People shout holding Spanish and Catalan flags in Barcelona, Spain. Picture: REUTERS
People shout holding Spanish and Catalan flags in Barcelona, Spain. Picture: REUTERS

The general media narrative around the Catalonian referendum wrongly elevates the case for independence, whereby the secessionists are the good guys and the police and state the bad guys.

The president of Catalonia, whose government is only in power courtesy of the 10 seats belonging to the far-left Popular Unity Candidacy, says he has a mandate for independence on the basis of a referendum that was unlawful. Apart from it being a low turnout, those opposed to independence considered it illegal and of no import and consequently did not vote.

A 90%-plus approval is clearly as suspicious in Spain as it is when achieved in Africa, Iran or North Korea. The call for independence from the Catalonian regional government is driven by ideological activists not particularly interested in practical outcomes in respect of the future economy. This mirrors the attitude of the Scottish National Party in Scotland and extremist Brexit campaigners in the UK.

Whichever way you look at it, even as an opinion poll, the referendum was defective and did not properly reflect the full views of Catalonians, so using it to suggest a mandate for a decision of such magnitude — to break away from Spain, to be outside the EU and be a nonrecognised state — is disingenuous.

We are used to being exasperated with our government, but the barmy Brexit decision in the UK and the now putative Catalonian independence makes SA seem half-normal.

Sydney KayeCape Town

Please sign in or register to comment.