“We will vote” ‘We will vote” is the cry from the thousands of demonstrators in cities and towns across Catalonia.
The Spanish Government reaction? to send its para military Gaurdia Civil to implement the letter of the constitutional law.
The Spanish constitutional law which the outcome of the putative Catalonian referendum would bring into doubt.
Putting aside the case for Catalonian independence for a moment, one has to say that process of separation between region and state is now already underway.
Not least because of the tactics and strategy of Rajoy’s central government which has played directly into the hands of the separatists, who will exploit the voting prohibition enforced by a civil guard who will be characterised as an outside occupying force.
The image of Robo Cop style police man handling middle class, middle aged citizens of Barcelona and Gerona will not play well to TV audiences whether in Catalonia itself or across the rest Europe.
Worse the situation disseminated on TV has now alerted avery carpet bagging anarchist and political agitator across the Western world.
Barcelona is a cool and romantic place for a revolution civil war or even war of independence.
Now the gauntlet has been laid down the agitati will now flock to Catalonia in the hundreds if not thousands.
They will ally with the activists who will accept them with the naivety of enthusiastic flattered by the support of perceived fellow travellers and these elements will professionalise the unrest and turn it into a revolt.
The turning point will be the first death of a demonstrator or demonstrators of course and one wonders f it could not have been avoided by the central government by simply refusing to rise to the bait.
Hardline Basques from both sides of the Spanish border will provide the shock troops who can form guerrilla units to harass the Gaurdia Civil.
Desertions from an already flaky Mossos Esquadras will swell the military element to the conflict.
The Catalonian politicians who instigated the whole movement for independence will be superseded by the elements with military clout as they lose credibility to deal with the task in hand.
The Spanish military will never allow Catalonia to leave Spain after six hundred years in the Kingdom without a fight.
Even as the politicians in Madrid order proportionality in any military response to secessionist operations, the colonels within the military will not be expected to hold back.
The apparatchics and technocrats of the EU will watch in horror as the whole tragedy unravels in slow motion with no meaningful analysis or policy response to a situation that has been festering under everybody’s noses for years.
Bringing further into question the purpose and utility of the Supra state construct when confronted by an existentialist challenge to its structure.
The desire for independence has its roots in a weak central government, economic disparity with the rest of Spain and a long standing awareness of a linguistic and cultural identity that has never been rewarded with nation status.
Though the Central government actions to disrupt the referendum process may have had legal legitimacy, they will have only served to inflame passions of those attempting to vote. More so with the first reported injuries to protestors
The actions will serve to provide a further grievance culture for the separatists who feel they also have legitimacy in exercising their rights within a liberal democracy and their perceived rights to self determination.
The whole irony is that if the referendum was allowed to take place, the separatists would not necessarily have won the vote or at least not by a big enough margin to legitimise independence.
One hopes that the excesses described above do not take shape and become reality, but recent events in Spain have followed a classic template of unbridled separatist ambition and a clumsy repressive response.
Shades here of the Dublin Post Office siege and repression of Syrian protests against Assad.
We can only be thankful there is no religious dimension to any putative conflict between Nationalists and Separatists.
By Nigel Pivaro