Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The news as of 15.10.14 at 10pm

As far as what's going on here.  I don't know where to start and whatever I write is going to be old news in an hour.

But, at the moment, Artur Mas, the president of Catalunya, cancelled the referendum scheduled for Nov 9th to huge disappointment, and a very strange level of quiet.  I find myself much more vocally radical than the people around me.  It is strange.  I have always admired the Catalans for their tolerance and forbearance, but I am confused by the complete and absolute absence of a reaction, they are not even talking about it much amongst themselves.  It is very strange.

Sort of like steam building in a pressure cooker.

There is, at the moment, a large demonstration planned for Sunday, though that has not been universally announced, so who knows if it that will happen, or if the entire political scene will alter again radically between now and then.

In some ways calling off the vote was wise, the Spanish have been massing National Police throughout Catalunya, on standby, not quite sending in the military, but not far off, and any civil servant who volunteered to help with the vote was being threatened with prosecution, and many were volunteering; but at some point Catalunya is going to have to stand up to Spain and not simply sit around waiting for Europe to say something.

It is very odd from a Canadian perspective, the Spanish response has been very 18th century.  No dialogue, no discussion.  No democracy.

They argue that the Constitution cannot be changed, but we both know that constitutions are, and are meant to be, fluid documents that reflect the reality of the country at that time.  It is also very hypocritical as they had to alter the Constitution this spring as there was no mechanism for the King to abdicate, which he did, and they are going to have to alter it again to allow for female succession as the current King, whatever his name is, only has daughters and the next in line is an extremely distant half nephew or something of the sort.

Really, the issue with Catalunya could be so easily solved.  Get their hands off the language and education, which are supposed to be organized provincially, but which they radically altered (undermined) unilaterally last year, vastly weakening the education system here and greatly reducing the amount of Catalan that can be spoken in the schools.  It is quite shocking what they did.  Echos of Franco.

Second, they need to even up the financial imbalance within Spain so that, yes the rich provinces give more than they get, but not as unevenly as it is now and thirdly and finally, transparency in government.  There is no way anyone can know where and to whom the Spanish government sends the money they receive other than by inference, and they are the only ones who can levy taxes; the provinces and municipalities are entirely dependent on Madrid for dispersal of funds.  Transparency isn't going to happen anytime soon though as they all have their fingers in the pie, and it is the same here in Catalunya, quite shocking coming from Canada, but, as an example, I cannot find out anything about the budget in my village even, not even what the local councilors make, and no one can.  Completely opaque.

Anyway, I could keep rambling is a mess, but a fast changing and interesting one.  Also leaving me baffled, frustrated, and angry in pretty much even parts.

Anyway, one insider's news.


Anonymous said...

I think your last sentence tells it all. You are not an insider. The longer you live in Spain the more you will learn about the place and the people but you will never know how it really works.

oreneta said...

Yes, in many ways you're right, but there is also a tremendous diversity of Catalans, and most of them now count me as one too. Very inclusive of them.

Do I really know how Canada works either?