spain as a modern progressive EU democracy, I would assert.Or that the man who was, till about 18 months ago speaker of the lower house of the Spanish Parliament should have seen fit to attend thge funeral mass for Carmencita Franco. Can anyone reading this imagine Herr Wolfgang Schaeuble attending the funeral of Hitler’s daughter?”

          And I keep telling you that I am not a PP voter and many Spanierds and myself are outraged by the actions of this woman but you prefer to ignore it in order for you to portray that Spain as a pro-franquist country, something that it is not true.

          “Somewhat amguously I affirmed that this law could be considered “Francoist”. Why? Although it was indeed passed by the newly elected Cortes, it was in the twilight political zone when democracy was by no means assured, anything but in fact, and when even the clearly inadequate 1978 Constitution was not yet in force. Not to put too fine a point on it, the army certainly was not going to let anyone in the Cortes take it into their head that the augean stables of Franco’s 40 years of terror were going to be investigated.”

          The Catalan and Vascs nationalists did not have to approve the Amnesty Law sir but they did. The 1978 Constitution (FYI: approved by 90% of the Catalan vote) is indeed in need of reform and not to just to legalise unilateral referendums of independence but to eliminate all the autonomies that are causing total chaos in Spain if you ask me. I would also say that the Electoral laws that gave the majority to the independists political groups in Parlament despite the social majority vote of the unionists groups needs reform, something that the independentists do not want- another example of double standards.

          “Francoist dictatorship still contnues to exert on Spanish society and on Spanish democracy , then I doubt that any further evidence I might provide will help you in your apparently willful ignorance.” And you seem to know it all, ignorant of me…. Your Franquist propaganda does not work with me and millions of Spanish people; it might sell in Scotland or any other region of a country with independist’s interests. You should be really concerned that your friend Puigdemont is building alliances with ultra-right political groups like the Flemish N-VA well-known for their xenophobic views.

          “why you do not seem to be so knowledgeable about the premeditated actions of the Catalan government to the latest crisis?.
          Rhetoric.”

          Your response really reflects your double standards and your lack of curiosity in learning the truth.

          “What do you have to say to the fact that Puigdemont was previously warned by it is own local police about the possibility of violence if the illegal 1/10 referendum would have taken place?.
          Are you saying that the Catalan police warned Puigdemont that the 3 shiploads of Spanish riot police which had been sitting in Barcelona and Tarragona harbours for the best part of 6 weeks were intent on attacking innocent voters? But everyone knew that!”

          Not my dear, you read me well and do not try to twist the facts- I was referring to the emails that were sent to Joaquim Forn by Trapero (Mossos Major) on the 29th September 2017 alerting him of acts of violence as results of independists movilisations trying to prevent the Spanish police and GC to stop the referendum, a referendum which had previously been declared illegal and against the rights of more than 50% of Catalans who did not want independence from Spain or had their money used for a referendum that they do not recognise.

          http://www.elmundo.es/espana/2018/03/17/5aac43c6268e3e167a8b45c7.html
          http://www.elmundo.es/espana/2018/03/17/5aac2673268e3e32058b45b9.html

          “What do you have to say to the persistent intimidation and harassment experience by the unionists at the hands of independists for the last 10 years
          Fantasy.”

          Fantasy? Have a look to the images and articles and then we talk.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOIYLbLHGOU … can you hear those animals calling this poor man with his children “son of a b…”
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SjHi-BUxjM
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSvUuWByUHU
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUh_5yydgsk
          http://www.elmundo.es/cronica/2018/02/08/5a770e3722601d8d538b4678.html

          “or the fact that parents’ choices of teaching their children in school in Spanish more (rather than 2 hours week) are ignored?.”
          Fantasy.
          And lies.
          Ignorant lies to boot wholly lacking in any factual basis whatsoever. (See previous reply about French tv too here.).”

          See also my earlier link. And the following ones (I have included also cases from parents in Baleares):
          http://www.elmundo.es/baleares/2017/02/16/58a55a2822601d7a758b45c4.html
          https://elpais.com/ccaa/2014/01/31/catalunya/1391174636_813795.html

          Nothing I suppose, it is more convenient for you to refer to Franco.

          “Certainly Franco’s régime was based on lies. And the current Spanish government seems well versed in them too. As for instance when almost exactly 12 months ago PM Rajoy came to barcelona and promised “to invest 1 billion euro per annum over the coming 4 years”

          And the result of the first 12 months of this programme? According to the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce: Zilch. Central government spending remains at previous levels and Rajoy’s promises aren’t worth a row of beans.”

          Why do not you mention all the lies that Puigdemont gave to the Catalan people by stating that with the independence they will remain in the EU and that more banks and companies will come to Catalunya?. It seems that you only focus on the lies of Rajoy but not the ones of your dear friends Puigdemont and Co.

          1. Maria says:

            This one to the attention of MBC who kindly asked me to enlighten you about the systematic independist’s campaign of harassment and intimidation towards Catalan people who are anti-independists for the last 10 years.

            The independist process started with the invasion of pro-independence symbols in public spaces and buildings, which by definition belong to everyone. From 2012, esteladas (Catalan independence flag) began to appear everywhere, from parks and sporting/cultural/educational events to public squares. This was heavily criticised by the unionists but the independists justified these actions as symbols of expression and purposely ignored the fact that public administrations do not enjoy that same right. Now we now know that it was propaganda and intimidation campaign purposely arranged by ANC (Catalan National Assembly) and the AMI (Association of Municipalities for Independence) as a way to demark their territory by putting pressure onto those with doubts, creating a sense of unanimity and declaring that everything had already been decided.

            As the pro-independence symbols started to appear, the official symbols started to disappeared, including the Spanish national flag, which was removed in many City Halls, while street names referencing to the Constitution or Spain were also changed. As to the esteladas, the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling was clear- this flag was a partisan symbol that could NOT be allowed in official buildings or permanently in public spaces. This invasion of symbols, if not a form of violence, was a way to guarantee cultural hegemony and attack the everyday harmony Catalans have enjoyed before.

