Monday, November 10, 2014

Catalonia Votes for Independence

Catalonia voted on the question of independence, and while it was more of a straw poll than an official ballot question, the results seem to indicate a strong case for independence. The preliminary results show 81 percent in favor of the ballot’s two questions. The central government in Madrid tried all year to block the vote, but courts did not always take its side. Voter participation was close to 50 percent, high enough to make the case that the voting results represent a solid majority in favor of independence, but not nearly enough to form a mandate. Many voters were kept away from the polls by threats of violence from the central government, but the confrontations never materialized.

The idea of independence might also be helped by the latest polls from Scotland, which show that most voters there would support independence if they could vote on that question now. Independence in Scotland was defeated after a series of extravagant promises from London, but most of those promises were abandoned in the three days after the vote. It is quite a different picture in Madrid, where the government says Catalonia will never gain independence no matter how many citizens support it. The brittle posturing in Madrid means that something will have to break sooner or later. A nation cannot be perpetually in conflict with its most prosperous colony.