Lluís de Yzaguirre
Don't get us wrong. Catalan separatists are not separatist out of selfishness nor greed.They are not separatist out of jealousy or hatred. They are not separatist because of Spain's billion dollar debt, if that's what your thinking! They are not saying: "Jack pull up the ladder" to "other" Spaniards nor shirking their responsibilities. They are not separatist out of fashion nor fad. They are not traitors, though they would be if they turned their back on their own national cause. No. It's all a little bit more complicated than that.
Catalans are (and have for years been) separatist out of sheer existencial need. They are separatist because Spain generally treats them like shit. increasingly so, an aspect that is incomprehensible to any "sensible" European that could be imagining that the best way to cut separatism in Catalans is to seduce them. Well there's none of that. No. Catalans are separatist because they have no alternative. They are separatist because they see an astounding 8%+ of their GDP creamed away in taxes that never return, though, in return, no form of gratitude nor acknowledgement is in any way forthcoming. Madrid simply denies there is any degree of fiscal abuse. And sweet Fanny Adams! That's it! Spanish media at all time portray Catalans as mean and lacking solidarity, But none of the conditions for peaceful productive cohabitation with Spain are given. They are separatist because they refuse to live along with the impunity, contrivance and identification Spaniards so often have with Francoism. That's not to say that there aren't (and haven't been) Catalan Francoists, nor indeed Catalan democrats who want to form part of Spain. They exist just as pro-Hitler Pétainists existed in France and Mosleyites in the UK. Certainly there are Catalans (a minority) who identify with Spain and couldn't care two hoots about their own country nor its language and economy. So?
Many Catalans are separatist because their language is in no way respected nor guaranteed by Spanish law, which only imposes Spanish (although the Spanish King stated that "Spanish has never been imposed on anyone". Sheer negationism if you ask me!) Catalans are separatist because Spain forbids them from voting their future. They are separatist because Spain has decreed that any Spanish parent living in Catalonia can simply opt for steering their offspring away from a Catalan education while palming off fees on the already fleeced Catalan treasury. We are separatist because Spain wields an enormous arsenal of arms to ensure that Catalonia cannot recover her identity nor her economy. They are separatist because Spain condemns Catalan ports and airports to dismal transportation access facilities, thus inexplicably cutting her nose to spite her face. For Spain is consciously preventing Catalonia from enhancing her competitiveness in a global economy. Any doubts about that? Look. Recently, faced by the dicotomy of selling a key energy sector company to Catalonia or to Germany, a Spanish minister is on record for having said "rather German than Catalan" (the company is now Italian). Can you blame Catalans for being separatists? They are made to pay through the nose for services that in Spain are free, starting with 70% of the toll motorway bill. Their key infrastructures are underfunded or simply non-existent. Furthermore, Catalan students proportionally get half the amount of university grants Spanish students do. In addition, there is a dreadful dose of hatred in Spanish media displayed daily to things Catalan with no attempt at correction by a Spanish government (which simply sits back to enjoy (and benefit from) the spectacle). What European would put up with that? Exactly! That's why many Catalans are separatist and aim to set up their own democratic State. Help them get some justice after 300 years of Bedlam and Inquisition?