            Then, opponents of independence were publicly singled out, denied their Catalan identity and even called fascists/franquists. Alongside this intimidation on the streets, there was institutional violence- public authorities, universities, unions, professional associations and even the Barcelona football club, rallied for the right for a referendum on Catalan independence and openly supported the secessionist cause, disregarding the principal of institutional neutrality and the diversity of their social, cultural and sporting bodies, which should be a reflection of the Catalan society (let me remind you that more than 50% of Catalan want to remain being Spanierds). All these actions were made by leaders who wanted to gain political elite’s support and not being labeled as either indifferent or a dissident/fascist. Further, in the case of professional bodies with compulsory membership (i.e. catalan law society), these actions were blatantly illegal, hence the reminder of the Spanish Supreme Court’s 2016 rule warning the lawyers association that its members could not belong to platforms that would politically divide them.

            In the interim, the Catalan media took the independentist cause with journalists and TV talk shows hosts spreading independence propaganda 24/7- a means to radicalise a large portion of the Catalan population and increasing the intimidation in the streets of unionists at the hands of independence supporters. It is worth mentioning, the bullying from the most radical pro-independence university groups or the continuous attacks against the headquarters of unionists political parties. There was also the intimidation of parents who wanted their children to have the 25% Spanish- intimidation coming from the actual schools and independist parents, isolating those children and parents. Those who feel that this was just minor aggression fail to appreciate how much the harmony of Catalan society and the state of democracy in Catalunya had been damaged.

            Finally, the physical violence that the independists want to downgrade and deny around the actions that for instance took place on the 6th and 8th of September in the push to declare Catalan independence. It is true that the Catalan independist push is not an armed rebellion as it is a civilian and not a military movement; however this civilian modus operandi makes it very difficult to categorize what happened on those days. The leaders of the proces, most of whom were public officials, violated the Constitution in the regional parliament and in order to legitimize their cause, organised with secessionist groups to mobilise the masses so the Spanish state was unable to react. It is also true that most people protested peacefully but in other cases [and no one can deny that] there were demonstrators who used intimidation and violence against authorities. And let us not forget the role played by the Catalan police force (the Mossos), an armed body whose leaders ignored courts orders to stop the illegal referendum on the 1/10. There is no denying that there was insurrection carried out with new and premeditated forms of political rebellion.

            There is no doubt the Catalan independence move was violent, now confirmed by their own Puigdemont whose appeal cowardly acknowledged it as a way out (i.e. Puigdemont defence is that those civilians who attack the police should be charged but not himself) and not when the acts took place where he only declared violence from the police to feed the independist cause and gain international notoriety. And there was violence not just because people were attacked or things were broken but rather because when one section of society tries to impose their political project by coercing the other half, they are also exercising violence. That is the reason why there have been so many fall outs among friends and families and so much social tension when the Catalans were almost at the point of civil war. To the idea that the proces has been a “revolution of smiles”, idea that they just want to sell you, there has been a change of subtle violence- symbolic, institutional, verbal, psychological and physical- that we should not ignore.

          2. James Scott says:

            “Finally, the physical violence that the independists want to downgrade and deny around the actions that for instance took place on the 6th and 8th of September in the push to declare Catalan independence. It is true that the Catalan independist push is not an armed rebellion as it is a civilian and not a military movement; however this civilian modus operandi makes it very difficult to categorize what happened on those days…… It is also true that most people protested peacefully but in other cases [and no one can deny that] there were demonstrators who used intimidation and violence against authorities. And let us not forget the role played by the Catalan police force (the Mossos), an armed body whose leaders ignored courts orders to stop the illegal referendum on the 1/10….. There is no doubt the Catalan independence move was violent,. ….Puigdemont defence is that those civilians who attack the police should be charged but not himself) and not when the acts took place where he only declared violence from the police to feed the independist cause and gain international notoriety. And there was violence not just because people were attacked or things were broken but rather because when one section of society tries to impose their political project by coercing the other half, they are also exercising violence….”

            Even after due allowance is made for a post by a person whose native language is ostensibly not English, both the lack of logic and the excess of rhetorical assertion in the above is evident.

            Much worse however is the outright bare faced prevarication involved above when referring to violence during sessions of the Catalan Parliament which took place on the 6th and 8th of September with every word and gesture in the chamber being relayed live on tv. And with, despite much heated argument and a final boycott of the vote by a significant minority of Catalan MPs, not as much as a glass of water spilled or a sheet of paper torn.

            Yet the the outright fantasy of violence is not merely alluded to repeatedly but trumpeted from the roof-tops at that.

            Laughable in a post on an obscure Scottish website.

            But, much more worryingly, this is the sort of logic and the sort of perversion of judicial language which underpins the charges which Professor Ponsatí is seeking to confront and to overturn in the Sherrif Court in Edinburgh.

            My dictionary says that violence is

            • Behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
            ‘violence erupted in protest marches’
            ‘domestic violence against women’
            ‘the fear of physical violence’
            ‘screen violence’

            Given the Orwellian abuse of process, of logic, and patently of language, involved in the previous chimera, it is hard to trump. Hard, but not impossible, as evidenced by the use of the wholly pernicious phrase “those civil(i)ans that attack the police” when, as the whole world saw, just over 6 months ago, on 1st October, it was the heavily armed and none too disciplined Spanish police who were quite unable to prevent the otherwise peaceful voters from hitting their heads against their batons, from bloodying clean batons with discharges from open wounds to heads and faces, from sticking their legs under the police boots when the occupants of the latter jumped down from 3 steps higher on the stairs and even, almost unbelievably poignantly, from insisting on putting their (now useless) eyeball in the path of rubber bullets.

            Gallus doesn’t even begin to fit the bill.

