Today is a very special day for Catalonia. The two parliamentary groups that had independence as the main point on their September 27th election manifesto hold 72 out of the 135 seats in the Parliament of Catalonia which is holding its first ordinary plenary session today. They are jointly presenting a draft resolution, which will presumably be adopted later this morning, which announces the start of the 18-month period leading to independence. Unless the text is amended at the last minute it will instruct the Government to write to the Spanish government and to the European Union to offer to negotiate this process in good spirit.
However, the Spanish Council of State, the Spanish Cabinet and the Spanish Constitutional Court will be meeting within 48 hours and will almost certainly apply new legislation deliberately designed to counter through the courts the coming decisions of the Catalan Parliament and Government.MPs and officials are likely to be disqualified (alongside the current legal criminal charges against our President which could put him into prison). There is serious talk of the powers of the Catalan Parliament being removed and the Catalan police force being militarised by the Spanish authorities.
No-one in Madrid has even hinted that this political crisis, which has its origins ten years back, needs to be resolved round a table by political means. An apparently innate arrogance and lack of sensitivity in the corridors of power has exacerbated those who in increasing numbers see independence as the only way for Catalan people to have the political tools needed to survive as a people in the face of the challenges of globalisation. At the same time, those who cannot imagine even the slightest change in the shape and size of Spain's territory (seen by many as God-given) have been spoon-fed a host of lies about the independence process, including the recent manipulation of a European Commission document.