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2014 - A Year of Separatism?

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Parnell View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 Nov 2013 at 13:47
Hi guys, long time no see. I live in Barcelona, and next year there may well be a referendum determining whether Catalonia should become an independent state or not. Scotland will also be voting to determine its future status.

While Scotland has a relatively clear path to independence - the UK political system will allow it to separate should it vote yes - the Catalan movement is messier. For a start, there is no clear agreement or any roadmap to independence. It would be a very messy affair. Even should Catalonia vote yes next year, it won't be binding and there is no guarantees that Spain will honour it. 

In my opinion, Scotland will vote to remain within the union. The gap will narrow between now and then. I predict something like 55% of Scots will vote to retain independence. 

Catalonia though is another story. Many Catalans, particularly the younger generation, are quite anti-Spanish. As the richest part of Spain they feel they've been hand-holding the rest of the country through the crisis, with very little reward. Barcelona is an amazing and very wealthy city, a natural capital for a modern, wealthy sovereign Republic. 

What happens if Catalonia and Scotland both vote in favour of independence? What effect will this have on the other independence movements across Europe?

The UK is an interesting case. Should Scotland go, this will make the position of Northern Ireland ever more perilous. Most of the Protestants in Northern Ireland are of Scottish descent. They're Presbyterian, not Anglican, for the most party. I think a substantial minority will come around to the idea of a federal United Ireland. Of course, Northern Ireland being Northern Ireland, we should all expect a fair amount of stupidity and intransigence in the years to come. Wales will undoubtedly remain part of the UK. But if Northern Ireland were to leave, that would make England and Wales all that remains of the United Kingdom. What will that do to the UKs global and European status? For a start, there would be an almost guaranteed Tory majority for decades to come.

If Catalonia leaves Spain, then Spanish economic problems would intensify. Catalonia is the economic heart of Spain. Barcelona is an economic, political and cultural heavyweight, the loss of this city alone would be a huge blow to the rest of the country. 

But what about the rest of Europe? Could Italy secede? (If the Italian economy keeps on its present course, this doesn't seem all that outlandish). What about smaller, more independent minded parts of Europe, such as Corsica in France. Then of course Spain has the Basque country to think about. And if the independence movement loses the run of it, it wouldn't be unusual to see Galicia seriously consider independence.

Will 2014 be a year of separatism or will the breakaway regions find a way to reconcile themselves within their larger political entities?
http://xkcd.com/15/



Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it. ~George Bernard Shaw
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Captain Vancouver View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2013 at 17:52
Hi Parnell- welcome back. There is a certain irony here in that you are ( I believe) spreading the English language in Spain,  as some sort of common exchange is important because of our shrinking, ever more tightly wired world. Yet, despite this closeness, there seem many that want to pull apart. On the other hand, maybe that's it. Too much closeness perhaps begets claustrophobia, and a feeling that one must rally 'round to preserve one's identity.

In the cases mentioned, I think the EU plays a big part. Going it alone must seem like much less of risk if one is still embedded in a larger framework, a quasi-federal system with open borders, a common currency, and other conveniences. Quebec separatists tried to promote this image during their referendums on independence a few years back. The questions were worded in such a way as to suggest a continuing overarching framework that would smooth out any nasty shocks that independence might bring. In the case of Quebec, this was just spin. But with Europe, it's probably reality. It is hard to see an independent Scotland or Catalonia chucked out of the EU for their impertinence.

This might not be a bad thing. Small micro-states might feel more of a need to pull together, and make the EU more of a real country, rather than revel in nationalism and grand ambition.
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Harburs View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2013 at 18:05
One word. No chance!
"Turn yourself not away from three best things: Good Thought, Good Word, and Good Deed" Zoroaster.
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Goral View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2013 at 00:42

Last year I have spent  gorgeous week in Barcelona and surrounding countryside including Spiritual capitol of Catalonia-Montserrat. It is a bountiful country inhabited by splendid people. I have talked to many locals about their filling towards their nationality. Most answers that they fill Catalonians and Spanish and they  did not see any contradiction in this statement.

 I wish Catalonian all the best and I hope that they will made the right decision.

 

But talking about separatism in general, such movements are usually driven by economy. The rich do not want to share their reaches with poorer parts of their country. Example below;

Catalonia is a richest and most industrialised part of Spain

Scotland  do not want to share their royalties from North Sea oil fields

In Italy, there is a movement demanding  separation of northern part of Italy (Under name “Padonia”). It is the most industrialised part of Italy.

In Belgium, Rich Flemish Region do not want share their income with poorer Wallonia .

 

So, in general, the separatism, if successful, will make a big contribution to divide the World population into poor and rich.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2013 at 01:20
I don't think separatism is about money that often. I think it is often about fear, defensiveness, and the burden of historical events.

Quebec is certainly not the most affluent part of Canada, but it is an island of French speaking people in a sea of English speakers, ever fearful of being swamped. The Scots may have some North Sea royalties right now, but I am sure they are aware that the resource is dwindling, and will soon come to naught. The former Soviet republics are not all that rich, but were eager to escape the heavy hand of Russian bureaucracy none the less.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2013 at 03:07
Sure there is same notable exception by in my opinion, most of European separatism is driven by money.
As a Soviet Union disintegration is concerned, well, it was not a separatism but disintegration of semi colonial system. Keep in mind that the final straw was the separation of Russia from the Soviet Union which seal the fate of this Imperium.
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