Spanish politics have featured a lot on the Celtic League Mannin Branch Facebook pages because there are a number of peoples in Spain with aspirations for independence, just like we in the Celtic nations ourselves. At the forefront of the nations aspiring for independence are the Catalans and the Basques.
The devolved Catalan government, the Generalitat, organised an independence referendum last autumn. A majority of the votes cast supported independence. However, Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish Premier, declared the referendum illegal. He sent in the paramilitary police force, the Guardia Civil, and for several days Europe’s media was full of images of their brutality against civilians. The Guardia Civil even attacked the Catalan fire service personnel when they tried to defend members of the public. The Celtic League, a NGO registered by the United Nations ECOSOC, had an observer at the Catalan referendum. His well considered account of what he observed has been published in the Celtic League’s publication Carn.
Mariano Rajoy declared that the Guardia Civil were acting against the illegal referendum. In truth, his party, the right wing Partido Popular (‘People’s Party’), is no stranger to illegal activity of the corruption variety, such as fraud and money laundering, for which a former treasurer of the PP was imprisoned last month.
Yesterday (June 1st) the socialist Partido Socialista Obrero Español called a motion of no confidence in Rajoy in the Congress of Deputies in Madrid. The motion was successful, with 180 votes for and 169 against. The motion was supported by a range of parties, including Catalan and Basque Nationalists. Rajoy did not take part in the afternoon session of the parliament to represent his constituents and party. Instead, it is said that he went for an eight-hour lunch in a smart restaurant in the middle of Madrid!
Spain’s new Premier is Pedro Sánchez, the young (46 years old) PSOE leader. His party has only 25% of the seats in parliament, so the job ahead of him is no sinecure. Sánchez favours a reform of the Spanish constitution to introduce a more Federal system.
I called this article ‘¡Adios, Mariano Rajoy!’ but, in all truth, he and his party are still there. Nothing is ever certain in politics. Just look at the results of the Tynwald Election in 2016! Seriously, though, how the nationalist aspirations of the Basques and Catalans develop will be interesting to witness.
Image: The Rajoy government became synonymous with the brutality of the Civil Guard in Catalonia
Mannin Branch Secretary,
June 2nd 2018