Brian Wilson: Spain isn’t a fascist dictatorship suppressing Catalonia

Glasgow University's rector, Aamer Anwar, should take a history course, says Brian Wilson (Picture: John Devlin)
Glasgow University's rector, Aamer Anwar, should take a history course, says Brian Wilson (Picture: John Devlin)
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Theresa May marked World Suicide Prevention Day with a tweet which said: “Seventeen per cent of people will experience suicidal thoughts in their lifetime – and if you are worried about someone, step in and ask if you can help.”

If Mrs May’s unexceptionable comments encouraged a single individual to think or to act, then they would have served their purpose.

Aamer Anwar, high-profile lawyer and rector of Glasgow University, thought otherwise and tweeted in response: “The irony of the leader of barbaric, twisted & evil UK Government daring to talk about suicide on World Suicide Prevention Day.”

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This offensive outburst was subsequently deleted in the face of hostile comment. By then, Anwar was off to Barcelona to address a Catalan Nationalist rally. Predictably, he could not see a top without going over it.

General Franco, he declared, would be “proud of modern Spain” which was behaving like a “fascist dictatorship”, using methods of “state terrorism” to suppress Catalonia. It was an incredibly insulting rant against “modern Spain” in general and Catalans who oppose independence in particular.

Someone should tell Mr Anwar that Spain is a flourishing democracy which has recently acquired a centre-left government. It has been Europe’s leading liberal reformer on an array of social issues. Its state broadcaster even gives space to rabble-rousing tourists like ... well, Mr Anwar.

He seems to think the conflict which divided Spain was based on nationality and had the cheek to use the phrase “No Pasaran” which was the cry of all Spaniards who defended besieged Madrid against the military might of Franco’s forces.

Perhaps Mr Anwar could be offered a history course at Glasgow University before he embarrasses Scotland further.

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