‘The illegal course of the independence movement cost Catalonia its biggest loss of autonomy in decades’
Opponents of independence pointed out the discomfort they feel when they express their views. I am sure that many people who favour secession think that a society where people are afraid to express democratic opinions and where friendships are broken because of political issues is worse than a society where opposite views can happily coexist.
It was easy to imagine that the European Union was not going to support secession. But the lies and misinformation of those who have manipulated the illusions of thousands of people should not pass without consequences. To disqualify the European Union, as some independence supporters did, was a diversion: the leaders of the secessionist movement had to know what the position of the EU was -it had been repeated many times. Harsh words about the Union were only a way to hide a deceptive mechanism.
Until recently the promoters of independence talked about the supposed economic advantages of secession. On October 5th, former vice president Junqueras minimized the effects of the exit of companies motivated by the process and legal insecurity. More than 1,800 companies have moved their headquarters to other parts of Spain. The economic estimates of the money that has left the region vary, but exceed the most exaggerated accounts of the fiscal imbalance denounced by nationalists. The adventure is turning out to be much more expensive than what, years ago, was presented as reason for leaving Spain. A document written by the team of former vice president Junqueras advocated seeking ‘a democratic conflict of wide citizen support, aimed at generating political and economic instability that forces the state.’ It may be possible to force the state, but it is surprising that a leader seeks to cause political and economic instability when this is going to harm the citizens he represents.
The illegal course of the independence movement cost Catalonia its biggest loss of autonomy in decades. In a particularly surprising twist of plot, pro-independence politicians claimed that the activation of Article 155 would violate the Constitution (which they themselves had violated in the Parliament, along with the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, on September 6th and 7th): who would have thought that Rajoy would become a manufacturer of constitutionalists? But in order to oppose the People’s Party, inside and outside Catalonia, there are those who are willing to do anything: even to defend ‘the regime of 1978’. The crucial thing is not so much that the declaration of independence occurred or not on 10 October: it was a declaration of dependency, tied to the interpretation of the Spanish government.
Image by Scott Wylie.