A few days ago the Catalan President, Artur Mas signed a decree for a independence vote to be held on November 9th 2014. Speaking about holding the vote Mas said;
Our roots are deep, as is the strength of our feelings and our will to survive in the future. We want to decide, we want to decide our future for ourselves, and we now have the legal framework and are at the right moment to do it.
Obviously given heart by the turnout in Scotland and the level of engagement there, Mas finally took the plunge on Saturday but officially signing a decree. However, his counterparts in Madrid had other plans, as the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy called the bid to hold a vote illegal and illegitimate to allow a minority to break up the Spanish nation. Rajoy vowed to take the case to the Spanish constitutional court, who have duly backed Madrid and suspended the vote.
So, where does that leave things now?
The Spanish government has offered talks with the Catalan Administration, but only on the condition that it drops its demands for independence. Polls show a solid majority in favour of leaving Spain, with support averaging 54-55% over the last 6 months, in comparision the No side is far behind on around 23-25%.
The Catalan government has vowed to find a way for the vote to go ahead but, how I just do not know.
I know Cameron gets a lot of stick and rightly so, but when you compare his words/actions with Scotland to Rajoy and Catalonia, I know which PM I would rather deal with. Here is an exerpt from Cameron’s remarks after the Scottish vote;
The Scottish National Party (SNP) was elected in Scotland in 2011 and promised a referendum on independence. We could have blocked that; we could have put it off, but just as with other big issues, it was right to take – not duck – the big decision.
I am a passionate believer in our United Kingdom – I wanted more than anything for our United Kingdom to stay together.
But I am also a democrat. And it was right that we respected the SNP’s majority in Holyrood and gave the Scottish people their right to have their say
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs