Unfortunately, today in the world when you hear “Catalonia”, the first thing that comes to mind is “independence” or “politics”. Not much is being said about this wonderful city that Barcelona is, the beautiful coast of Costa Brava, how good athletes Catalans are or their culinary skills.
And this is because their politicians are showing one of the characteristics most commonly associated to Catalans, the love for money. I’m not going to say greed, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but they have a thing with the money.
There’s always been an independent movement in Catalonia, but until a couple of years ago, it was always a 15-20% thing. The majority of Catalans has never been interested in not being part of Spain. But their politicians decided that there’s much more profit in being president of your own country than just a regional leader. So they’ve seen a great opportunity in this minority and they put the machine to work.
First things first, the control of the media is key. TV3, the main regional TV channel, was integrated into the secessionist machine. With their own important media (plus some additional tabloids) politicians started working on convincing their people that “Spain is stealing from us”, “Spain is evil”, “independence is the solution”.
Apart from their own acts, it has to be said that the Spanish government has kind of helped too. The ruling party at the time, the PP (Partido Popular), hasn’t handled the situation precisely well. Sending the police to block the voting locals and struggle against voters, was not the brightest idea.
The overall situation in Spain, including Catalonia, doesn’t help either. Unemployment, corruption, saddening sides of the Spanish culture, such as bullfighting, etc., have made it very easy for the Catalan authorities to make Spain look like an inferior country, like an anchor that slows Catalan’s progress down.
And yet, since the beginning of whole movement, the most optimistic (for secessionists) polls are giving figures slightly over 50% in favor of the independence. In fact, this is not everyday. It varies frequently, each new survey shows different results, swinging from fiftyish to fortymuch. So depending of the week, the little news that might have happened in between and which direction the wind blows, the YES to independence go from majority to minority. Even having Catalan politicians in jail for a year now is not increasing significantly anything.
the message from the secessionists is not that they want the independence, but that they want to vote in a referendum and find out if they want to be independent or not. Although the Spanish constitution, voted also by the Catalans only 40 years ago, does not consider the division of the country, I would personally find it legit if the support was higher. However, with the results that polls show and for so little time, how can you trust the outcome of a referendum today? If celebrated tomorrow, 52% will say yes, if celebrated next week, 46% will say yes. The final outcome will be decided by people that still won’t know what to vote on their way to the ballots.
It occurs to me that this would not be a standard voting, we wouldn’t be deciding who’s going to rule the country for the next 4 years. We are talking about breaking a country, breaking Europe, creating a new state, setting a precedent in the European’s path. This cannot be decided by people that won’t know what to vote when they have to. It could make sense if the polls show 80% in favor for some years, but definitely not now.
Talking about Europe, that’s one surprising thing! Catalan secessionists do want to stay in Europe. The EU states that by leaving a EU country, the new country will become automatically a non-EU country and will have to apply to become member…which would happen only if 100% of the members vote in favor. Is that going to happen? Obviously not. Spain will vote against and so will all other countries with some similar movements, such as UK, France, Germany or Italy. No balcanization, please.
The Catalan movement is the nightmare of Europe, and yet secessionists are still dreaming of being a new EU state. Catalan authorities have been lying to their people saying that EU will welcome Catalonia with open arms, but I can’t understand how come some are buying it. Merkel and company have been explaining loud and clear how does this work.
Coming back to the percentages, and to finish this post, my conclusion is that the people in Catalonia do not want to be independent. The Catalan authorities have dedicated their whole time, effort and resources the last years to promote this idea…and they have failed. polls showing results slightly above 50% when hot moments happen is not reliable.
I have no doubts that, as soon as the news from Spain will improve slightly, and the sensation of belonging to this country will be a bit more exiting, or the Catalan politicians will stop manipulating, the will for independence will sink again and go back to normal.