Yesterday, a referendum was held in Catalonia, in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, to decide whether the region should become independent of the Spanish State. To try to prevent this legitimate expression of speech, the Spanish State has used every device it can, finally unleashing its National Police and Civil Guard — whose reputation for brutality is notorious — to prevent people casting a vote. It’s the sort of thing one does not readily associate with a modern State which allegedly, conforms to the rules of membership of the European Union
Should we be surprised to have witnessed the scenes of extreme violence and brutality inflicted on the citizens of Catalonia this Sunday? No, we should not.
I remember Spain under Franco. It was a Police State. The Civil Guard, Spain’s paramilitary police force, were universally loathed. And so they should have been; they were the cudgels of the State, answerable only to Generalissimo Franco.
In the little white-painted town of Santa Westminstera, havoc had broken out.
The town was ruled by two gangs of ruthless bandits. But both of these had begun fighting amongst themselves. The rule of the bosses had collapsed and anarchy reigned. Of the fabled heroes, Los Companeros de Mishcon de Reya, there was no sign.
In an adobe house in the main street huddled one of the last remaining families. Little Angelina was cuddling into her grandfather’s chest.
‘Oh papacito, what will become of us?’ she sobbed.
A fell cauld wind wis sauchin ower the muir as the bonny wumman gart her wey tae tryst her jo. For the necht wis Februar the fowerteen, an aabody kens at’s the necht for luve.
She wis winsome eneuch, tho the first blush o youth, it maun be said, was left ahent her a lang while syne. A body mecht hae speirit at himsel how comes a lass o sic natral attractions hidnae been wad this mony a lang year.
At last she reached the spot ablow an auld aik whaur she an her jo hiv met this necht mony mair years nor either of them wad care tae hink on. Her jo wis aaready there, a puckle fashit, ye mecht hink, wi the wye he wis stridin up an doon, his een flashin faniver he luikit up.
“Ah, here you are, at last,” he intoned, as the lass presented hersel.
Featured Image: Restenneth Priory, Forfar, Angus, Scotland. Pic by Rod Fleming
The Brexit mirror cracked from side to side under the weight of simple, sheer reality this week.
The fissure in the Brexit mirror began to appear when Norway’s Foreign Minister told the world that no, the UK could not re-enter the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) just because it fancied the idea. The UK was a founder member of EFTA but left as a condition of joining the then EEC in 1973. Re-entry, however, would require unanimous approval from the remaining members and Norway is agin the idea. It’s not the only one to show reluctance.
The first signs of widespread panic amongst the UK’s hard-right, swivelly-eyed Brexiteers have begun to appear. In our last Friday Politics we pointed out that Brexit, as promised by the triumvirate of swivelly-eyed-ness, Johnson, Gove and Farage, is dead. It can’t happen. Now that realisation has got through to those whose eyes are usually so swivelly they can’t read a Daily Mail headline.
The reality that Brexit could not be delivered became apparent even in the hours after the result. Why did David Cameron, the then Prime Minister, resign? He didn’t have to. He had fought a solid campaign and had been honourably beaten. He had said that he would not resign whatever the result.
Cameron probably realised that he could not deliver the result that had been asked for. His departure was the first indication that Brexit was already on life support. Continue reading “Brexit is dead.”
Who governs Britain is the question we must now answer.
One week ago, the British people voted in favour of leaving the European Union.
The voters gave their opinion. That is all they did. But by doing so they provoked a Constitutional crisis for the United Kingdom, which may yet turn into an existential one. The question is no longer about Europe; the question today is simply ‘Who governs Britain?’
On Thursday this week, the people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will vote in a crucial referendum. For the first time in over 40 years, they will have the chance to express a view about the European Union (EU). To decide, in fact, whether they wish to remain a part of it or not.
(This post was updated on 24 September 2018. It seems just as apposite today, even though the Referendum this referred to was held and the UK voted to leave the EU. But the grasping tendrils of this thoroughly undemocratic, bureaucratic organisation still attempt to stifle our freedom.)
At root the question being asked in the referendum is this and only this: do the benefits of being a part of the EU count for more than the loss of sovereignty that it has entailed? Has it delivered democracy, powerful economic growth and security in sufficient measure to make up for its centralisation of power?