          3. Maria says:

            RESPONSE to James Scott’s latest post:

            ““Finally, the physical violence that the independists want to downgrade and deny around the actions that for instance took place on the 6th and 8th of September in the push to declare Catalan independence. It is true that the Catalan independist push is not an armed rebellion as it is a civilian and not a military movement; however this civilian modus operandi makes it very difficult to categorize what happened on those days…… It is also true that most people protested peacefully but in other cases [and no one can deny that] there were demonstrators who used intimidation and violence against authorities. And let us not forget the role played by the Catalan police force (the Mossos), an armed body whose leaders ignored courts orders to stop the illegal referendum on the 1/10….. There is no doubt the Catalan independence move was violent,. ….Puigdemont defence is that those civilians who attack the police should be charged but not himself) and not when the acts took place where he only declared violence from the police to feed the independist cause and gain international notoriety. And there was violence not just because people were attacked or things were broken but rather because when one section of society tries to impose their political project by coercing the other half, they are also exercising violence….”

            Even after due allowance is made for a post by a person whose native language is ostensibly not English, both the lack of logic and the excess of rhetorical assertion in the above is evident.- ”

            RESPONSE: What it is ironic is that you take issue with a post written by a person whose mother tongue is not English but you seem to defend with no hesitation the false accusations made by Ponsati, another person whose native language is ostensibly not English. Your allowance and commentary about my fluency of the English language translates to me more like the actions of someone who feels/thinks superior but in reality are typical actions of an insecure person who needs to put down others with his over elaborated linguistic diarrhoea in order to make themselves feel better. Verbal simplicity is often underrated James. Let me also add that the lack of logic and excess of rhetorical assertion is ostensibly evident on your side.

            “Much worse however is the outright bare faced prevarication involved above when referring to violence during sessions of the Catalan Parliament which took place on the 6th and 8th of September with every word and gesture in the chamber being relayed live on tv. And with, despite much heated argument and a final boycott of the vote by a significant minority of Catalan MPs, not as much as a glass of water spilled or a sheet of paper torn.

            Yet the the outright fantasy of violence is not merely alluded to repeatedly but trumpeted from the roof-tops at that.

            Laughable in a post on an obscure Scottish website.

            But, much more worryingly, this is the sort of logic and the sort of perversion of judicial language which underpins the charges which Professor Ponsatí is seeking to confront and to overturn in the Sherrif Court in Edinburgh.

            My dictionary says that violence is

            • Behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
            ‘violence erupted in protest marches’
            ‘domestic violence against women’
            ‘the fear of physical violence’
            ‘screen violence’

            RESPONSE: And here I will have to admit my mistake and apologise for not having reviewed the post before I sent it as I forgot to type the days that I wanted to put in my post, which were the 20th and 21st Sept following the events of the 6th and 8th of September. And if you were not aware of the physical violence that took place on those days (the 20th & 21st Sept), which I am sure that the independists were not very keen in televised it internationally, you could ask your dear friend Ponsati about it, although I am sure that she will a different interpretation of what happened those days. As a way of summary, I will say that a team of GC agents and a Judicial secretary were retained for 20hours at the Conserlleria de Economia, and 3 GC 4×4 cars were totally destroyed by independists protesters. [Funny that you talk about roof tops in your post but the retained secretary had to escape from the building from roof tops]. The insults, the pushing and throwing of bottles of water against those retained agents were also concerning. Bearing in mind your understanding of what is “violence”, may I ask you in your eloquent opinion whether or not you consider those acts as non-violent?. To help with your answer, let me provide you with some images of the outcomes of those days:

            https://vozlibre.com/actualidad/las-imagenes-la-violencia-barcelona-una-noche-tension-4212/

            “Given the Orwellian abuse of process, of logic, and patently of language, involved in the previous chimera, it is hard to trump. Hard, but not impossible, as evidenced by the use of the wholly pernicious phrase “those civil(i)ans that attack the police” when, as the whole world saw, just over 6 months ago, on 1st October, it was the heavily armed and none too disciplined Spanish police who were quite unable to prevent the otherwise peaceful voters from hitting their heads against their batons, from bloodying clean batons with discharges from open wounds to heads and faces, from sticking their legs under the police boots when the occupants of the latter jumped down from 3 steps higher on the stairs and even, almost unbelievably poignantly, from insisting on putting their (now useless) eyeball in the path of rubber bullets.

            Gallus doesn’t even begin to fit the bill.”

            RESPONSE: You seem to have ignored my comments in previous posts where I stated that Puigdemont was officially warned by its local police forces of acts of violence if the referendum would have taken place on the 1st of October, warning that he completely ignored because that is what he wanted- images of police attacks against voters to gain international notoriety- if he was so concerned about the safety of his voters, why did he congratulate the Mossos for not having assisted the National Police and GC on the 1/10 Oct, assistance which would have prevented most of the attacks?. I have also confirmed here that Puigdemont in his appeal defence to the Tribunal Supremo has acknowledged that there were also acts of violence from independists against the National Police and GC and they should be charged and not himself- what do you have to say about that?. I have also mentioned the violence used by the Catalan police in May 2011 following instructions of the Catalan government against anti-austerity protesters, violence that the independists do not want to recall, where the mossos used the same rubber bullets and batons against protesters and hundreds were injured. Let us not forget the false accusations of Marta Torrecillas who alleged that the Spanish police sexually assaulted her and broke her fingers one by one; or the videos which have been played from other incidents and not the 1st Oct. FYI- psychological abuse and social isolation are also form of violence- your dictionary is in need of amendments.

            Given the abuse of process, logic, and blatant ignorance about what really happened in Cataluña in September and October 2017, involved in your previous chimera, it is hard to mention that you only want to see what you want to see.

  11. Willie says:

    Thanks for the history Redgauntlet.

    Based upon the Spanish history and the nature of the Spanish state, your backcloth to Spain reinforces why we should not concede to the implementation of the this arrest warrant and application for extradition.

