Support for Catalan Independence from a Welshman

I am Welsh and live in Wales. I have visited Catalunya only twice, yet I feel a bond with that land and its people. Our pasts are vastly different, but our presents have a lot in common. Both Wales and Catalunya have some autonomy within larger states. They each have their own language, history and culture set apart from those of the larger states. And of course, citizens of both countries carry passports with the words “European Union” upon them.

The problem with “autonomy” is that powers devolved are powers retained. Although Catalunya can make laws, if the government in Madrid does not like the laws, they overturn them. In recent months, this has happened with Catalan language education and now with the Catalan ban on bullfighting. One might legitimately ask: “What is the point of such devolution, if our decisions are nullified so easily?” One might also ask: “Was the Spanish Civil War ever properly concluded?”

We know from history that Franco was a Spanish nationalist under whose rule Catalan language and culture were forbidden. The new order after his death did not roll back his laws very far, and the present Spanish constitution reflects this, to the point that miltary action is permitted against any part of Spain which attempts to secede. Against this, of course is the European Union’s clearly stated respect for the rights of all peoples to self-determination.

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