Spain, What Now?
Well, in spite of naysayers of all stripes, the Spanish central government finally applied the law and is now in the process of rounding up the seditious gang that brought Catalonia to the edge of doom.
And in spite of the cackling of their minions, like Assange, Financial Times and the New York Times…nothing happened. Nor will it.
Here’s a little secret: Most of the people of Catalonia, including autonomists, have no inclination to follow these nutcases into the void.
Alas, the process was so slow and convoluted that by the time the rule of law was restored in the halls of the Catalonian government, over 2,100 companies had left the region transferring headquarters to the rest of Spain, from Santander and Madrid, to Baleares and Valencia. In October, job creation in Madrid surpassed 30,000 while in Barcelona remained close to nothing. Exacerbating a trend of migration from Catalonia to other parts of Spain.
This requires a little aside: Want it or not, Catalonia is not an economic island. The Catalan economy is joined at the hip with the rest of Spain, and despite the insane cackling of separatists, they do not sustain Spain but benefit from that relationship. Their stupidity has managed to transfer capital from Catalonia to the rest of Spain at unprecedented rates and speed. And Catalans are going to pay dearly for it.
The loss of employment in Barcelona has been a boon to Madrid, Valencia and Baleares. While the Catalan GDP is about to suffer a drop of major crisis proportions, that of Spain will remain fairly stable. Sure, there’ll be some loss of tourism and reduced activity over all, but Spanish hiccup is Catalonia’s pneumonia. So much for the brave separatists. They know about economy as much as they do about genetics or history: Nothing.
Why did it take so long? Why did the Spanish government not react immediately after the ill conceived and illegally enacted law of September 6 that got the ball rolling? Because they had no choice.
Spain had a tumultuous history in the 20th Century. Unresolved issues dating back to the liberal movement that saved Spain from French occupation during the Napoleonic wars persisted in a series of revolutions that swung the country from liberal republicanism to absolutism with clockwork regularity from the early 1800s until Francisco Franco, assisted by Hitler and Mussolini imposed his brand of Fascism to the nation.
Unlike Germany and Italy, occupied, reformed (to a degree) and rebuilt by the Allies, Spain was betrayed and left to rot under one of the most oppressive regimes Europe ever knew.
It only came to an end at the dictator’s death on 20 November 1975. He died as he continued to horrify the world with examples of uncommon barbarism. The execution on 2 March 1974 of Salvador Puig Antich, by the most barbaric method he could rescue from the annals of the middle ages was followed on 27 September 1975 by that of Jose Humberto Baena, Jose Luis Sanchez Bravo, Ramon Garcia Sanz, Juan Paredes Manot “Txiki,” and Angel Otaegi by shooting squad.
These executions left most people with a lingering bad taste in their mouths and a profound aversion to government power.
Mind you. Terrorists and cop killers deserve to die in my book. I will not make apologies for them. But the selection of medieval torture right out of the Inquisition to execute them is an expression not of the barbaric nature of their crimes, but of the barbaric nature of the Franco regime right up to his death.
We all expected Spain to return to some sort of absolutism at his death. Instead, Liberty poured out as if taking a cork out of a well shaken bottle of Champagne, and in 1978 a new Spanish constitution was voted in by an almost unbelievable majority ushering in an era of Democratic government Spain never had enjoyed. To his credit, king Juan Carlos supported this process. As the last President of the Republic in Exile, Dn. Claudio Sánchez Albornoz, told me in 1978: “not bad for a Bourbon.”
An unintended consequence of this reaction is that the Spanish Government is a eunuch. It has very limited legal powers further hampered by a convoluted legal system.
There was no possible immediate response within the realm of legality to the putsch started by a band of criminals in violation of Spanish and Catalan laws!
When the Superior Tribunal of Catalonia declared the proceedings illegal, it depended on the local police, the “Mozos de Escuadra,” to carry out their orders. The Mozos leadership, a collection of corrupt misfits of whom I have written at length, simply refused to carry out the Court’s orders, leaving the Civil Guard, acting in its capacity as Judicial Police under the orders of the Catalonia tribunals (and not as a force of the central government as certain Goebbels wannabes insist) to hold the bag.
They did an excellent job with minimum violence. Lack of any hospitalizations but that of police officers after the events are a testimony to that. But the Central government could still not act.
Until the same gang of dim wits declared independence but did not declare independence while claiming to having declare independence in a closed session that was as illegal under Catalan law as it was ridiculous.
Then, per the constitution, the Central government was permitted to…request clarification in writing, and no more! They did, and following the prescribed period, initiated a limited intervention of the Catalan government [Title VIII, art. 155 of the Spanish Constitution], allowing the Catalonian courts to handle the illegalities.
More of these illegalities are coming to light as their records are audited, and more corrupt officials are going to face a judge while the populace of Catalonia remains relatively calm and awaiting elections on 21 December to restore the autonomic institutions.
My take is that separatists, who never obtained a majority anyhow, will not this time around either. They may, in fact, lose sizeable support. But what if they do? What if separatists get elected by some miracle? Nothing. The Central government will have no choice but to relinquish government to them and end its intervention, awaiting for their actions to warrant another round…or not.
In the meantime, the full scale of the corruption and lawlessness of the Puigdemont-Junqueras gang will become known. They and their associates will face trial and will receive stiff sentences. Not only for their recent seditious actions, but for graft corruption, nepotism and bribery schemes few of the uninformed can even grasp today. On advise of their lawyers they will show contrition and those sentences will be reduced.
Barring a jailhouse rebellion that will never occur, they will be freed after completing some 25% of their reduced sentences…and counting time served during trial will be freed after a few months.
Look for people to scream bloody murder and talk of secret agreements. None of that is true. But in post-Franco Spain, staying in jail requires a special effort. Ask the Jihadists that come and go through the system’s revolving doors with impunity.
Maybe one day people will realize that amendments are, indeed, needed in the 1978 constitution. Until then, both good citizens and criminals can enjoy the amazing freedoms afforded them in the country most unjustly branded totalitarian by a venal press around the world that cares very little for real Justice.