This is a follow-up to my previous article about the crisis in Catalonia.
I originally wrote what follows below to answer the last comment to the above article by reader ‘Liberas’, who said that the Scottish referendum was legal and agreed by the UK government, unlike the Catalan referendum. He then put the case of: what if there was an unagreed referendum for independence by the “City of London”? Presumably what he really meant was not the Square Mile with its Lord Mayor, but Greater London with the Mayor Sadiq Khan, who I gather had said he might like London to leave the UK if necessary so as to stay in the EU.
In any case, I’d expect that if a local government in the UK at any level tried to set up an unagreed “independence referendum” for a territory under its administration, in all probability a UK government would simply treat it as a glorified opinion poll. Even if the Independence side won the ballot, there would then be some debate in the media, perhaps even in Parliament, but for all practical purposes, the result would simply be ignored, and life would carry on as normal.
Somebody might even make a comedy film about it, like “Passport to Pimlico”. Private Eye would run a special edition. This is the British way. Unfortunately, as remarked by John Cleese in Fawlty Towers, over there in the Napoleonic State “they have absolutely no sense of humour”.
I really do not think that armed riot-police battalions would be sent in by any British government just to stop people from voting.
Of course if an “independence movement” involved armed fighters, this would be considered terrorism and would be met with force (as were the troubles in Northern Ireland).
But in Catalonia there has been no suggestion of armed rebellion by the Catalans against Madrid (unlike in the Basque country). They are merely using political means to express their wishes. And yet Madrid has sent in its heavy squad, who attacked crowds of civilians, leaving 850 wounded on the terrain, amongst them ordinary, even elderly, people who just wanted to go and vote.
We shall see today, Monday 16th October, how Puigdemont, the Catalan PM, responds to Rajoy’s deadline: it is the day he must clarify whether his “suspended declaration of independence” is intended for real or not.
If he says it is for real, or if he does not respond, then Madrid will most likely invoke article 155 of the Spanish Constitution and install direct rule over Catalonia, revoking all the powers of the local government. We read that Puigdemont himself could face arrest and imprisonment. This will doubtless be accompanied by a show of force – more armed Guardia Civil units, and possibly the Spanish army, on the streets, to deter mass protests, and Madrid may also declare martial law just to make sure. At that point the situation could degenerate, even as far as civil war.
We need to watch how the Spanish State deals with the Catalans, for we see there the similar motivations and the anger of Brussels when dealing with the UK, which had a referendum to break away from the EU, like the Catalans want to break away from Spain.
We Brits regard the EU as a treaty, almost entirely for trade purposes, amongst sovereign states, which a signatory is free to leave at will. In sharp contrast, Brussels regards the EU itself as a Sovereign State in the making, where the member states will be as provinces, and they are just as furious with the Brits for wanting to break away as Madrid is with the Catalans. Only, unlike Madrid, they do not have their own paramilitaries to send onto our territory to restore their rule. Hence their impotent rage, and their expressed desire to “punish” us in any way they can.
We must thank our lucky stars (and a few individuals who saw the danger at the time and sounded the alarm) that the EU’s ‘Corpus Juris’ project was not accepted by Britain when it was first proposed 20 years ago, for it would have established criminal law control by Brussels over all Europe including Britain. It would have enabled the EU Public Prosecutor’s writ to run in our land, and would surely have led swiftly to the EU’s own enforcement agents – Europol and the lethally-armed paramilitary EuroGendarmerie Force – being stationed on our soil.
Our position vis-a-vis Brussels would have been almost exactly like that of the Catalans today vis-a-vis Madrid.
And it may yet come to that. The European Arrest Warrant is the grappling iron with which Brussels is already establishing direct, physical, forcible, control over anybody in Britain.
And our idiotic, purblind (to be charitable, otherwise I would say treasonous) government, while ostensibly “leaving the EU”, is focussing all our minds exclusively on the financial, migrational and commercial aspects of this. But at the same time, it openly intends to keep us within the EAW and membership of Europol, it has already declared its willingness to allow “special intervention units” from the EU to set foot on British soil (see the Home Office reply to Parliamentary Question by Dominic Raab MP in June 2012), and under a smokescreen of “ensuring security” while cutting our defence budget, it appears to be favouring the merging of our own armed forces into a European Army in the making.
Once this process is complete, we shall be completely defenceless. Brussels will be able to snuff out our independence at will, just as Madrid will soon extinguish that of Catalonia.
Since UKIP’s new leader has considerable experience in security matters, may we expect him soon to make a public pronouncement on the government’s stated intention to have a new “Security Treaty” with the EU which will maintain all existing security and military arrangements and more, and will continue indefinitely into the future?
I understand that some members of our armed forces are already expressing considerable concern.
BTW, for some light relief, here is a clip from “Passport to Pimlico”, Britain’s own Catalonia: perhaps Sadiq Khan should watch it, if he wants to take London out of the UK and into the EU …
UPDATE 1: Puigdemont wrote a letter to Rajoy, calling for a dialogue. He did not clarify wether Catalonia was now independent or not, according to this article. (Viv)
Update 2: Here is the latest, in The Express. Quote from that link:
“Catalonian’s president Carles Puigdemont has refused to say whether he has declared independence or not as Spain has accused the region of “prolonging uncertainty” and has given them until Thursday to give a clear answer.”
They are both kicking the can a little further down the road. Puigdemont playing for time, and Rajoy aware that critical eyes across the world are on him after his police’s violence on 1st October. (TDE)
Update 3: I think Puigdemont is simply batting the ball back into Rajoy’s court. If he says openly “No, we are not actually independent” that would look like backsliding and his own supporters would desert him (he runs a coalition). If he says “Yes, we are independent now”, that would sound provocative, and in the eyes of many (especially in Spain, and other Napoleonic states) it would justify Rajoy cracking down hard on him.
Instead he is sticking to his guns and saying “We want to sit down and discuss it with you”. This makes it more difficult for Rajoy; if he responds by sending in the tanks, he will look like the Soviets brutally suppressing Hungary in 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968. And if Brussels backs Rajoy even then, it will really look like the reborn USSR, as I think Gorbachov himself once said it was.
So Rajoy replies by extending his deadline to Thursday, which looks a bit weak. I expect Puigdemont will give the same reply then. At that point Rajoy will either have to send in the tanks, or sit down and talk to him. I can’t quite see him doing the latter, it would look like a cave-in. After all King Philip VI made a very stern uncompromising speech. (TDE)