lecturer in Spanish Law at the University of Sheffield reports:
For many weeks the situation in Catalonia had been extremely delicate. The Catalan government took the nuclear option when it issued a unilateral declaration of independence. For the Spanish government the retaliation was simple: using the constitution to take direct control of some competences of the Catalan government and parliament – usually devolved from Madrid.
Sur in English reports:
Banco Sabadell, one of Spain’s biggest banks, is to move its registered head office out of the region due to customers’ fears following illegal independence vote and general strike. The Constitutional Court has banned the regional parliament meeting planned for Monday when a unilateral declaration of independence could be debated
Sur in English reports:
Carles Puigdemont refuses to deviate from his independence plan while PM Mariano Rajoy rules out considering using a mediator
This weekend Spain appeared to be at its most important crossroads since democracy was restored forty years ago.
Despite attempts by central government to disrupt the unconstitutional referendum on independence organised by the Catalan regional government, the vote which went ahead anyway last Sunday has spurned regional leaders, led by Carles Puigdemont, to carry on with their plan to convert Catalonia into an independent state.
What happens next in Catalonia is likely to be clearer on Monday when the Catalan regional parliament is due to meet for the first time since the illegal vote.
Although Spain’s constitutional court has put a temporary ban on that meeting as well, separatist MPs, who hold a majority, are still expected to attend.
By the way, ”Happy 4th of July” to all my family and friends in the USA. So, you’ve got your own huge problems to sort out but I’m sure you’re proud of the Scots who gave Mr Trump a thoroughly Mexican greeting last week. Get rid of this maniac and we’ll try to get rid of ours.
Tomorrow is the day for British people to vote on whether they want Britain to remain or leave the EU. Many people, wrongly assume, that British people living outside of Britain will vote: remain. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth; the opinion of the international British expat community is as divided as it is in the British Isles.
From my point of view, it’s thought provoking that this single, albeit hugely complicated, issue has divided as well as united people across opposing political and economic ideologies, as well as diverse religions, ethnicities and faiths. Even within business and trade there is no clear voice; some say the farmers want to stay and the fishermen want to leave; big business says stay, smaller companies say leave. Age also isn’t a clear indicator of how you are going to vote although it is said that the younger generations, if it doesn’t rain and they aren’t watching football, will, generally speaking, vote to remain.
The only constant in this referendum campaign is that both sides have behaved despicably; both have used scare tactics, hatred and paranoia to bully, threaten and misinform the general public into voting for their side. This behaviour makes me ashamed to be British and it is far removed from the things about Britain and British people that I admire cherish and love.
Now, if the British community are divided, what does the international community think? Well, in a nutshell, and, very tongue in cheek:
- The French: The EU started without Britain and we will continue without them.
- The Germans: Britain; it’s a weak nation with under-performing processes, waste, and a rubbish football team.
- The Italians: We hate the British, they have no sense of style, they are not good-looking and they can’t make coffee. However, we love David and Victoria Beckham.
- The Spanish: Stay; united we are stronger. But, if you vote no, we’re not going to like you.
- The USA: So, are you saying that Europe is a continent and that London isn’t Europe? Anyway, we don’t care about your tiny insignificant little European bubble we’ve got far more pressing issues with who’s going to be the next president.
- Russia: We are not interested. It is not of our concern.
- The Irish: The Brits are such a crac; they say stupid things, they don’t know a potato from a cabbage and despite the fact that they kept bombing us and stealing our women we want you .
If you want to know more about British Culture, then check out:
I have written a lot about what it means to be British ( British culture 1) (British Culture 2 ) and at the moment this very idea is at the forefront of people’s minds while they contemplate the pros and cons of the UK being a member of the European Union.
So, is the UK in, or is the UK out?
Well, evidently, opinion is divided and even politicians from the same political parties have contradictory opinions. From my point of view, the jury is out and I’m looking forward to hearing some convincing arguments over the next few months to help me make up my mind. With this in mind, the four key factors of this debate appear to be:
- Trade and economics
- Immigration and emigration
- Self –governance and autonomy
- National security and surveillance
So, what’s your feeling? Should the UK be in, or should it be out?
Today is the day to use your voice and vote with your head.
The polls have been open for a few hours and the ballot boxes are ready to accept your vote. That’s right, after months of political party campaigns, fantastical political storytelling and a lot of backstabbing and finger-pointing it’s time to exercise your democratic right to vote. And, in my book, you should vote with your head and not with your heart.
So, the things I have been thinking about include:
- Economic reform to support sole traders and the new generation of entrepreneurs
- Educational reform which moves away from standardisation and puts teachers at the policy table
- Infrastructural reform to support gender equality and racial, cultural and religious tolerance
- Financial commitment to medical and scientific research and development
- Practical measures to eradicate corruption and nepotism
Scotland has rejected the opportunity to become an independent country in a referendum that saw record levels of participation.
Whatever your opinion of the result, today is a day to celebrate the democratic process of referendums. We must not forget that unfortunately, the right to vote, for many is a coveted privilege and not, as many people think, an unalienable human right.
Today is a landmark day in modern political history and I for one can already smell the wine. Today I feel alive; today is the day to celebrate our differences and our similarities.