    Scotland is a country with its own legal system, its own parliament, and if we are prepared to honour this request from a fascist country then we are but fascists without conscience ourselves.

    And we should not forget the call not so long ago from Westminster positions who wanted Alex Salmond incarcerated on sedition charges.

    Internment, political censorship, political assassination, its in the UK armoury too, and we ignore it at our peril.

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      Willie, that is never going to happen.

      I would love Scotland to refuse the detention of Clara. But Police Scotland can’t do that. They have to do their job. And it’s now an administrative process. It’s not within their remit, even if they wanted to, to refuse extradition proceedings from Spain…

      Know that story about the Scots always having two teams to support? Scotland, and whoever is playing England? Well I’ve got three. Whoever is playing against England or Spain, plus Scotland.

      But that’s really common in Madrid, eh? You get that. All the Republicans in my neighborhood want Spain to lose. So do the Catalans, the Basques, and the Galicians. Which is probably why, I suspect, it is such an addictive country. Because it is intense. It’s a political cauldron…

  12. Redgauntlet says:

    Does anybody think that if Podemos were within a sniff of power – or any political party who want to change Spain – there wouldn’t be a coup in Spain? Of course there would be a coup.

    But now they do it through their judges and changing the laws….which is what they have done to the Catalans. Their judiciary is, to say the least, highly politicized…

    They would say Podemos were in some way un constitutional…

    You know, Puigdemont is facing up to 25 years in prison? Which is more than an ETA terrorist….

    Say what you want about Catalan nationalism, but it has never been even remotely violent…

    “El Estado Español promete viviendas sociales
    Pero luego reparten hostias como panes
    ¡Animales! ¡Mercenarios! Se quedan el alijo!
    Golpean a trabajdores que piden pan para sus hijos!
    Pijos de la derecha parece que no les importen
    ¡Hace deporte de riesgo en el norte!
    Esclavos de un corte en un pais medieval
    La jefatura del Estado viene por via vaginal
    Estado policial que no da abasato
    Tu multan por aparcamiento
    Te torturan por ser Vasco….”

  13. Redgauntlet says:

    The future teaches you to be alone
    The present to be afraid and cold
    “So if I can shoot rabbits then I can shoot fascists.”
    Bullets for your brain today
    But we’ll forget it all again
    Monuments put from pen to paper
    Turns me into a gutless wonder.

    And if you tolerate this then your children will be next
    And if you tolerate this then your children will be next
    Will be next, Will be next, Will be next.

    Gravity keeps my head down
    Or is it maybe shame
    At being so young and being so vain.

    Holes in your head today
    But I’m a pacifist
    I’ve walked La Ramblas but not with real intent.

    And if you tolerate this then your children will be next
    And if you tolerate this then your children will be next
    Will be next, Will be next, Will be next.

    “And on the street tonight
    An old man plays with newspaper cuttings of his glory days.”
    And if you tolerate this then your children will be next
    And if you tolerate this then your children will be next
    Will be next, will be next, will be next.

  14. w.b.robertson says:

    Hard luck Ms Pansati. Now if Scotland was truly independent, and with her own laws, and no tongue up the jacksi of the European supreme courts etc, we could tell the EC and Spain to go and take a flying “you know what”. And the lady would be safe.

    1. Jamsie says:

      Really?
      And Mrs Sturgeon would enable that to happen?
      It seems nationalism and contradiction go hand in hand.
      When it suits just drop the position on which it stands.

  15. Redgauntlet says:

    I just wanted to say that Robin Gill’s valuable comments are absolutely spot on.

    My neighbourhood in Madrid where I live, La Latina, is a hotbed of Spanish Republicanism. It’s wrong to blame all Spaniards for the constant and systematic democratic outrages of Rajoy and his ultra national catholic mentality. Rajoy is close to the OPUS DEI, a network of fanatical Spanish Catholic FREAKS OF NATURE who believe they came to earth to carry out God’s work: La Obra.

    At least 35% of Spaniards, probably more, are totally sick of this “national Spanish catholic project”, which is what the Spanish state backs. Almost everybody I know is a Spanish Republican, and they in general don’t care either way about Catalan independence. They’re no that bothered either way.

    Most Spaniards are thoroughly decent people; friendly warm and generous. Don’t mistake the terrible, awful and corrupt government for the good people of Spain…

  16. Redgauntlet says:

    And can I just say that the Spanish State has me under observation too?

    That every time I have written an article about Spain under my real name for Bella Caledonia I have been subjected to harassment by the Spanish State?

    Tax inspections, Social Security inspections… a constant harassment.

    The Spanish State has used tax inspections systematically against the arts community in Spain, as a reprisal measure for speaking out about their RETARD DEMOCRACY… countless artists, directors, writers and translators have been subjected to completely groundless tax inspections by the Spanish State.

    Basically, 50% of everybody I know in Spanish cinema has been subjected to a GRUESOME TAX INSPECTION since Rajoy came to power…

    The Spanish State – THE RETARD SPANISH STATE – just sent a RAP artist to jail for 5 years for singing a song… get that. Go figure…

    They want to silence us, just like they want to silence Clara and the Catalans…

    It’s a TOTALLY RETARD BACKWARD STATE that hasn’t even updated its logo, much less its Constitution, since 1978….

    1. Willie says:

      With the Spanish Police discharging their guns into the air at a recent march. In support of the arrested Puidgemont, your points about the nature of the Spanish state do not go amiss Redgauntlet.

      If they can discharge guns into the air to cow unarmed civilian, this state would do anything.

      So would we extradite dissident Jews back to 1930s Germany.

      Seems that we allegedly have no choice. Maybe on current form we’d sell them the kit for their gas chambers too.

      Our so called democracy is a fickle as that.

  17. MBC says:

    Thanks to all who have contributed to this informative thread. The thing I am not understanding thougn is if there are so many decent people in Spain who are not bothered one way or another about Catalan independence, why is Rajoy in power right now?

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      Hi MBC.

