This is not a forecast so much as a warning. Events in Spain should be reminding us all what a fragile thing democracy is. For anyone who’s missed it while following the aftermath of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the various scandals of the Trump administration, the current failures of the Conservative Government in the UK and the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas here’s a short summary.
Catalonia’s pro independence regional government tries to hold a binding referendum on independence.The national government of Spain declares that the referendum is illegal because it goes against the Spanish constitution. The local government decides to hold the referendum anyway. The national government sends in the army and the Guardia Civil (a military police force) to suppress the vote. Many people try to vote anyway. In some places Catalan police officers and Firefighters form human shields to try to protect civilians. Violence erupts. The Guardia Civil are accused by independent observers of a disproportionate response including firing rubber bullets and baton rounds into crowds of peaceful protesters, forcibly seizing ballot boxes and interfering with the medical treatment of protesters and bystanders.
After all this the vote was counted anyway. The result was 90% in favour of independence on 42.3% turnout. Now you could argue that the turnout is a bit low for such an important decision but given that people were being beaten unconscious and shot at for trying to vote it seems pretty high to me.
There’s something very worrying in all this. Why would a democratic government react to local democracy with such force? Why isn’t the rest of Spain up in arms at the very idea? Did Spain really throw off Fascism with the fall of the Franco regime? Is this some alternative Spain where the Fascists never went away leaking through?
For a more sensible overview on this try Another Angry Voice.
If you’re wondering what all this Zeppelin stuff is about check out my Zeppelin page for an explanation.