Don Quijones, freelance writer, translator in Barcelona, Spain. Editor at WOLF STREET. Mexico is his country-in-law. Raging Bull-Shit is his modest attempt to scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media. This article is a Wolf Street exclusive.
There increasingly appears to be no way forward and no way out of the constitutional spat between Madrid and Catalonia. Rather then addressing the crisis in a proactive manner (i.e. by negotiating with the Catalan government on equal terms), all Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his coterie of ministers and advisors have done is to shoot off one threat after another about the dire consequences Catalonia would face if it were to call a referendum.
For the last two years, Madrid’s only proactive policy has been to sow seeds of discord in Catalonia’s fragile coalition government. In the last week it finally reaped the spoils of its campaign. Without consulting any of his coalition partners, the leader of Catalonia’s regional government, Artur Mas, announced the cancellation of Catalonia’s non-binding referendum on national independence, which had been scheduled for November 9th.
Instead, he said, the government would hold a ‘symbolic’ consultation – one which will basically involve thousands of wholly impartial pro-independence supporters collecting votes on the streets of Catalonia. There will be no voting register, no legal supervision and no control as to who votes and how many times. With no means to prevent ballot-box stuffing, deceased voting or voting with somebody else’s ID, the proposed pseudo-poll can be assigned virtually no legitimacy whatsoever. It is a farce that would risk doing more harm than good to the aspiring nation’s international reputation.
Naturally, Mas’s unilateral declaration has not been well received by his partners in government. At least two members of the four-party coalition, the Catalan Republican Left (now the strongest party in the polls) and Iniciativa, have called for Mas to cancel the mock referendum. They have also demanded that he call an immediate election – and not just any election, but a plebiscite-style one in which voters will be asked to vote for a party based purely on its stance on the independence issue. Once returned to parliament, the new government will call a vote on the issue. If the secessionists win an absolute majority, the parliament will unilaterally declare independence.
A Bottom Up Movement…
This post was published at Wolf Street on October 22, 2014.