Cast your mind back a year to the Scottish independence referendum. Whether your side came out on top or not I bet there are very few folk who would now say it shouldn’t have happened. It led to a carnival-like atmosphere at places like Buchanan Galleries and Edinburgh’s meadows, it got people young and old interested and engaged. It was also a triumph of democracy and peacefulness with the only real casualties being an egg and a bit of Jim Murphy’s dignity as he shouted and bawled atop an Irn Bru crate.
The people of Catalonia want a referendum on independence from Spain and the spectacular scenes in the area with over 1 millions people marching and waving the Catalan flag, the Estalada, prove this beyond doubt. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has stuck to his guns on refusing a referendum. They did it anyway, the result was a landslide for independence but it was not binding and a huge section of those who would have voted no stayed away, possibly to prove the point the vote was worthless.
Other European leaders have backed Rajoy with some fearing it will increase the calls for independence in places like, Basque and South Tyrol. It’s quite hard to gauge if the Scottish referendum had such an effect on other areas.
Tomorrow Catalonia goes to the polls again. Not in a fully legal and binding referendum on independence but in an election to the local government which is currently run by Artur Mas’ pro independence CDC party. They have joined with other smaller parties that support independence to form Junts Pel Si (together for yes) and hope to get a majority for independence in the Catalan parliament. Current polling seems to suggest it could be possible but it will be a close run thing. They will need to secure 68 seats and if they were to get this they will make moves towards a unilateral declaration of independence.
They have already been given similar warnings to what ‘project fear’ used in Scotland last year such as what currency they would use, being removed from the EU and even Barcelona being chucked out of Spain’s La Liga.
All theses elections and non binding referendums are a very long way for a short cut. The reasons Caralonia should be allowed a referendum are very simple, they want it and surely it is a democratic right to be allowed such a vote if the majority of people want it.
Can you imagine the reaction if David Cameron had repeatedly denied us a referendum?