      Good question. The short answer is that Rajoy won be default.

      Rajoy is in power because Podemos blew it. The Left, as always, blew it at the last elections. Pablo Iglesias (leader of Podemos, who support a Catalan referendum) announced, following the December 2015 election results, which gave a majority to the parties of the Left, that he wanted to be Vice President of a Pedro Sanchez (leader of the PSOE) government and, bizarrely, that Podemos should have the Defence portfolio. This before entering talks with the PSOE, the catastrophic blunder of a novice and a tyro.

      That was enough to send the Spanish Establishment and their lackeys in the press into a frenzied spasm of rabid national catholic indignation which has never ceased to this day.

      The Podemos – PSOE power sharing deal never materialized, nobody could form a majority in the Spanish Parliament. The elections were repeated and the PP won by default although theirs is a minority government, they have a Parliamentary deal with Ciudadanos, the Catalan anti-nationalist party who are now leading the polls, and might well form the next government.

      The PSOE are completely useless and back the PP – to my sheer disgust -100% on the Catalan question. Or maybe 90%, there still being some decent PSOE Catalans, though they are a vanishing species.

      But with Spain, you have to remember that we are talking about a country still in a post Civil War trauma. A lot of people vote on Civil War lines, the way their parents voted, just like they choose their football team.

      And then there is the Madrid question. La Comunidad de Madrid is the third biggest metropolitan area in Europe. It is full of very interesting and diverse people. It’s vibrant, multicultural and has a bigger population than the whole of Scotland.

      But it’s not very representative, perhaps, of the rest of Spain…. and Madrid is the place I know best.

    2. Redgauntlet says:

      And then remember, MBC, that some of the most radical anti Catalan nationalists are on the Spanish Left. For a large part of the Spanish Left, Catalan nationalism is a bourgeois movement which is self-interested and all about money, and frankly, a little bit fascist.

      Catalonia is one of the richest parts of Spain. For parts of the Spanish Left, the idea of Catalan Independence is a betrayal of the poorer parts of Spain in the South.

      The further south you travel in Spain, the more hostility there is to Catalan nationalism. And there is indeed a strain of Catalan nationalism which is bordering on racist, and in any case contemptuous of the rest of Spain. The Spanish are “lazy” etc…

      In any case, that is a different question.

      I am not in favour of Catalan independence myself, I think it is a very bad idea, but I am absolutely appalled by the reaction of the Spanish State to their quest to hold a referendum…

      1. MBC says:

        So, essentially, Rajoy is sticking his neck out but he lacks legitimacy for his extreme position on Catalonia? Why therefore should EU democrats in effect back him? Somebody needs to have a wee chat.

        Is there any evidence that by doing a Thatcher (war drums on the Falklands issue) he is gaining support, gaining legitimacy?

  18. Redgauntlet says:

    The thing about Spain you have to understand is that it is a totally surreal country…. it’s not at all like the UK, which runs along fairly rational lines. In Spain, anything can happen…

    Spain is a country which has the best and the worst of humankind. It’s a country of extremes. And it’s very, very, very intense. Also, very funny. The Spanish have a great sense of humor.

    All of its great Spanish artists are surrealists, some of them before their time…

    Cervantes was a kind of surrealist, Goya was a kind of surrealist – the former invented the novel, the latter modern painting – and of course Don Luis Buñuel, one of the greatest film-makers ever, was an actual surrealists who spent his whole life satirizing the European bourgeoisie and the Spanish Catholic Church… to great effect.

    By the way, the Spanish Ministry of Defence has announced today it will be flying the Spanish flag at half mast over the Easter Week in a sign of respect for the death of Jesus Christ… hee hee hee..

    Seriously. Hee hee hee. Hilarious. They are completely mental the Spanish Right Wing…

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “They are completely mental the Spanish Right Wing…”

      Just like the Tories, then.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Hi Alf

        The Spanish Right Wing are much mental than the Tories. Who are themselves, already completely mental, I agree…

        The Spanish flag at half mast for the death of Jesus Christ? It’s positively medieval…

        Crimes of sedition and rebellion? Medieval. It’s a medieval mentality…

        Again, according to the Constitution, Spain is officially a non denominational State. But in actual fact it isn’t, the Catholic Church in Spain doesn’t pay the equivalent of the community charge for its numerous buildings, they are exempted from that.

        Guys like Rajoy and basically the entire PP are a bunch of Ayatollahs. They are fanatical, utterly fanatical Catholics, on the same spectrum as ISIS, albeit at the other end of that scale… though the Catalans are too. Guys like Pujol? Pujol is every bit as nationalist, corrupt and fanatically religious as Rajoy…

        The PP think Spain was preordained by God….hee hee hee… it was part of the divine plan. Hence the importance of the unity of Spain for them.

        And on top of it all, completely corrupt… Mariano Rajoy is a thoroughly and utterly corrupt man who should have been barred from public office years ago…

        Nobody can possibly do anything other than support Clara Ponsati and Puigdemont, given the fanatical lunatics who are processing them…

        That’s what they are: lunatics.

  19. MBC says:

    I take the point about Catalonia being the richest part of Spain, but it’s also a small part. How can its wealth make that much difference to the poor parts of Spain? Especially when it is being funnelled into a corrupt government and dissipated?

    This is like the Left’s argument for Scotland. As I keep pointing out to them, how can 5 million of us possibly save 55 million south of the Tweed? Our oil wealth was totally squandered by UK government since Thatcher. I don’t think I would have minded if it had helped industry in the south but she used it to close down industry and make workers redundant, and that’s what sticks in my craw the most. And why I get mad at this Left unionist argument. Because it’s not just a matter of sharing, but what you do with the ‘common wealth’ you have to share – and we had no say in that, and never will.

    Just as the people of Catalonia will have no say in how their wealth is squandered by Rajoy.

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      Hi MBC

      I don’t want to get in a debate about Catalan independence, because that is no longer the issue.

