Monday, 9 October 2017


I'm sorry, I got rather behind with my blog! All day yesterday, I was in Barcelona! Look! These are all my photos taken with my S6 phone.

Later in this post, there is an interview with the Mayor of Celrà where I ask him about what would happen in a future independent Catatlunya.

 This guy also appeared in some newspapers

This march was organised by Societat Civil Catalana and was a great success, the number of people was far in excess of what the organisers were hoping for. And not a fascist in sight! That is a dig at the media which attempted to vilify the march by mixing in photos of a completely separate and very small march by the far-right. It is true that at one stage they came together (physically but not in opinion!) but only for a short while - they were quite separate but people try to paint the SCC as far-right but in fact it is apolitical, it is not a political party, it is an organisation to bring together people like me. I try to be cool and respectful when talking to people who do not share my opinion but one thing that does make me angry is the attempt to paint the Partidio Popular as far-right and fascist, an extension of the policies of Franco, often by use of manipulation of images on TV and in the press. It is similiar to the Conservative Party in the UK and it would have my vote if I had one just in the same way that I would vote Conservative in the UK. I argued with the Mayor of Celrà about this but I suppose, from the far-left of the CUP, everything appears far away to the right!

It was a wonderfully joyous experience, helped by the amazing weather. I thought it was rather mischievous to insert a picture of fascists in Madrid in the article in The Times. There will always be a small minority of people like that, but there was not a single "francismo" flag in the SCC march (I like the Spanish word, "manifestación", it suggest a kind of coming together). No way was it a "march"! It took us 1 hour to move 50m out of Plaça Urquinanoa, such was the vast throng of people. Various numbers has been discussed, up to 1 million, but the point is that the number vastly exceeded the expectations of the organisers. 

Buses were laid on. There was one coach from Figueres and Girona but it was fully booked so I went on the train like very many others. In any case, the hire of the coach is normally covered by contributions from the occupants. By the way, the high-speed train (AVE) whizzes down from Girona to Barcelona in 37 minutes, so it is quicker than going by road.

An Interview with my Mayor!

Today I rang the Town Hall and asked if I could hold an interview with Dani, the mayor of Celrà. He is CUP, the party on the left of the governing coalition here and staunchly pro-independence. We have always got on well despite our totally opposite views. We had a most interesting conversation and no holds were barred. There was one point when I got up to walk out because he had seen pictures of the two groups in Barcelona and accused the SCC of being far-right, fascist almost. This made me rather annoyed because he kept on pressing the point, by this time we were both on our feet. I insisted time and time again, "Two separate groups"! But it was all courteous and we continued our "interview" standing! In total, we met for about an hour and a quarter which was great! We parted on very good terms, that was so interesting!

I won't go into too many details but we covered all the grievances of the independistas, going back to 1714. We talked about the police violence on 1st October but I was totally in agreement that it was excessive. But I am afraid I preached to him about forgiveness because he still burns with anger about it and it drives the move for independence. This was one of the few times he stopped to listen to me, for most of the time, he did most of the talking. Ha, not a good listener, sometimes he interupted me. I can hold my own, I said, "Escucharme!" At times he spoke in Catalan but most of the time, in Spanish. That must have hurt!

I had brought a large paper pad with me and drew an independent Catalunya as a train leaving a station, its exit driven by all the seething anger and I asked what would happen a few kilometers down the track when the violence was a thing of the past and Catalunya had to make some money. We argued about taxation. I maintained that, because we all live in Spain during the larger part of 2017, the tax would automatically be collected by Spain in June 2018. He disputed this but it is a recognised fact the world over. 

We disagreed of course about the right to self-determination. I said that the UN charter gives this right only to countries under oppression. He argued that Catalunya had been under oppression for many years. I swept my hand towards the window with the sun was shining. There are many parts of the world where the sun does not shine.

I explained how Article 50 worked with Brexit but he thought that it could be applied to Catalunya because it is leaving Spain so I explained that it was quite different. I drew a hypothetical 2 year period following the expected declaration of independence and said that there would be no rules of engagement as with Article 50 but unfortunately I couldn't remember the phrase, even in English. I said before talks started on exit from Spain, the rules would have to be agreed. I used as an example, the size of the table, who takes part, etc. And that would have to be settled before talks started.

I then asked him about the possibility of mediation, possibly by Switzerland or The Vatican. Would Catalunya enter into talks without the pre-condition of independence? He said that, of course, it would be the subject, not flowers! So I asked what his response would be if the mediator come down on the side of Spain and declared Independence a no-go area. But there we reached a slight impasse. It was a kind of chicken and egg situation. In any case, he said that they had a mandate from the people so can't see talks happening, mediated or not. And he says that Rajoy refuses to take part in talks. Not true. What he means is that he will not enter into talks where independence is on the table.

We will see what happens tomorrow. I asked him, "Are you optimistic about a future independent Catalunya?" I explained that I was scared and would move to Valencia. He said with a smile that Valencia would be next. He is half serious but we laughed about it. I wish I had pressed him more about the future because when he talked about it, the subject became woolly and unclear with a conviction that an independent Catalunya would remain in the EU. It would never belong in the first place. I wish I had asked him about the various companies, including my bank, which are planning to move their head office to Spain.

At 2.15 I left and thanked him for his time. He knows Carles Puigdemont because Puigdemont was previously mayor of Girona but he said that he doesn't see him too often now which is hardly surprising! Apart from anything else, he probably stays in Barcelona during the week. I was hoping he would pass on a few tips from me!

1 comment:

  1. You've had a busy time! Very interested and concerned to see what happens tomorrow - Tuesday.