Maybe I will stop writing about the political situation here because I am getting really stressed and anxious about it! Most of the time, I try to avoid thinking about it. One Facebook page which I used to follow is now removed from my bookmarks and I don't go there now. A post titled "Fascist Spain..." finished me I am afraid. I posted quite a few comments there in the hope of maintaining a respectful and intelligent discussion but the page is very partisan and my hopes were dashed.
I recently wrote a few posts in The Times in response to their leader which suggested that Mariano Rajoy should offer talks. But he has been offering that for a very long time. For a national newspaper, there were surprisingly few posts so I think maybe mine made an impact. In general, the comments there were moderate. Many from the UK of course.
In any case, I have exhaused all the arguments for and aganist, so there is a limit to what I can write now.
Now the battle is moving to the streets - at the moment with fairly peaceful demonstrations - but I fear that people from other parts of Europe will join in, not because they have an interest in Catalunya but because they want a fight. With whom? It doesn't really matter so long as they represent the hated democracy and the rule of law. It is called anarchy. That is what I fear most at the moment.
There are many misconceptions about what is happening here, much of it from people who don't live here - that is OK. But a lot of it is criticism of the central government in Madrid for deploying what was described in The Times as, "Strong-arm tactics". What exactly are they supposed to do? Their whole raison d'être is to administer the Law and their oponent does not respect the Law. Their job is called Democracy - a much-misused word here. If an angry crowd assembled outside Downing Street in London and blocked access, would the police stand idly by and, "Oh well, that is your right to self-expression. Enjoy"? I think not!
I have avoided talking about the case for independence, rather concentrating on the legality of the referendum. But let us look for a moment at the prospect.
It seems gradually to be accepted in the media that leaving Spain would mean leaving the European Union. I knew this a long time ago but gradually it is entering the general concensus. I was talking to a Catalan friend a few days ago and I drew it like a lump of cheese (because Catalunya is shaped like a triangle), being set adrift from Spain... but also the EU. I love to draw!
Then I read in The Times today that even Raül Rovira accepts that the new nation would not be recognised in the world (I went back to read it again because it destroys the whole point of the referendum. I couldn't believe it when first I saw it). Rovira is the Minister for Exterior Affairs. You may wonder why a region of Spain has a Foreign Minister. And he has established embassies in various countries, most recently in Denmark. You may wonder why that has been done too. It is a cheek, rather a mild word in English. An outrage. That's better. In Spanish, descarro. I am paying for Catalan vanity through my taxes.
What about an army, an air-force, navy? What would happen with the (Spanish) train, RENFE, which runs from Barcelona up past the border into France at Cerebère? What would happen with the high-speed train link which tunnels its way through the Pyrenees at Perthus? It carries not only Spanish trains to Perpignan and onward to Toulouse and Lyon but also the sleek French duplex TGV which goes all the way to Paris. I wrote about it in a previous post in this blog.
And how would the nacent nation trade with the rest of the world, outside the EU, with no trade deals? Even if it was recognised as a country.
My opinion is that it would end up as a neat triangle of land somewhere adrift in the Atlantic west of Portugal with no way to trade with the outside world and with no trains, nada. It would float maybe for a short time but then would rapidly sink into the ocean and go bankrupt and me with it.
But, hey! We will be free from Madrid!