The King has Decreed! It’s official…
“the Catalonian independence referendum and devolution is illegal and undemocratic“. (See video of the King’s speech with English sub-titles in local Finnish press)
But is it?
Please remember to vote in the poll at the end of this article 😉
The Spanish Government believe/claim the democratic vote on the issue is for all Spain as it affects everyone as part of a greater community that has ownership (sovereignty) rights, not just rights of possession on all the Spanish lands, including the Catalonian region. The broader Spanish community has fought, died and worked hard for many years to rid themselves and dictators and unify the country. Anyone who thinks they can or would willing let that all be thrown away are being extremely foolish. Also it seems unfair and selfish to them that the richest state within Spain should want to desert the ship they have sailed in because they don’t want to share. I.e. Fair Weather friends!. It smacks of Trump’ism – winners and losers and a state run by the ‘I am Alright Jackoffs!’
This is true except that the principle involved is in contradiction to the ‘Right of Self-Determination – as upheld by the UN.The problem is in where the boundaries are drawn – often as arbitrary (political) these days as they are culture and region based. The boundaries affect the outcome of the vote considerably, hence several attempts in the UK over recent decades to redraw the borders and map of the municipalities in order to influence the vote results – usually dramatically, by changing the demographic geo-structures to create the biggest minority of constituents in each voting area in their own favour.
No region is isolated, they all interact and have other overlapping regions. Change the preferred key reference points (boundaries) of a voting region and the result is totally different. The choice of key or dominant region to which others are subservient is always an arbitrarily political one, driven more often than not by the perceived pecuniary advantages pertaining to a politically militant few, e.g. Scotland and the issue of North Sea Oil. They all think they can do it now because of the security seemingly provided by the greater EU safety net that helps avoid isolation and the previous disadvantages of separation. In principle this process is the same as already happened within families and broader communities due to the creation of the welfare state.
A loose association of disassociated delinquent juveniles is no more beneficial for the Eu than it is with our sub-communities and social structures. It is however necessarily part of our right of self-determination. I ask you this however, how old / self-sustainable do kids have to be before they can just divorce their parents and leave home? Where do we draw the line?
How many people are needed in order to declare an independent state?
Are there any rules about location, or geographical proximity / grouping? Should the Finnish government let the gypsies declare an independent state in any location their predominate? And what about the Laplanders? In UK, Indians moved into and took over a local town on mass, driving out all the original native residents. Should they be allowed to declare an independent state?
Woking used to be a middle class satellite town to Greater London. Last I heard from a friend of mine and former resident of the area, was that he had to leave because his child was the only native English (white) child in the entire school which, had not just social consequences, but also for personal identity, learning standards, religious education programmes etc. Indian immigrants, as thrifty, hard working and decent people as they are, tend to move into a house for four or five and live there with upto 15 people according to some reports. This has serious social and economic consequences for the value of local housing. Then their are large groups of Muslims in UK who make little attempt to integrate, merely build a Mosque in the centre of a town, buy up all the houses around it and turn it into a mini citadel! Not just hearsay, but first hand reports from an Englishman that was born and raised in such a town and then fell compelled to move out, eventually ending up in Finland.
The Papal enclave in Italy and several other city states (e.g. Monaco, Montenegro) in Europe are not much more than that. The use of force by the Spanish authorities is however a lamentable mistake that will never solve anything and, is already proving somewhat counter-productive. To solve the problem, feelings and concerns must first be recognised and acknowledged before rational discussion and negotiation can take place. The Catalonians should also be reminded that stable borders and relations with EU neighbours are a pre-requisite for EU membership that they will have to reapply for, as is a sufficiently well developed economic situation, social and political infrastructures, separate from the Spanish systems to which they are currently inter-twined – just as UK is to EU, hence the Brexit talks fiasco. Integration as evolved over decades, a neural network of social and political bindings that cannot simply be picked open and undone overnight. As I was recently remined, Spain, like all the countries, have a right of veto on any new entrants to the EU. Even if Catalonians separatists get what they want, the rest of Spain will still need help to which, the Catalonians will still contribute via EU regional aid and development programmes.
