Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Quest For Liberty

In their quest for Independence, freedom or liberty, call it what you will, let us take the Catalonians as a prime example of a mass movement gaining momentum.
     In the broadcasts, I see a joy on the painted faces in the crowds at the declaration of national independence by their local political leaders, and wonder, “How shallow is that?”
     I ask myself, “Is it because the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, at their expense, and what they really want is to get out of the wretched Spanish system of superficial democracy?”
     Mind you, if you’re already rich, you probably don’t care a tinker’s cuss about anyone else, nor about the inflation you’re building up for your country by paying yourself so handsomely. It becomes Monopoly money you’re playing with, if you’re a banker like Jack Diamond or Fred the Shred, in the UK.
     Taking Spain as a whole in relation to Catalonia, the Catalonians are just like the other voters in the rest of the impoverished country in what they perceive, which is mainstream politicians in the ruling Party Popular behaving like bandits. It can only form a temporary government now, because it has become accustomed to dishing out wads of money to itself and been caught in the process of theft, at the expense of taxpayers. This has happened from the PM down, and many of its officials are being incarcerated as a matter of routine.
     Big business is involved in these shenanigans, as is royalty, while the judiciary and Hacienda try to recover millions of Euros from corrupt officials who have amassed vast fortunes.
Curiously enough, the Catalonian leaders seem to be free of such illicit goings-on, and the sight of such things must be as galling to them as it is to everyone else, whatever their ancestral roots.
     The consequence is that Spain now has a ‘hung’ central parliament, which depends even more than Britain does on support of the main opposition socialists and fringe, left-wing parties. In two elections, nothing much has changed voters’ sour view of their ruling class. The Party Popular is tainted, and acts as a barely tolerated caretaker administration.
     Why any emerging nation, like the embryonic Catalonia, should seek to join the EU is a mystery to me, because a less democratic, overpaid version of a collection of nonentities is hard to find beyond China, Russia, North Korea and the Middle East. Its headquarters in Brussels is an autocratic bureaucracy run like a gentleman’s dining club, ponderously. The only reason I can see for beating at its doors is to become a net recipient of its aloof munificence (much of which it is strenuously trying to snatch back from Spain, having also been diddled).
     Someone should warn the Catalonians that the EU money pot is running dry, as the small countries are turned into net contributors, and complaining about it quite loudly. The reason is Britain striving to get out of the EU, which is the wretched, sclerotic source of its many woes.
      Someone should also warn the Catalonians that small is not necessarily beautiful when it comes to matters of defense and internal security. The pendulum can swing menacingly over the pit, as Edgar Alan Poe might have observed, where liberty equates to freedom in a troubled world. Access to ample resources can be highly desirable in these times and that is what resides in honest unity with the rest of Spain.
     “Think of the Basques as well as yourselves, before you countenance insurrection!” is what I would counsel them.
     “Think also of the Walloons in Belgium!” I would also counsel them.
     “Why?” you might ask.
     “This is the route you could take,” I would reply. “Those sub-parliamentarians, in the south of the country of Belgium, were able to block a key trade deal with Canada.”
THAT is the way forward, to encourage the political leaders in Spain and Catalonia to enhance your liberty. You don’t need to take any extreme measures.
     As Churchill famously said, “Jaw Jaw is better than War War.”
Some final observations about ‘Greater Britain’; the degree to which people commentate sensibly on political matters in the newspapers is commendable, if you ignore the anonymous mud-slinging. It is less so when it comes to the guests invited onto the TV news channels, where bigotry often goes unchallenged, largely because of the indifference to fair play of the news presenters and the lack of time they spend researching outside their ‘day jobs’. ’Fake News’ is how it is described by President Trump and it happens in Britain as well as the USA. What these presenters and reports don’t know, they make up or ignore.
     However, what is becoming apparent is the deep desire of many voters in the UK not to allow their MPs to get away with voting as they feel fit, and ignoring what the majority of their constituents want. Hopefully, this ‘shallow’ version of democracy is on the wane.

     Perhaps the British and Catalonian voters are striving for the same version of democracy.