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Postcard from... Barcelona


It is World Cup year, and that can mean only two things: crushing disappointment for England fans (our own fault for believing the impossible) and taxi drivers everywhere displaying faux patriotism by attaching plastic St George’s crosses to their cabs.

Flags are on display in Barcelona all the time, where nationalist fervour runs deep. Many – and a growing number if activists are to be believed – want independence for Catalonia from the rest of Spain, and the Catalan flag hangs from many buildings in what would be the capital of a new  state. But don’t expect them to be waved wildly if, like at the last World Cup, Spain triumphs. Despite a squad packed with  players from Barcelona Football Club, Catalans are snooty when it comes to the national team. “If Spain wins, so what? You’ll certainly not see people celebrating in the streets here,” said one.

Catalans have their own language and traditions, but for now the Spanish government won’t allow them a referendum, even though the regional government in Barcelona has agreed a November date.

If the poll does go ahead and backs secession, expect plenty of flag-waving in Barcelona – certainly much more than if Spain triumph in Brazil.