      We’re talking about human rights and European democracy and people like Clara facing 30 years of prison which is more than an ETA terrorist would get.

      And one can only hope that the Scottish justice system and the German justice system show their democratic credentials, and their commitment to human rights and the founding values of the EU by refusing to extradite.

      I would say the chances that Puigdemont and Clara Ponsati get a fair trial in Spain are precisely zero.

      The Spanish judiciary is completely politicized, and if Rajoy and the PP decided to look for a judicial solution and not a political solution, that was because they know that in a Spanish court, they will win…

      They will be tried in Madrid remember, the High Court in Madrid…

  20. Redgauntlet says:

    Notwithstanding all of the above, Puigdemont’s reckless decision to declare UDI on less than half of the popular vote, is an act of complete madness. He gambled on a European solidarity which doesn’t exist.

    There is no way you can justify it, and his very own party backtracked on it and declared it “symbolic” only a few days later. Except it wasn’t. He declared UDI in the Catalan parliament.

    An act of madness, and I said it as much on these pages at the time. It’s the State. You can’t beat the State, not these days. We’re not in the 19th Century. They track your mobile phone and shut down your bank accounts and their reach extends to Scotland and Germany… complete madness.

    The whole thing is madness, from start to finish…

    One of the things we have in Britain, is a democratic tradition. For all of our failings, the Scots are one of the most highly democratic and informed peoples on planet earth. We’re democratically literate in a way Spain is not. Salmond and Sturgeon are much smarter than Puigdemont.

    Spain has been a democracy for 40 years, a mere eye-blink. But while our Enlightenment thinkers are the toast of universities the world over, Spain’s great thinkers were repressed, imprisoned and exiled. Jovellanos, one of their great Enlightenment thinkers, was imprisoned for 8 years. Their greatest artist, Goya, had a file opened on him by the Spanish Inquisition for painting a nude… he died in exile, in France…

    Cervantes and Quevedo and Fray Luis Leon all tasted prison.

    The list of Spanish exiled thinkers, poets and writers of the 20th century is too long to mention: Pedro Salinas, Jorge Guillem, Luis Cernuda (who taught at Glasgow uni briefly), the great poet Machado, the great Luis Buñuel, Clara Campoamor, Maria Zambrano… the list is endless

    Spain has a great culture, on a par with any other country in the world. The Spanish are one of the most creative and brilliant people in world history.

    But Spain doesn’t have an even tolerably reasonable democratic culture I’m afraid to say…

    I want out. I can’t take it anymore…

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “our Enlightenment thinkers are the toast of universities the world over”

      That may be so, but what this case also highlights, in case nobody noticed, is the absence of Scottish academics running Scotland’s universities today. Only two of nineteen Scottish uni’s has a Scottish principal with senior management make-up often not dissimilar. In an analysis of over 30 departments across several ‘Scottish’ institutions I found that less than 25% of the academics were Scots, and many depts comprised less than 10% Scots. Recruiting academics to our institutions from outside Scotland has become the norm rather than the exception. Importantly, and for many years, very few Scots have been given opportunities to undertake PhD research, which means that most of our future academics and professors will also not be Scots. The ongoing PhD student cohort is dominated by higher fee paying students coming from outside Scotland, so our future academic make-up is already largely determined. Scots are effectively excluded from our academic institutions; in any other country that would be totally unthinkable, yet here nobody even notices or seems to bother, though perhaps this lack of concern is because few of our decision makers within Scotland’s social institutions are Scots anyway. Scotland’s enlightenment days are long gone primarily because we no longer nurture and develop our own people to be leaders, far less ‘thinkers’.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        You’re absolutely right, Alf, though I am no expert on Scottish education.

        But what can you expect of the Scots by now? I mean what do you expect?

        MBC asks me why do people vote for Rajoy? I have no idea whatsoever. It’s a complete mystery to me.

        But why do the Scots vote Labour or Tory? And even when they vote SNP, the results are much the same: ie, the liquidation of a) Scottish culture and b) Scottish education.

        The three things which historically made Scotland distinct from England were a) its culture b) its education and c) its religion.

        The administration of the first two of these things has been largely handed over to outsiders who have no knowledge of our traditions. Do you thinks the Catalans appoint Madrileños to run Catalan culture at the institutional level? There would be an outcry, it would never happen.

        Anyway, I have to go friends. There are a bunch of religious maniacs wandering around my neighbourhood whipping themselves in atonement for their sins…

        …they’re the same people who want to see Clara Ponsati extradited…

        1. MBC says:

          Well I always wondered what Puigdemont’s Plan B was if he didn’t get the clear mandate he was asking for. As Redgauntlet says, it was a huge gamble. However, as Craig Murray points out on another forum, nobody ever achieved independence from a colonial power without a fight and much sacrifice. Was that the plan? Martyrdom? Like the Patrick Pearse and the IRB in 1916?

          I wondered therefore if Puigdemont’s plan was to create a sufficient wave of excitement to carry his movement over the finishing line, and if Plan A failed, his Plan B was to provoke Rajoy into an overreaction that would disgust the liberal middle ground and persaude any waverers over to his side, once they saw the mask slip toreveal what modern Spain truly is.

          Redgauntlet claims to be against Catalonian independence. If I read him right, his position is in support of a united but republican Spain? That would be nice. Like a federal Britain, but it ain’t going to happen.

          But if I also read him right, he seems to be despairing that this will ever happen. He seems to be saying that the Spanish Civil War never really ended, and Spain is still as divided as in the 1930s and the Francoists are in power. And the Left are divided and incompetant.

          Can’t therefore see any reformist way forward. So if the Catalonians are the lynch pin that breaks up Spain, maybe that is the purgative necessary to rid Spain of the Francoists?

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            Hi MBC

            First of all, don’t take much notice to what Craig Murray thinks about Spain. I know a lot more than Craig does. With the greatest respect and modesty.

