Monday, 2 October 2017

The morning after

I started writing this at 5.30am but I often wake up early and then go back to bed. I have a stronger reason today for waking early. Needless to say, I am shocked. With two things. The violence in the streets with the excessive force of the Guardia Civil but also the violence imparted on my life by this illegal act. A cut face will get better but the damage to my life is far greater and will last longer. Not all violence is physical. Ideally, it would have been better to leave it to the Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan police, but they stood by and let it happen, in contravention with their obligation to uphold the law. So they could not be depended on. Imagine something like that happening in the UK, the police taking the side of demonstrators instead of the elected Government in Westminster.

After looking at some of the photos in the UK press, I do note that many of them show demonstrators, not people peacably going to vote, almost all of whom are young guys and they appear to be inciting the Guardia Civil. And many of the injuries in the list were very minor such as anxiety attacks. However I am not in any way attempting to justify some of the violent acts, especially at polling stations which as I said, shocked me but in some cases batons were necessary. And these made great photos for the front pages!
In any case, the pictures beamed around the world are manna from heaven for the Catalan Parliament. I am sure they would not say it publicly but this martyrdom is exactly what they were hoping for. I fear that two wrongs will make a right. These pictures are now being used as a powerful weapon against the Spanish State and the rulings of the Tribunal Constitucional will be lost in the newspaper headlines of a woman being dragged by her hair. I feel abandoned by both sides. (I added a photo of myself because this post is about me and how this vote affects me).

 (Photo, Kyiv, Ukraine)

But things will change and the photos will take second place to the cool hand of law when the new Catalan Republic starts to negotiate its exit from Spain and the European Union with me on board. But will they respect the European laws? Or do they only respect the laws that they like? I own an apartment here so it would be impossible to up-sticks rapidly and move to Spain and running my Meetup groups in Girona is a large part of my life. But there is nowhere in Spain where I would want to live. To get out of Catalunya would mean either going inland (and I like the sea) or going south, maybe to Valencia (but I like being near to France). I had thought of moving to France but I'm not sure it that would be allowed with my UK passport because it is under negotiation following the Brexit referendum. It would be difficult having to learn a new tax system but my French would  improve rapidly. And I would be living in a country with one language. Oh, joy! Somewhere near to Perpignan on the coast side, rather in the way that I do here, just outside Girona. And no Brits I hope because I like to be immersed in the language and culture of where I live. Sorry, I know that sounds snobbish.

At some stage, I may have to get a European passport because I feel European now - I feel abandoned by the UK also following Brexit, the result also skewed by lies (that word, "abandoned" again). It would be far easier for me to get Spanish nationality because I have lived here for 13 years and speak the language. But I guess I could live in France with Spanish nationality because both are in the EU.

And a Spanish passport would enable me to travel to many parts of the world just as my UK passport does at the moment. Incidentally, it comes up for renewal in September next year.

Since it is now becoming a distinct possibility, that I will be stranded in a small country, not recognised by the outside world, let us consider what would happen if Carles Puigdemont (previously mayor of Girona) declares independence. 

I imagine there would be complex negotiations with (a hostile) Spain. Much of the infrastructure here is Spanish, the trains for example. RENFE which runs the trains is Spanish and ADIF is Spanish and they own the track. There is an outstanding debt to Spain and that would have to be paid. There is no army, air force or navy. The list goes on and on and it horrifies me.Where would the money come from to run the new country? International trade depends on trade deals and, being outside the EU, it would have to start from scratch.

As a first step, I am moving my savings from (Catalan) la Caixa to my bank account in Spain. At the moment, of course it is just a symbolic gesture, a protest, because all my regular finances go through la Caixa and the branch is in my village, but it is a move that makes me feel a little better! BBVA is based in Bilbao, in the País Basque, so maybe I should have an account with Caixa Madrid just to be sure! (BBVA = Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argenteria).

I will add more to this post later or start a new post because there are bound to be developments during the day.

(I know this post sounds like martyrdom too but I just feel rather lonely. I could take the train to Madrid and beyond, maybe to Bilbao, join up with Meetup groups there. I have never been there. I have two Meetup groups this week, so I would be free from Wednesday afternoon.)

I added this later. I am watching TV3, a press conference with Carles Puigdemont. As one would expect, much political capital is being made of the horrific images of the Guardia Civil wresting ballot boxes from Catalans when all they want to do is to vote. I cannot believe it is so dumb. Could the Goverment in Madrid not see this coming a million miles away? I am sure this was their biggest fear, but the Guardia Civil is Spanish, under their control. Or maybe not.

I have been writing a lot in comments threads in The Times. Sometimes I write a comment and sometimes I write a reply if someone comments on my comment. One person called Bernie Bear wrote a reply which was really too long to reply to and he started with the comment. "interestingly....." which you can see below. I had a little bit of fun at his expense! I wrote the following in reply:

BernieBear: Thanks for your comment. You wrote, "Interestingly you have not touched on the role of the international community". Actually I went to get some lunch! You raised lots of points but, at some stage, I have to stop replying because I am really stressed over this. I have written more in my blog. I just wrote about the attempted vote in my village.

But people can "like" comments by clicking on "Recommend". Someone "liked" my little joke, his name was familiar, it was the journalist who wrote the original Times article. That made me smile! I always assumed that the writer of articles reads the comments section. But sometimes they get rather petty and personal. The threads that I have taken part in have been well-written in general. Today, 2nd October, the threads have become very long and convoluted. Not so much in response to the leading article which I quite liked. It criticised the heavy-handed tactics of the Guardia Civil but also pointed out that the illegal referendum had no basis in law. After all, this is only happening because of that abuse of the law.

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