Brian Wilson: There’s a sinister side to Sturgeon’s new Catalan friend

Nicola Sturgeon chats with the Catalan President, Quim Torra, at Bute House (Picture: Getty)
Nicola Sturgeon chats with the Catalan President, Quim Torra, at Bute House (Picture: Getty)
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To general relief, the Spanish courts have abandoned pursuit of international arrest warrants for the ringleaders in the Catalan referendum, thereby sparing us months of martyred grandstanding.

Our own resident fugitive, Carla Ponsati, can now decide of her own free will whether to continue doing whatever she does in St Andrews or return to face the music. As an academic, she had doubtless researched the legal implications of her political actions.

READ MORE: ‘Humiliating defeat’ as Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Clara Ponsati

Dr Ponsati’s president, Quim Torra, has been a recent visitor to Scotland and he was greeted effusively by Scotland’s First Minister – an appropriate encounter between the heads of two devolved governments. We have heard a lot recently about presidents who say bad things being unwelcome on our shores. So I was grateful to a Scotsman letter-writer for drawing attention to Mr Torra’s past utterances, prompting my own modest researches. In Mr Torra’s considered view, Catalonians who speak Spanish rather than Catalan are “scavengers, vipers, hyenas”, not to mention “beasts with human shape”. Spaniards “know only how to plunder” while immigration threatens that “the nation disintegrates like sugar in a glass of milk”.

Volumes more in the same vein prompted the leading Catalan anti-racism organisation to state: “We reject the discourse that Mr Torra has used repeatedly ... a dangerous, irresponsible and unacceptable discourse, based in prejudices.”

Ms Sturgeon has declared Dr Ponsati “a credit to Scotland”.

Perhaps she could earn this accolade by condemning the language and prejudices of her close colleague, Mr Torra. Meantime, we must watch which other charmers from Europe’s “civic nationalist” fringes will adorn Bute House, surrounded by saltires and silence despite the most obnoxious views.

READ MORE: Catalan president hails Indyref as best citizen rights’ example