Catalonia: the Moral Imperative Spain Can’t Answer

The latest trend in El País/the internet/Twitter is to publish innumerable articles ‘debunking’ the ‘myths’ of the independence referendum campaign in Catalonia. And every time one of these is published, there’s a temptation to try to debunk the debunking. Answer it with more facts.

The truth is that these articles are a distraction. It doesn’t matter whether Catalonia has ever been an independent state. It probably was in 1641 but who cares? It’s a red herring. This is a moral question and opponents of the referendum have made no effort to engage with the moral question because they have no arguments.

What’s really important is that it is right and fair that Catalans can vote to decide their political future. None of the opposition arguments, with their revisionism and legalese, their focus on process and judicial decisions, their twisted interpretation of the meaning of democracy, engages with the moral imperative at the heart of this question.

8 thoughts on “Catalonia: the Moral Imperative Spain Can’t Answer

  1. Totally agree. Let there be a binding vote and then present all the arguments about the past, about the future of Catalan state, etc. Currently, the response to Catalan grievances focuses on the legal aspects. If there’s a will, there’s a way. The constitution was changed quite easily in 2011 and can be changed now as well.

  2. I got the impression last week that the issue is dead for a lot of nationalist voters – far fewer separatist flags on display last week than on less important occasions on the past, and less angry conversations – perhaps weariness has set in. (Have you already contributed to Arturo’s bond?)

    1. Did you spend all your time in the W hotel? Seriously, though you must know that only Russian property developers and Brazilian narcos live in the centre nowadays.

  3. Hi Tom, nice blog, very interesting views. I’m Dutch, recently moved to BCN enjoying a sabbatical (no complaints whatsoever) … I’ve worked in the City and witnessed Brexit vote from a trading floor thinking it was a 1 off historic event, how wrong was I huh?
    Obviously as an economist my perspective is different, I don’t know much about the social & historic background here in Spain yet (I’ve started with Carlos V’s biography so patience is required). But I agree with Bill Clinton that ultimately ‘its about the economy, stupid’. And, conversations I’ve been having with secessionists confirm this, the majority of arguments is centred around what a bad deal they get from Madrid. They use big – conveniently – round numbers and there’s lots of double counting. Who knows what the real numbers are, its clear Catalunya is a significant net contributor. But its hard to deny that these arguments reveal a very selfish motive: they don’t want to carry the dead weight of their Andalusian brothers anymore (of course, to a lesser extend there’s also a ‘let me drive, I ‘m a better driver than you’ element towards Madrid). Doesn’t it appear a bit Trumpesque with tax cuts for his wealthy buddies..? Or picture the rich German industrialist complaining about those lazy Portuguese who keep needing financial bailouts (to buy more German export products)?
    Spain & EU are far from perfect, both need proper reforms. But you can’t deny all the benefits Spain gets from Brussels? Infrastructure subsidies, tech investments into 22@Barcelona, youth employment projects. If I then ask how they imagine life outside of Spain and the EU (aware its not a majority that wants an independent state) with a debt to gdp ratio 3rd only to Japan & Greece and that’s before the economy shrinks by anything between 10-25%..? Most secessionists have this romantic idea of returning to the old days but hello there’s this thing called globalisation?! Stand alone, Catalunya is just a marginal overindebted economy.
    Not sure if Puigdemont and his staff have thought this through in all required detail (perhaps they’ve had enough of experts too?) I don’t claim to have the answers but one needs to try to understand the true risks… I can’t help thinking of Puigdemont as just another ruthlessly ambitious politician using poorly informed crowd to advance his own personal agenda? Oh and did you see the UK construction PMI just went firmly into recession territory…?
    Anyways, lets hope things will calm down and some sort of compromise is found… keep up the blogs!

  4. There are some questions that obviously most Catalans believe to know the answer but most probably they’re wrong!
    1- Barcelona FC… will NOT (probably) play in LA LIGA (nor in any other sports in Spain or Europe)… what are they gonna do for money? Same for the all the “smaller clubs” in the region
    2- All the income from the port (that right now brings a lot of $$$) will be reduced DRAMATICALLY since Spain would charge MORE duties to anything crossing Catalonia and Cartagena will become the “new port” in the Mediterranean.
    3- They saw what happened to England and the brexit… WHAT do they think it will happen to them?? If at least they would have done it like Scotland did (with time), then it would be another matter.

    I have many more questions but… I think that economically, if they think those points are wrong… I disagree with them… I hope that sane minds prevail.

  5. This is a message adress to the world: help us, deliver us from this fascist regime! They are imprisoning innocent pacific people!!! You cannot close your eyes to what’s happening to Catalonia. Help us please!

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