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Great Britain

Valentina Servera Clavell- Scotland wont turn out like Catalonia

AS a Catalan new Scot, I often get asked the question if what is happening in Catalonia could happen here in Scotland, or if we should hold an illegitimate referendum here, as we Catalans did.

But things sometimes are not as white or black as we would like. What happened in Catalonia was much more complicated than it seems. Let me give you some context.

The Catalan people had been dreaming about having a referendum like the poll held in Scotland. We asked our leaders to claim and demand a referendum over Catalonia’s independence but unionist parties demanded an election to the Catalan parliament.

We held such an election and – surprise, surprise – the pro-independence parties won. Their manifesto said that if they were the winners of the elections, they would demand a referendum.

So they got to work, passed a law in the Catalan parliament (I have to mention that Catalonia had the first parliament, way before England) and the next step was asking permission from the Spanish government, which we knew was going to be hard.

However, we still had hope that in a democratic state there would be room for negotiations ... well, we were young and naive.

The Spanish state not only ignored the millions of Catalans but also humiliated our leaders by not even picking up the phone.

It was a very different response to that of the UK Unionist side in 2014. We have to admit they did well, not least because they won. Did they lie? Aye. Five years have passed and they still have not kept their promises to us.

In Scotland, when the Tories created the Better Together campaign, they at least acknowledged the issue of identity and they pretended to care about the Scots for a brief time.

In Catalonia, the story was completely different. Instead of facing the reality, the Spanish government response was to hide under the table. When the day of the referendum came, they sent the tanks.

Everyone has seen the images of what happened in Catalonia, but I lived it first-hand.

I hope, I truly hope that what happened that day is something we never have to experience in Scotland. Not only because of all the pain and loss that it caused but because of how much it broke our society. It showed us how fragile democracy is, how easy it is to cross the line.

The Catalans have a feeling of impotence. It seems to us like it doesn’t matter how hard we shout, or for how long we protest, the police will always be there and the EU will continue to remain silent.

It’s funny how things have changed in England since 2014. As much as we don’t like Westminster, we have to admit that it used to be a place where there was respect, fair play and democracy. Growing up outside the UK, we used to look up to the British parliament as an example of politics well done.

That opinion has completely changed. Westminster has turned into a kindergarten, where you’ll find the crying baby Boris, and baby Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg, looking like the typical wean who will stir the pot and still be the teacher’s pet. You can pay tens of thousands to study at Eton, but apparently it cannot buy manners or intelligence.

The National:

WHILE we continue to be shackled to this shambles of a Tory government, the case for having a non-agreed referendum seems to be getting stronger, as we see Boris Johnson falling into the same mistakes made by Mariano Rajoy.

But in Scotland, we are already a country, which makes it a wee bit easier than it was in Catalonia. And we have the magical card, Article 30, or to be precise Section 30.

It reads: “Her Majesty may by Order in Council make any modifications of Schedule 4 or 5 which She considers necessary or expedient.”

What that basically means is that Westminster can temporarily devolve power to the Scottish Parliament, giving Holyrood the opportunity to make a bill to legislate for an independence referendum.

That would be the ideal plan. Let’s bear in mind that Boris Johnson has already rejected agreeing to a second referendum and that Corbyn changes his opinion more often than his underwear.

That’s why voting SNP are key in this upcoming General Election ... because if we win, Westminster will have no other option but to accept that this is what the Scottish people want.

What happens if none of this works? Should we then host a referendum on our own and expect the world to accept the results? Maybe. But we need to put our trust on the First Minister and remind ourselves that Nicola Sturgeon has proven time and time again that she is a reliable leader, that she delivers what she promises, that she puts her money where her mouth is ... of which adds up to something not found frequently in politics nowadays, unfortunately.

The First Minister knows what she is doing and if she is promising a referendum by 2020, she has a plan.

The reason why I can’t see Scotland doing what Catalonia did is that in Catalonia we had no other option.

We had been demanding a referendum for many years, and we were in a point where it was holding an “illegal” referendum or doing nothing.

In Scotland we have hope, we have other routes to explore. To be honest, I am scared of reliving here what happened that day in Catalonia.

I can’t see Boris closing down Holyrood and sending Nicola Sturgeon and all her Cabinet to jail, I can’t see the police beating everyone up the way the Spanish police did to us. I can’t see it, and I don’t want to see it.

Of course, we will do what’s needed to get our independence, I just hope we don’t have to pay such a high price as in Catalonia.

Let’s get out and campaign, let’s grab a coffee with people who are undecided, let’s show them how things have changed since 2014 and how the changes have been for the worse.

This is how you win a referendum, by knocking doors, listening to people’s doubts and fears. Let’s trust our politicians to do their jobs while we keep our hearts and minds dreaming about what it would be like to live in an independent Scotland.

At the end of the day, we are promising new beginnings, a whole new canvas of possibilities, while they are offering the same grey hole we are already in.

Tories will be Tories, but we have the power to decide if they are the ones who should decide our future, or whether to take our future in our own hands!

We will remind them that independence is a question for the sovereign people of Scotland, not to the dafties running Westminster.

Soar Alba and Visca Catalunya.

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