An independence referendum has been called by the authorities in the Spanish province of Catalonia. It was scheduled to take place today. The Government in Madrid did not agree to the vote and so has declared it illegal. On this basis, the Guardia Civil have been deployed to deal with the situation in their own inimitable manner, which means there have been a series of often violent clashes, mainly in the city of Barcelona.
Barcelona, seen from Montjuic
As this is an internal matter for a member state, the EU declared several days ago that it would not be intervening. The Independent has reported “The European Union has signalled it is unlikely to intervene in the crisis unfolding in Spain over Catalan independence, saying it must respect the constitution of the country” while noting “one of the country’s worst political crises since Spain’s return to democracy in the 1970s”.
That, though has not troubled any of those out there who seek to blame the EU for anything that happens in any member state, such as pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins claiming “These are peaceful elderly Spanish citizens. Trying exercise their right to vote. The EU is a savage”. Not to be outdone was the Leave EU gang, who warned their gullible Twitter followers “Democracy, EU-style”. And there was more.
“Spanish democracy ordained by the EU. Voter intimidation & police brutality. No wonder #Catalonia wants independence” suggested one paranoid Trump fan. Another routine specimen of idiocy from Switzerland claimed this was “EU men at work”. And UKIP MEP Diane James claimed “The EU allowing Spain to continue acting aggressively towards Catalonia is setting a very dangerous precedent for the other Member States”.
She had, very revealingly, been sharing her thoughts with Russian state broadcaster RT. But the tide of ignorance and paranoia was unrelenting. “Knock Knock .. It's #EU #Fascism coming to attack #Democracy … Sanitised images of Catalonia on the BBC news - perhaps old ladies weren't having their heads caved in by EU police thugs after all? … The scenes you see in #Catalonia right now will be carried out by an #EU army not Spanish police under EU orders, heed the warning signs”. Wibble.
Could it get more misinformed? As if you need to ask. “Mass violence and Francoist repression in Catalonia today - rubber stamped by the EU. Inspiring resilience by the people”. Francoist? Did they disappear people overnight and use live ammunition? And there was one last stupid: “Catalonia has been pushing for independence for decades, its people do not want to be part of Spain anymore let alone an EU Superstate”.
Very good. Catalonia wants to remain in the EU. But an independent Catalonia would get vetoed not just by Spain, but by France. After all, historic Catalonia includes Roussillon, which is in France. Like the Basque Country, Catalonia straddles the border.
The EU is still not behind what is happening today in Catalonia. That will not stop the misinformed and paranoid from pretending that it is. The only surprise is that Nigel “Thirsty” Farage hasn’t started whining about the Brezhnev Doctrine yet. Give him time.