Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 12.10.17


The ecstasy and the agony. Puigdemont's declaration of Catalan independence and its immediate suspension:-

 HT to Lenox of Business over Tapas for that.

Steps forward?? The Catalan president has said he's open to dialogue and the Spanish president has replied that he's willing to discuss anything that's within the law. So, probably no real progress. Possibly more encouraging is the assurance of the PSOE leader that President Rajoy has agreed to a parliamentary commission on the reform of the Spanish constitution with the aim of revising the relationship between the centre and Spain's 17 regions (the Autonomous Communities). Possibly jam tomorrow. And maybe after elections which have strengthened Rajoy's hand in non-Catalan Spain. So, just a chimera far away on the horizon?

The Current Situation: Here's Don Quijones' doomladen overview. And his pessimistic take on current (non?)developments. The euphoria, he says, is surely premature. And he has to be right about this.

What's Happened: Madrid has given the Catalan president a few days to say whether he's pregnant or not. If he says he is, he'll be given 2 or 3 days to get an abortion. If he doesn't, Madrid will apply the - so far unused Article 155 of the Constitution - and rip baby Cataluña from the womb in a violent caesarean operation. And all hell will break loose.

The Catalan Nationalist Players: I've mentioned that both the Catalan and Spanish presidents are right wing capitalists. Which can't really be said of the former's main coalition partner - the CUP (the 'Coop'). Which is a rabidly nationalistic party which, Lenox reminds us, wants to create a “socialist, feminist and ecologically sustainable Catalan republic". Politics, they say, makes for strange bedfellows but nothing could be odder than this couple. It surely won't last much longer. Especially if Puigdemont resiles further next week from his bewildering semi-declaration of independence of Tuesday last.

Cataluña Conclusion: All so bloody predictable. All so bloody tragic for both Cataluña and Spain. Not to mention the EU and the world. The genie is out of the bottle and can't be stuffed back in. We now await to see what shape it assumes. And how much violence and bloodletting it engenders. I say 'the genie' but there are really two of the damn things, fighting to the death.

Spain Conclusion: Spain is still 'different'and will never be the same again. Both Catalan and Spanish prideful nationalists are heading for a fall of unquantifiable proportions. With the price being paid by everyone else. You'd think they'd have all learned something from the 1930s but apparently not. Those who don't study history are condemned to re-live it, said Santayana. It certainly looks like it in this case.

Global Conclusion: Nationalists can be very, very stupid. But I knew that already.

Let's hope I'm being too pessimistic.

1 comment:

Perry said...


Two items.

As soon as Carles Puigdemont’s speech in the Catalan Autonomous Parliament ended, sources in the presidential palace told ABC that we have witnessed “an attempt to blackmail the State broadcast live.”

I refer to the article by Craig Murray, former British Ambassador & his comment:
"Spain has decided to stand on the crazed idea that it is indissoluble". It set me thinking about the reasons Portugal exists. From Wikipedia:

Portugal as a country was established in the aftermath of the Christian Reconquista against the Muslim Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD and occupied most of it. After the Battle of São Mamede in 1128 AD, where Portuguese forces led by Afonso Henriques defeated forces led by his mother, Theresa of Portugal, the County of Portugal affirmed its sovereignty and Afonso Henriques styled himself Prince of Portugal. He would later be proclaimed King of Portugal at the Battle of Ourique in 1139 AD and was recognised as such by neighbouring kingdoms in 1143 AD.

It's the "neighbouring kingdoms" bit that intrigued me.

In late 11th century, Henry of Portugal, a knight from Burgundy and descendant of King Robert II, was in search of adventure in Hispania. He fought the Moors along with Alfonso VI of León. In honour of his fights in Hispania, the King gave him the County of Portugal. This gift came with a reinstated title; because of attempts by the previous holder some years earlier to assert independence, it had been suppressed. Henry became count of Portugal and Theresa, one of Alfonso's daughters, his wife.
In 1095 AD, the county was a dependency of the Kingdom of Galicia, itself a dependency of the Kingdom of León. In 1097 AD Portugal became a direct dependency of León. However, from the early years of his rule, as he became influenced by the desire of the lords of the county for independence, Henry desired the independence of the county.
Henry died in 1112 AD, and his wife Regina Tarasia (Queen Theresa, as she addressed herself) became the countess of Portugal. She also wished for independence from her sister, Urraca, who became Queen of León after Alfonso's death. Like her husband, Theresa was also ambitious. In an attempt to maintain the autonomy of her county, she allied herself to her sister's enemies or with her sister, whichever was most propitious at the time.
In 1116 AD, the Portuguese took two Galician cities, Tui and Ourense. In reply, the sister of Countess Theresa, Queen Urraca, attacked Theresa's dominions. Bishop Gelmeres, a friend of a Galician noble that was in the service of Theresa, led a revolt in the camp of Queen Urraca, and she was obliged to make peace with her sister Theresa.
Urraca died in 1126. Alfonso VII became king of León and Castile and demanded that Theresa become his vassal, which she refused to do. In response, Alfonso attacked Portugal in the spring of 1127 AD. This increased the power of her son, because she had lost the trust of the Leonese king, and her son became the count of Portugal. Theresa became a puppet of the Galician Ferdinand Perez de Trava. Theresa and Prince Afonso Henriques became enemies, as both wanted to take control of the county, but only the supporters of Prince Afonso Henriques were really interested in full independence.

During it's Age of Discovery, Portugal became one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. Later, the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 AD earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Brazil 1822 AD, and the Liberal Wars 1828–34 AD, left Portugal crippled from war and diminished in its world power. Portugal formally applied to join the EU on March 28 1977. It signed the pre-adhesion treaty on December 3 1980. On January 1, 1986, Portugal and Spain formally joined the European Union.