Friday, December 22, 2017

When there is a popular vote, heavy hands rarely help

I suppose I could pretend I'm an expert on Catalonian politics because I spent a week in Barcelona several years ago. I do have a few friends who are very supportive of the separatist movement (and a couple of less-vocal friends on the other side) so it has been interesting to read what they wrote about the issue recently, especially last October. But otherwise, I have no more insight than any other clueless American.

I can't help but wonder if this election would have gone much better for Madrid if they didn't crack down so hard on people trying to vote in the October 1 referendum. Sure, they viewed the vote as illegal. But they could have just called it illegal, let it happen, and then said they are not bound by the result. That would have pissed off the real separatist supporters, but not anyone else. Sending in the riot police to stop a peaceful vote (not to mention the heavy-handed action against print shops, etc. before the vote) pissed off a lot of people who probably are not die-hard separatist.