The right of self-determination of peoples is outlined in the UN Charter, and yet despite this the Spanish Government is doing all that it can to prevent the region’s government from holding a referendum on independence from Spain on 1 October.
The decision over Catalonia’s future direction is a matter for the people who live there and of course the Catalan and Spanish governments are perfectly entitled to take positions for and against independence.
It is essential that democracy and civil rights are respected in all countries. Despite this, there is a growing clampdown by the Spanish state on the holding of such a vote, most recently with the threatened arrest of 700 mayors for agreeing to facilitate voting.
What we are witnessing here is a full frontal assault on democracy, not in South America or Africa, but here in the very heart of Europe, actions which should provoke international outrage.
Should the Spanish government succeed in preventing the Catalans holding their own referendum this will only serve to strengthen the hand of Theresa May and hard-line Unionists who would seek to prevent Scotland having a second independence referendum. However, should the Catalans prove successful in holding this vote, in facing down the Spanish Government and securing a Yes vote, the impact on Scotland could prove monumental.
Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh
The Scottish Government’s statement on the proposed Catalan independence referendum knowingly seeks to mislead, in its reference to self-determination and quoting of the Edinburgh Agreement as an example of how governments could agree on a referendum. In regards to the former, the SNP chooses to ignore that opinion polls show the clear majority in Catalonia still want to remain as part of Spain. The SNP prefer to speak as if only the minority that want independence really matter. Much the same as they act here in Scotland of course.
Meanwhile, the Spanish government will hardly be impressed by the talk of the Edinburgh Agreement given how quickly the SNP chose to ignore its commitments to respect the result when the outcome did not go its way. In fact the SNP’s agitation on independence is the perfect example as to why the Spanish government will be reluctant to give in to a vociferous minority determined to impose their will on others.
West Linton, Peeblesshire
The Nationalists have painted themselves into a corner, once again, this time over Catalonia. They crave to back the separatists there so much it is palpable, but they would need the backing of Spain for their future plans to being their own separated Scotland into the EU. With a veto of any member state on new entries they dare not offend. And it is not only Spain. Several European countries have troublesome minorities on the fringes also, and they will be waiting with interest to see what the SNP administration has to say and noting it for future reference.
Perhaps the penny will now drop and the SNP will realise you cannot fool – or keep happy – all of the people all of the time.
New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh