After Spain’s supreme court today sentenced 9 Catalan politicians to between 9 and 13 years for their roles in an unauthorised 2017 independence referendum just what is the response of the political parties here in the UK
Protesters outraged by the severe sentences for sedition and misuse of public funds filled the streets in cities across the semi-autonomous region and flooded into Barcelona’s airport, causing more than 100 flight cancellations.
The trial of 12 separatist leaders, 3 of whom were convicted today of lesser charges, captivated Spain. The verdict comes ahead of a general election next month — the 4th in 4 years.
What’s next: Asked where the independence movement goes from here, Catalonia’s secretary for foreign affairs, Mireia Borrell Porta, says the Catalan government continues to push for dialogue with Madrid, but “right now there’s no one at the other side of the table.”
Pedro Sánchez, the center-left prime minister, has been “unable and unwilling to solve this issue," she says. He's distanced himself from the separatists since they helped him gain power.
“I think the verdict has shown that Spain is really not a well-functioning democracy,” she argues.
Asked why what she calls a clear "violation of fundamental rights" hasn’t generated backlash from countries across Europe, she says:
“The European Union is a club of states and this is realpolitik. There’s been a lot of pressure from the Spanish government for leaders of other countries to treat this as an internal issue.”
Indeed whilst Plaid Cymru, SNP Sinn Féin, and the Greens have supported Catalonia in their struggle , the response from the mainstream UK parties has been largely mute.
Whilst Plaid , Greens and SNP are part of a grouping in the European Parliament Greens–European Free Alliance which includes Republican Left of Catalonia and naturally have close links, the other UK parties are aligned with parties that support the repression of Independistas.
The Labour Party is in the Party of European Socialists along with The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) which since gaining power in Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón (serving as Prime Minister of Spain since 2 June 2018. has done little to change policy towards Catalonia and seems to carry on in the same manner as the Popular Party the Heirs pf Franco in its suppression of Catalonia.
The Liberal Democrats are in Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party which includes Citizens
Originating in Catalonia in 2006, the party received 25.4% of votes and 36 deputies in the December 2017 Catalan regional election, making it the largest single party in the Parliament of Catalonia. Nevertheless, it has never taken power so their actual political stance remains a source of controversy between supporters and adversaries beyond their strong opposition to Catalan nationalism and the Catalan independence movement, of which there is no disputation. The party used the phrase "Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country and Europe is our future" to outline the party's ideology which the party self-describes as postnationalist.[In spite of that, it has deemed by a variety of sources to profess a populist Spanish nationalist ideology.
The UK Tories having split from The European People's Party group (EPP Group) of the peoples to form the European Conservatives and Reformists Party (ECR Party), has formed an alliance with a even more reactionary Spanisg Party than the Peoples Party and PSOE. that of VOX
Starting with a focus in economically liberal stances and recentralisation proposals, the focus of their VoX's message shifted towards stances compatible with European right-wing populism,] endorsing anti-Islam as well as criticism of multiculturalism and criticising immigration from Muslim countries, but at the same time promoting immigration from countries of Latin America in order to repopulate Spain. Their view of European Union is that of a soft euroscepticism, arguing that Spain should make no sovereignty concessions to the EU, because they consider Spanish sovereignty to reside in the Spanish nation alone.[ They propose to eliminate Spain's autonomous communities.In addition, they seek the return of Gibraltar to full Spanish sovereignty.
If Catalonia seeks condemnation of the suppression of Independistas , they are unlikely to find support from the UK government or from the main opposition party.
Jeremy Corbyn has a record of supporting people who have stood up to oppressive regimes , it is a pity that he can't see one of them is run by a party that has fraternal links with his ow.