As the Catalan crisis intensifies, it will prove a bitter and deterring lesson on the dangers of petty nationalism. Viewed in this light, Scottish nationalist support for Catalan independence is brutally ironic.
The ghosts of the Spanish civil war, in which Catalonia chose the republican side, are not far away. For example, Spain’s feared gendarmerie, the Guardia Civil, which could soon be deployed, still uses the fasces as a symbol. With Spain having already replaced Catalan police chiefs, it would not take much for violence to break out, and in the current euphoric state of Catalan nationalism to spread beyond easy control.
Even without violence, we are already beginning to see the economic consequences of the disputed referendum with banks and other major corporations moving their legal domiciles out of Catalonia. The uncertainly will now lead to investment in Catalonia drying up.
The behaviour of the European Union, which should have played the role of an honest mediator in this conflict, has been cynical and short-sighted. As the EU focuses on Catalonia, a hard Brexit becomes ever more likely, and the SNP narrative on Europe loses its remaining credibility.
For Catalonia I feel very sad, but for Scotland I am delighted.
Scotland’s ‘respect’ for Catalonia is not an isolated case
While Scotland currently seemingly stands alone in “respecting” the decision taken by the Catalan parliament in declaring independence, it is interesting to look at some historic parallels.
In February 1991 Iceland’s parliament voted to recognise independence for Lithuania from the Soviet Union and instructed the government to set up diplomatic ties as soon as possible.
In addition to Scotland’s respecting the decision on Catalan independence, a motion is to be submitted to the Finnish parliament by the country’s MP for Lapland, Mikko Karna, calling on Finland to officially recognise Catalonia as an independent republic.
Indications from Slovenia and Argentina are that they too will support independence for Catalonia.
While the European Union stands idly by, its failure to intervene in Catalonia and deliver a diplomatic solution is leading to ruptures within the bloc as nations inevitably take the decision on whether or not to recognise Catalan independence.
Uncertainty over EU citizens’ rights remain
EU citizens must have been consoled and delighted by reading Boris Johnson’s latest assurances to Polish people living in the UK that their rights will be protected.
But was his pledge true, or is Boris picking up the political style of President Trump, tweeting things people want to hear but cannot count on? To do so in the case of EU citizens residing here would be cruel. So who should they believe? The Foreign Secretary or the Prime Minister? The Government cannot count on a serious negotiation with EU representatives unless they can rely on what our leaders and senior ministers say.
Stop bashing so-called NHS ‘bed blockers’
Am I alone in finding the continuing use of the term ‘bed blocker’ deeply offensive?
It conjures an image of irritating nuisances. People occupying hospital beds rather than being at home are in need of care (in the wider sense, if not directly) and should not be described in the stigmatising way they are.
As others have noted, and in my own early nursing experience in the 1970s and 1980s, there was no shortage of convalescent beds for dischargeable patients.
Dr Anthony Ingleton
Londoners are not unfriendly
I am proud to be a Londoner. Born here and still live here.
Unfriendly? No. Reserved? Yes.
Will I start a conversation with a stranger? No.
If a stranger asked me for advice on somewhere to visit or someone to eat or drink, I would gladly provide lots of helpful information based on my experience. I would never make the first move though.
Urgent need for second Brexit referendum
May and Davis’s inability to answer the question of whether or not MPs will be granted an opportunity to vote on the final deal before the UK leaves the EU merely illustrates what a gargantuan fiasco the whole Brexit process is fast becoming. Even determined Brexitheads must by now be clear that they are not going to get whatever the heck it was that they thought they were voting for, despite all their harping on about the “will of the people”.
The simple truth of the matter is this: those who allowed themselves to be duped by lies on the side of a bus and the blustering windbaggery of Nigel Farage at least expected that they were going to get themselves a deal negotiated by Cameron and Osborne: two politicians who, no matter what you might think of them personally, were heavyweight political players who offered considered and reasoned opinions and who were eminently capable of international diplomacy.
Alas, what they and we have ended up with instead is Theresa May, a Prime Minister who is desperately out of her depth (as must be abundantly clear to everyone, both on these shores and abroad); Boris Johnson, a Foreign Secretary who behaves like a court jester and who embarrasses us each and every time he opens his mouth; the previously disgraced Liam Fox, who simply doesn’t appear able to even comprehend the scale of the task that he’s been appointed to; and David Davis, who can hardly even be bothered to pretend that there’s any chance of us achieving a positive outcome anymore.
Only those too blinkered by their own arrogance and ignorance to acknowledge these obvious truths can possibly still support our upcoming act of national harakiri. A second referendum is urgently needed while there is still some chance that we can salvage any vestige of our international reputation and standing.
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