Catalunya's referendum

There was a report about the upcoming referendum on independence for Catalunya on Newyddion 9 this evening.

As it doesn't seem to be on the BBC website, I thought it would be a good idea to put it here for anyone who might have missed it.


Update - 11:51, 21 March 2014

The BBC have now put the report on their website, here, though without the video. That's good, because it means people can use Google or Bing to translate it.

But it does seem strange that there is no English language version of the story. If the BBC go to the trouble and expense of sending out a reporter and film crew to Barcelona, they could produce an English version as well with minimal extra work and at virtually no extra cost. Mind you, the same is true the other way round too.

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Anonymous said...

Either spring comes late to Barcelona, or the video is quite a few weeks old.

Anonymous said...

Anon 13:35, MH and his blog hasn't quite recovered from the mauling he received from certain Plaid members over recent months.

Let's not make matters worse by pointing out more failings.

Anonymous said...

Will the states in Europe/USA claim the referendum in Catalunya is illegal as in the Crimea (which was only handed to Ukraine in 1954) .

Anonymous said...

Good to see items like this on S4C. They've been awfully dull in recent years - ready to send reporters to Nelson Mandela's death (yes, he's still dead) but didn't send anyone to a march of a 1.5 million people in Catalonia.

2014 is going to be a momentous year - Welsh media need to report it from a Welsh angle.

Re Anon 15.18 - I'd say there's a difference between Catalonia and Crimea. Catalonia is a nation which preceeded the Spanish state. Crimea was conquere by the Russian Empire just over 200 years ago. If the Crimea Tatars wanted independence I'd support them as they're the indigenous people who preceeded the state. As the Russian Empire and USSR have gone then Crimea is no more part of Russia as it is Ukraine and it's instructive that the indigenous people wanted to stay in Ukraine. It's very easy to be a majority in a territory (as the Russians are in Crimea) when you ethnically cleanse the indiegenous population and then deny them the right to return. And then hold a rather dodgy referendum.

The Catalan independence movement has been democractic, totally peaceful, and non secterian.


Anonymous said...


From the emails that were published, it was Chris Franks, the Discipline panel and Dafydd Trystan that got "mauled". They won't try that again.

Emyr said...

Diolch yn fawr for publishing this, I can't see S4C here in Catalonia due to broadcasting laws. They asked me a whole load of questions about why Wales doens't seem to be going the same way, but they obviously didn't publish my nationalist conculsions.

Emyr said...

Plus, anon, Spring is just beginning in Barcelona ;)

Robert Tyler said...

Hello Michael et al,
Am resident in London at the moment and have just read the Daily Mail's article on Wales. Surely there must be grounds for legal action regarding the the references to Welsh?

Anonymous said...

Robert, the Daily Mail is the best selling newspaper in the UK and it has one of the most popular web sites in the world.

It doesn't normally get stuff wrong. Perhaps it is you who are just a bit out of touch?

Anonymous said...

The Daily Mail is the most reliable paper in Britain, and the only one that tells the truth about Labour, the EU ... and this pathetic PRINCIPALITY that the taffia insist on calling Cymry.

Anonymous said...

19:58. The Sun is the best selling newspaper in the UK, idiot.

Anonymous said...

21:19, sorry, we are talking Saturday newspapers. The Daily Mail sells more on Saturday than the Sun.

By the way, is it Cymry or Cymru (or is there no difference)?

Anonymous said...

Cymry is the plural of Cymro which means a Welsh person, so it refers to the Welsh population. Cymry Cymraeg refers to the Welsh-speaking population. Cymru is a conventional mis-spelling of Cymry (they sound the same and have done for several hundred years) which now means the Welsh Nation or the Geographic area. The distinction is a useful one so no one has ever tried to correct it afaik.

Originally the Britions were split between many tribes or mini-nations, but faced with the English threat they united and called themselves "compatriots" hence Cymro from Cym "co-" and Bro "region".

Well you did ask :-)

MH said...

It's always good to see international news reported in Welsh, M. Although it's a BBC decision rather than one made by S4C. There's regular international news on Newyddion 9, but it's very rare indeed for there to be international news in Welsh on the BBC website.

To Emyr (and anyone else outside the UK) it's quite easy to watch S4C Clic and BBC iPlayer if you use a VPN ... or vice versa, for anyone in Wales who wants to see online stuff from, say, America. I use and would recommend SoftEther with the VPN Gate Client (available here).

MH said...