            I’m a translator from Spanish to English and I know the country inside out. I could write a book about the cultural history of Spain which would shame Scottish academia. But I have no desire to be an academic and I can’t be arsed writing such a tiresome book.

            I’ve lived in Barcelona and I’ve lived in Madrid, and I am a Scottish nationalist…. unashamedly so. I speak Catalan and Spanish and Portuguese, and I can “defend myself” in German, Gaelic and French and Italian. Though there is little merit in that; once you know one Latin language, you basically know them all.

            Of course the Civil War rumbles on: 800,000 deaths, and the Spanish State has never condemned it? The Spanish State won’t condemn the Civil War because they would have to pay vast reparations to the Republicans who were shot, raped and robbed of their wealth.

            Just like Hitler did to the Jews, the Spanish Republicans were robbed of everything. And they were blacklisted, they were exiled or they were shot. Like Lorca… or like Antonio Hernandez, the great “shepherd poet” left to die in a fascist jail.

            In Spain there is no “middle ground”. There has never been a liberal majority in Spain. There is no centrist party, not one. The liberal Spain – possibly once represented by the PSOE and the newspaper El Pais – has long since ceased to exist. They have both folded to Rajoy’s status quo.

            So it’s trench warfare, with a lot of gallows humor…

            But I do not want to give the impression that’s about “Barcelona and Madrid”. It’s not. Madrid is full of Republicans. Barcelona is full of fascists. Also…

  21. Hamish Kirk says:

    I might have more faith in this university if had more Scottish students

  22. James Scott says:

    “Guys like Rajoy and basically the entire PP are a bunch of Ayatollahs. They are fanatical, utterly fanatical Catholics, on the same spectrum as ISIS, albeit at the other end of that scale… though the Catalans are too. Guys like Pujol? Pujol is every bit as nationalist, corrupt and fanatically religious as Rajoy…”

    “Know that story about the Scots always having two teams to support? Scotland, and whoever is playing England? Well I’ve got three. Whoever is playing against England or Spain, plus Scotland.
    But that’s really common in Madrid, eh? You get that.”

    “At least 35% of Spaniards, probably more, are totally sick of this “national Spanish catholic project”, which is what the Spanish state backs. Almost everybody I know is a Spanish Republican, and they in general don’t care either way about Catalan independence. They’re no that bothered either way.”

    “A lot of people vote on Civil War lines, the way their parents voted, just like they choose their football team.
    And then there is the Madrid question. La Comunidad de Madrid is the third biggest metropolitan area in Europe. It is full of very interesting and diverse people. It’s vibrant, multicultural and has a bigger population than the whole of Scotland.
    But it’s not very representative, perhaps, of the rest of Spain…. and Madrid is the place I know best.”

    “I’m a translator from Spanish to English and I know the country inside out. I could write a book about the cultural history of Spain which would shame Scottish academia. But I have no desire to be an academic and I can’t be arsed writing such a tiresome book.”

    ¿ Cómo ? …or in the vernacular of Fawlty Towers, with its penchant for long outdated caricatures ¿ Qué ?

  23. Richard Easson says:

    I am rather worried when Spain asks a favour of Germany since the last time they asked for their cooperation concerning Catalonia they bombed Guernica for them.

  24. James Scott says:

    AS MY POST “ABOVE” HAS TO LITTLE SEPARATION BETWEEN QUESTION AND ANSWER I WILL TRY AGAIN BELOW:

    To what effect in terms of presentation I can only guess. Here goes:

    • “Shame on me, for what? For looking to the present and the future and not the past?”

    Shame on you for the calumny in your earlier post that Franco favoured Catalonia. And for repeating it here. Whilst cavalierly ignoring the objective evidence to the contrary I presented from the mouth of Professor Solé i Sabaté.

    • “ I am sorry to say this but your comments proved my point that people like you and the Catalan independists use Franco as rhetoric to portray Spain as an oppressive country. “

    Nobody needs to do that when they see the evidence of their own eyes on tv screens the world over of Spanish riot police attacking defenceless voters; not protestors or rioters. Voters. Exactly 6 months ago today.

    (On Sky tv, Spanish Foreign Minister Dastís had no answer to offer; though later he implied the film had been manipulated. “But we filmed it ourselves” was the reply rom the Sky correspondent.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9hAgn0todA

    Sadly no such reply was provided by the France24 host who asked the same Spanish Minister if it was true that “Spanish cannot be learned in Catalan state schools, not even as a foreign language?” “Quite true” replied the minister in question; lying through his teeth.

    • “I repeat it to you once more, Franco died long time ago and not because many of us want to forget that horrible chapter of our history means that we defend Franco, we want to move forward. “

    Given how horrible (sic) this chapter was, it seems amazing that his granddaughter should be on the cusp of being confirmed as Duquesa DE FRANCO. In full accord with the provisions of the much vaunted 1978 Constitution.Hardly a corroboration of the status of Spain as a modern progressive EU democracy, I would assert.Or that the man who was, till about 18 months ago speaker of the lower house of the Spanish Parliament should have seen fit to attend thge funeral mass for Carmencita Franco. Can anyone reading this imagine Herr Wolfgang Schaeuble attending the funeral of Hitler’s daughter?

    Even to posit the question is to insult Germany’s hard won democracy and all German democrats !

    (In addition, if you move forward with your eyes tight shut about where you are (and your mind even more firmly shut as to how you got there) the likelihood of a successful advance is slim indeed.)
    • “The Amnesty Law was approved in 1977 by full majority and included the approval of Catalan nationalists but you prefer to omit this fact in your comment. “

    Somewhat amguously I affirmed that this law could be considered “Francoist”. Why? Although it was indeed passed by the newly elected Cortes, it was in the twilight political zone when democracy was by no means assured, anything but in fact, and when even the clearly inadequate 1978 Constitution was not yet in force. Not to put too fine a point on it, the army certainly was not going to let anyone in the Cortes take it into their head that the augean stables of Franco’s 40 years of terror were going to be investigated.

