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6 d’oct. 2017

Three Metaphors on Catalonia

In this post I answer three of the main questions related to the Catalan independence process, particularly in the more recent phase. I do so using metaphors -and even a fable - which even the most uninformed (or misinformed) reader will understand.

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a. Has Catalonia reached the tipping point, in votes?
b. Is the referendum "illegal"?
c. Is a long mediation process a solution?

a. Has Catalonia reached the tipping point, in votes?

The football metaphor

One day the supporters of a football club we shall call "B", claimed that they had more than half of the football supporters of official clubs in the whole of the country.
So one league weekend, the supporters attending all the soccer matches were counted. The "B" club match was attended by 48% of all the spectators in the country. It had never in its history counted that many supporters, but the other matches had much higher turnouts than usual, to try and make sure the "B" club didn't win. At the end of the day, all the other official clubs had been defeated by over 8 percentatge points! Yet they said: "Ha ha! You don't have half the attendance."
But the "B" club said that 13% of the attendance across the country were parents cheering on their kids at school matches, and they shouldn't have been counted, because lots of these, had they only known, would have gone to the official club matches.
The others said that they didn't accept that excuse, and refused point blank to do a recount.
So the "B" club said it would hold another match, on its own, just to show that its supporters were even more numerous than had turned out.
The other clubs, and the Federation, said no way. They stopped the Post Office from sending out "B" club propaganda. They blocked and kept hacking the "B" club website. They slowed down the turnstiles time and again. They said the other side would bring baseball bats to attack them, frightening away thousands of regular supporters. They said the manager, the club owners and even the stewards would be prosecuted. They raided several printing presses, and a weekly magazine, in search of the entrance tickets. They desperately searched, in vain, for the balls. They stole thousands of people's tickets once they'd bought them. And their thugs beat up packed supporters standing quietly in the stadium: over 800 required medical attention, and over 500 made formal complaents to the courts.
It even rained.
And on the day, the "B" club turnout was over 60,000 higher than ever previously. A record high. Noone anywhere in the world could possibly imagine that the commitment to the club, indeed, to football as a sport, could be so high, so strong. What more could be asked of them?

b. Is the referendum "illegal"?

The speed limit

A policeman strolls up to a man as he's getting in his car.
"Good morning, sir", he says. "May I ask where's you're going?"
"Why, down the first turning on the left".
"Well, I warn you not to go over the speed limit."
"I'm always very careful to follow speed limits everywhere. But I've never seen any signs on that road!"
"Well, there is a speed limit. And I'm warning you not to don't go over it!"
"And how am I to know what the speed limit is, then, if there's no sign?"
"You'll know when I stop you!"
"What does that mean? That I'll have to look at the speeding ticket you'll give me?"
"Not just the speeding ticket. I warned you, so I'll smash your windscreen it, slash your tyres and toss you in gaol for disobeying me".

c. Is a long mediation process a solution?

The wolf and goat

One day I was told a story in a pub, the name of which I won't disclose.
A goat woke up one morning in a cage, next to a wolf that was sleeping. The door was ajar.
"What am I doing here?", the sheep asked itself. "I've staved off the wolf from gobbling me up, by offering him my milk, on top of the usual diet he gets from the zoo keepers. But recently he's been getting more and more aggressive, and hasn't heeded my bleets begging him to leave me be. In fact he's starting threatening very seriously and my survival is at stake".
So the goat put one paw sheepishly (sorry!) outside the cage, and just before leaving completely, up rushed an official in a uniform and said:
"Hey, where do you think you're going?".
"Well, I want to survive and the wolf inside is ready to pounce on me as soon as he wakes up!".
"Oh, that can't be", the prim official said. "Look, you get back inside. I'll have a quiet word with the wolf, who's sure to understand."
"No buts. And if the wolf doesn't follow my advice, well, you can be sure of a decent burial. Com on, in you get."


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