I've been thinking about writing something on the Crimea, but in the absence of a post, here are a few thoughts. We need to uphold the rights of people in any territory to determine how they wish to be governed. Therefore, in principle, I don't have any objection to the people of Crimea deciding that they no longer want to be part of Ukraine. However, the way that it was done in this particular case is problematic, mainly because it was done in such haste.

If the referendum had been held in a few month's time – after new elections in Ukraine as a whole with a properly elected government (we shouldn't forget that Yanukovych, democratically elected, was in effect ousted in a coup) – then I think there would have very little to complain about. I don't think the result would have been 93%, but I think there might well have been a comfortable majority in favour of secession anyway. I would have preferred to see an independent Crimea (it is about the same size as Wales – slightly smaller population of 2.4m, slightly larger area of 26,100 sq km – and therefore quite capable of being independent) that could have enjoyed close ties with Russia and cordial ties with Ukraine.

The political reality is that what has been done has now been done, and there's very little anyone will be able to do reverse it. In fact, I have to say that what was done was done very well. It was an adroit piece of international stageplay on the part of Russia, and "the West" has been made to look impotent and stupid. What has happened has been a great diplomatic failure on the part of the West, because we failed to realize Ukraine's unique position as a buffer state between east and west. The West's mistake was to try and draw Ukraine into its own exclusive sphere of influence, not realizing that it is just as much in Russia's sphere of influence. It will always be a country that needs to face both ways, and could benefit greatly from being in that position rather than being forced to take one side or the other.

As for the indigenous people, I agree that ethnic cleansing is always a problem, but everything depends on the timescale. It is possible to right those sorts of wrongs if done in a generation or two, but after longer than that, it becomes increasingly more difficult. The Tatars have been free to return for more than 20 years (although it's fair to say that nothing was ever done to encourage then to return, such as re-instating land) and not many have. And in fact they hardly endeared themselves to the Slavic population when they last ruled in Crimea by existing pretty much as a slave-trading centre to the Ottoman Empire, but no people have a spotless history.

On the other hand, Crimea has been part of the Russian "empire" in its various forms for over two hundred years. So I can't say that the end result is a bad outcome. It seems to me to be quite a reasonable outcome, however I wish it had been achieved in a more considered way rather than with what I see as undue haste.


In terms of the bigger picture, I would repeat that we need to uphold the principle of democratic self-determination above everything else. The "international community" seems to have a default position of instead wanting to put territorial integrity first, and this needs to be challenged.

For example, the Council of Europe has said:

"The Constitution of Ukraine ... provides for the indivisibility of the country and does not allow the holding of any local referendum on secession from Ukraine," said the commission in a statement.

"Only a consultative referendum on increased autonomy could be permissible under the Ukrainian Constitution."

All we need to do is substitute "Spain" for "Ukraine" to see how it would affect Catalunya's position.

MH said...

I've read the Daily Mail article, Robert. If others have the stomach for it, it's here.

What else would you expect from the Daily Mail? I'm sure aversion to Labour was more to the fore than aversion to Wales and Welsh, but how could they resist putting two of their favourite aversions together?

Freedom of the press means freedom to tell whatever lies you think you can get away with.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Mail article has major significance. It signals the Tory campaign against the Welsh Government. This is problematic for Welsh nationalists/Plaid because the Tory/Daily Mail campaign takes criticism of Labour (which we're comfortable with) but combines it with attacks on things we support like the Welsh language, airport public ownership and not doing the exact same "reforms" as Blair/Cameron (though maybe we need a distinct Welsh reform agenda instead). This is worrying because by attacking the language and public services the attackers isolate Plaid Cymru and include them as a target, rather than as part of the solution. It is also a futile strategy as the Tories could only ever rule in coalition with the Lib Dems or Plaid, something which will be impossible if they insist on being even more unionist or anti-Welsh.

Anonymous said...

Compare it with Nick Bourne's strategy of sounding more pro-Welsh culturally and more liberal/centrist and you see that it is a strategy that is more likely to damage Wales and our self-confidence than it is to lead to Labour losing power.

Anonymous said...

I've just learned that Veneto has had a unofficial referendum where over 75% of the population voted for independence from Italy. (i.e. 2.1 million voted for independence while only 1/2 million voted against).

MH said...

Yes. For more information, here are some reports:

The Atlantic
Russia Today
The Telegraph

The population is 5m. Just short of that of Scotland or Denmark.

89% of those who voted wanted independence, which equates to 63% of those eligible to vote.

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