    • “You seem to keep quiet about Company’s murdered actions at your convenience- another disgrace to Spanish history. “
    I made no reference whatsoever to the period you allude to as it had not been raised. The rôle of the “Comitès” and indeed the abject capitulation of Companys to them, when armed members of the CNT took over the Palau de la Generalitat is indeed shameful. However, to his credit, Companys and his ministers were able to restore, within a country where a civil war raged, some very considerable semblance of constitutional authority after about 12 months with the death of roughly 10 000 people by then a fait accopli.

    Whereas Herr Franco launched a military coup d’état against the elected governement, lead ing to the death of roughly 250 000 people at absolute minimum and then sadistically butchered the best part of 200 000 more at his leisure over the next 10-15 years. Yet the only adjective you can find for this mass carnage is “horrible.”

    It would appear from this that you have taken to heart the British penchant for understatement. Gross understatement at that
    • “That Franco facilitated the growth of Catalunya is a fact and in addition to the automobile industry (SEAT) and the chemical industries (Petroquimica), he also signed a Decree establishing Barcelona and Valencia as the only Spanish cities able to convene international exhibitions (fairs) in 1943. “

    There you go again….

    • “As to Franco’s granddaughter request for an aristocratic title, I found it outrageous but you seem to imply that the Spanish people approves of her actions, when it is not true. “

    Please provide chapter and verse for this, to my eyes, clearly non-existent opposition.

    Please also apologise when, shortly, the BOE (= the London Gazette) published the nomination of the granddaughter of the bloody Spanish dictator Francisco Franco Bahamonde as “Duquesa DE FRANCO” in full accord with the 1978 Spanish Constution.

    • “My question again to you now is what has to do Franco with the current Catalan situation sir and “
    If you are still unaware of the malign corrosive influence which the Franco family and the Francoist dictatorship still contnues to exert on Spanish society and on Spanish democracy , then I doubt that any further evidence I might provide will help you in your apparently willful ignorance.
    • “why you do not seem to be so knowledgeable about the premeditated actions of the Catalan government to the latest crisis?. “
    Rhetoric.
    • “What do you have to say to the fact that Puigdemont was previously warned by it is own local police about the possibility of violence if the illegal 1/10 referendum would have taken place?.”
    Are you saying that the Catalan police warned Puigdemont that the 3 shiploads of Spanish riot police which had been sitting in Barcelona and Tarragona harbours for the best part of 6 weeks were intent on attacking innocent voters? But everyone knew that!

    Why a very very small selection of the Spanish tv stations and media had shown film of these self same police officers leaving their barracks elsewhere in Spain egged on by crowds to cries of “A por ellos” which might reaqsonably be translated as “Stick it to them”?

    Which the wholly peaceful and oppressively victimised Spanish police officers in the first video can clearly be heard singing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE0EMaKoAio

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA1Sw-szU6w
    Yet to date the Spanish Interior Minister has not merely failed to investigate this disgraceful conduct but he continues to hail these far from impartial servants of public order as “heroes”
    • “ What do you have to say about the fact that the Catalan government in conjunction with the Catalan local police, actively failed to assist the Spanish National police and GC on that day with the sole purpose of procuring police violence (as they were outnumbered) and gain international notoriety?”

    i) See 2 pervious videos.
    ii) I get it, the voters hit their heads off the police truncheons to get a day off work next day after they visited the A&E department
    iii) See previous comments about lies by Foreign Minister on French tv.

    • “ What do you have to say to the persistent intimidation and harassment experience by the unionists at the hands of independists for the last 10 years “
    Fantasy.
    • “or the fact that parents’ choices of teaching their children in school in Spanish more (rather than 2 hours week) are ignored?.”
    Fantasy.
    And lies.
    Ignorant lies to boot wholly lacking in any factual basis whatsoever. (See previous reply about French tv too here.).
    • “Nothing I suppose, it is more convenient for you to refer to Franco.”

    Certainly Franco’s régime was based on lies. And the current Spanish government seems well versed in them too. As for instance when almost exactly 12 months ago PM Rajoy came to barcelona and promised “to invest 1 billion euro per annum over the coming 4 years”

    And the result of the first 12 months of this programme? According to the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce: Zilch. Central government spending remains at previous levels and Rajoy’s promises aren’t worth a row of beans.

  25. MBC says:

    Maria, thank you for your detailed reply. But it seems to me that what you are describing is a kind of ‘culture war’ in which a large section of the population of Catalonia (at least 50%) wishes to have greater self-expression of their own language and culture and greater autonomy and another section, the Spanish speakers, with Spanish identity, thinks that such cultural expression is a crime and a complete affront, and that strikes me as very intolerant; on par with what we hear of in communist China after the seizure of Tibet. Your views would not be out of line with those of the Chinese government in trying to suppress the Tibetans or the Uigers which are distinct ethnic groups with distinctive cultures of their own. The UN Charter of Human Rights considers that peoples have a right of self-determination and cultural expression. Why cannot Spain allow the Catalans to have the same? It seems to me that by your haughty and intolerant attitude you are pushing the Catalans towards the very thing you declare you wish to prevent and that is secession from Spain and the break up of Spain. If you want the Catalans to stay then allow them cultural expression and political autonomy. They can be both part of Spain yet autonomous. The USA is a federation of states which each have their own laws and taxes. Switzerland and Canada are confederations. Even the old USSR encouraged the different nationalities to be proud of their own cultures and identities. Your fury at the impudence of Catalans in conducting affairs in their own language reminds me of an English woman I once met who went to Aberystwyth University where she studied English then thought that after graduation she ought to be able to get a job as a secretary locally when she could not even speak Welsh nor was willing to learn. But, I said to her, if you went to live in France you wouldn’t expect to get a job with the local authority as a secretary if you couldn’t speak French, so why expect that in Wales, in the most Welsh speaking part? The point was she just had no respect for the Welsh or their language or culture.

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