The Catalonian situation, despite the generally accepted legitimacy of its cultural identity case, needs to be seen in greater perspective. Certainly, from a more far off perspective it seems like old European regional tribalism – and look where that got us all – endless wars including two world-wide wars. There are also considerable parallels with the Brexit referendum, which inspired this latest devolution activity / push, in that most voting has been on base sentiments and feelings rather than cool logic and rational thinking, much less actual comprehension of the overall facts and issues involved.
‘As it is below, so it is above’
The break-down and rebuilding of social and power structures is an essential pre-requisite for building a better, and stronger Europe. This has parallels in any learning and development process. For example I have experienced this more concretely whilst teaching hobbies such as martial arts in which, student development reaches a plateau at certain stages. My job was to break-down if not dessemble and tear apart their technique and what they thought they had established in order for them to rebuild it with a more sound and refined structure that will allow them to launch into the next phase of learning and development. ‘As it is below, so it is above‘ – social movements are but a larger scale aggregation of the smaller sub-social and individual processes, and ultimately nature itself. We have already entered a period of social chaos and break-down predicted by the Kondratieff cycles, a natural and empirically predictable natural cycle of social movement if not development. You can find out more about these from my earlier blog article on EU ‘brains’ warn about end of free capital markets by 2030.
The timing of the event however, is not so fortuitous for the EU and will cause much disarray at a time when we need more unity to weather the storm winds of change around the world. We already have 27+ states of various sizes, power and international expertise / worldly competence that are hard enough to hold together for the greater common good. If all our modern states start breaking up into a further multitude of tiny, bickering old-world regions and tribes lead by small-time politicians with little or no competence for the job – even by comparison to the current EU leaderships – this problem will be multiplied many times over, weakening the EU to the point of inoperability and totally vulnerable to the whims of other world powers who would be only to happy to exploit it to their own advantage.
The EU needs to be united and cooperate at least on the practical and functional levels of government administration in order to gain economies of scale that we need to survive in the modern globalised economy and political conditions. The historical process has so far been a piecemeal unification of smaller regions into modern countries as we currently know them that has helped to eventually stabilise borders, jurisdiction and many of the problems and violence of the old world – but nothing is perfect and the job is not yet complete, if ever it will be. A fully integrated and unified Federal European Union is a logical next step to some regional country groupings (e.g. UK & Ireland, Nordic union, the Netherlands – all passport free regions before the EU) that some prominant groups in the EU are pushing for and have been seeking for a long time since. The U.S. and Germany are federal states that permit a certain amount of autonomy and independence to constituent states to manage their own affairs, so, perhaps not such a bad thing.
Federalization however, would mean the creation of a European superstate that would diminish the position and influence of regions such as Catalonia even more that it is within the nations state of Spain. This is the hidden socialist agenda in Europe that many British (older generation mostly) have had a strong aversion to and resulted in the Brexit vote, one of the most ill-informed referendum votes in democratic history (except perhaps for recent U.S.A. elections ;). Democracy is necessary, but it does not always work it should, or as we would like it to, in large measure because of inadequate means to apply it as it is due to poor definitions/ parameters, elective criteria and administrative processes. In time, technology may allow us to achieve a nationhood and government administration based on membership rather than location, which, although already noted in discussion within academic circles, is not yet a practical viability.
In principle we believe, in pragmatism we trust
So consider this, constitutional and social contracts aside, the right of self-determination has no definitions or criteria as yet, and certainly is not an issue of scale. It is a principle only. And in principle the lowest common denominator is each and every single individual human being on this earth or anywhere else. Does this mean that I, and English man, living in Helsinki, Finland, can hold a vote with my self and declare my home and grounds an independent state that I might call ‘New Fingland’!?
Has a nice ring to it though, does it not? 😉