Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Should Catalonia be independent of Spain?" debate in Gibraltar





Last Sunday 16th I shared a debate before 50 persons -majorly english and gibraltarian- in one of the events of the Gibraltar Literary Festival. The event was "Should Catalonia be independent of Spain?", and it was chaired by William Chislett, former FT correspondant in Madrid and my opponent was Rafael Arenas, Legal Dept. Chief of SCC

The debate was developed within the classic parameters of this events, with Mr. Arenas based on the fear and menace arguments (Spanish Constitution, rejection of European Union), and with addition of some other tipycal fake arguments like the ones related wit the children manipulation in schools or the media manipulation in Catalonia, to put a couple of examples.



This position was responded by myself with the also well known arguments of historic, cultural and economic legitimacy that are teh base of the Catalonia independence claim. Specially impacting were some economic data related to the Catalonian fiscal deficit (8% GDP, 16 bn € yearly) related to the percentage of free and toll roads (47/53 in Catalonia, 81/19 in Spain) or the fact that an hypotetical Spanish boycott to the acceptance of an independent Catalonia in the EU wouldn't be viable for Spain, given that the 40% of the Spanish "non catalan" exports go to Europe through Catalonia, so such a volume like this wouldn't be manageable to shift towards the Basque Country on their way to Europe not even in a short period of time, but also in the mid term. Surprisingly, Mr. Arenas didn't argue about the feasibility of an independent Catalonia.



The 9N vote was also a matter of interest, and the floor questions were related to things like if Podemos (new left wing party in Spain) could help tosolve the issue. In this case both Mr. Arenas and myself agreed that the new party Podemos won't give any solution to the issue. Very impacting was the quote of the Catalan writer Josep Pla -that was not in favour of the independence by the way- that said "there's no more similar thing to a right wing Spaniard than a left wing Spaniard"


Finally a question related to the fact that if the independence of Catalonia could open the "pandora's box" in Spain was replied by myself with the argument that after 150 years trying to change and modernize Spain and get as a result that the only Catalan Prime Minister in the Spanish history (Prim) was killed and increasing waves of anti-catalanism, catalans had gained the right to try the endeavour of independence on themselves.

Àlex Furest

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