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22 de jul. 2017

Editorial, by Vicent Partal (VilaWeb, 21 July)

Let's understand them: they're scared

Yesterday we saw two crossed - and very significant - photographs, about the day that is clearly being set as the most important day in the recent history of Catalonia: October 1st. 

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The publication of the CEO survey and Spain's announcement of weekly measures to control spending [by Catalonia] show the two political faces that are confronted not just with the ballot box but also to actually install them - one lot - , and to prevent them from being installed - the other lot -.  

Let's understand them: they are scared. The CEO survey is just is a survey. But it is the most potent survey carried out in the country and, moreover, the result it yields is consistent with all the other surveys that have emerged so far from a wide range of companies. 
67% participation and a "Yes" victory by 62% to 37% would be the final blow. The legitimacy of the proclamation of independence would be beyond doubt and the serious problem would be Spain's: to try to oppose it. 
Let us look at just a couple of explanatory figures and take careful note of their significance. The first is that a 67% turn-out would be higher than that recorded in any referendum held in democracy in Spain. Higher, then, than the one that served to adopt the current constitution. This figure would leave the Spanish government literally defenceless. And the second is that 62% of Yes votes would be a clearly better result than that of the latest referendums on self-determination in Europe: Scotland and Montenegro, but also (if I may be permitted) Brexit. 
How could they possibly not be scared, in this scenario? There is an item, however, that is incredible and that severely challenges the Unionist reaction. It is the one that shows that all parties, including the PP, have a majority of voters who will take part in the referendum. Three parties are against the referendum: PP, Citizens and PSC. One does not know what it thinks (we will probably never find out): Catalunya Sí que es Pot. But the data show that the voters of these four parties want to vote. Against the opinion of their leaders. It is hard to imagine a clearer and more forceful challenge to the obtuse, obstructionist attitude of the block that defends the unity of Spain. The challenge emphasizes how senseless, in political terms, the behaviour of these parties is: the boycott of the Unionist parties greatly facilitates the victory of the Yes vote. 

And were that not enough, in view of this all they can come up with is to threaten to economically sabotage not the government and its actions but [Catalan] society as a whole, by withholding money that the FLA [the credit fund for regional authorities] pays (from our taxes, by the way) to Catalan suppliers. 

I cannot even imagine who the genius is that decided such a thing, but if we take into account two details of the CEO's survey, we will understand perfectly just how extreme this craziness is. The first detail is that, within the total population and in ideal conditions, most Catalans would not prefer independence. The second explains the reasons why, despite this, independence wins. Take a good look at the figures: 58·5% of No voters say that this is because of their Spanish nationalistic sentiment, whereas only 14·7% of Yes voters say that it's because of their nationalism.  

If we look at these data, it seems difficult to argue that the Yes vote wins because Catalan society, beyond what it would prefer ideally, sees no other solution than to break with a State that punishes it permanently. So, reacting with more punishment and even more indiscriminate punishment (that neither the PSC or the Citizens understand) does not seem to me a particularly an intelligent measure. Hey! But that's their problem...

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