Irish Politics


#1006

Just saying. :wink:


#1007

No bother , tips hat :wink:


#1008

We had the Catholic Church - and fianna fail ruin this country for close on 70 years after we gained indepedence ,it took us joining the EU in the 70s to start to finally wake up.


#1009

Ah sure , baby steps , might take them longer to prosper .


#1011

You and hundreds of thousands of others over the decades. There was at one time a mandatory Irish proficiency test for both. It has changed since but the fact it was ever there attested to the influence of a small clique full of their own self importance stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the reality of their society. That’s exactly the mentality you’re dealing with in Catalunya today and if given the opportunity they seem intent on making many of the same mistakes we did in the early years of independence.

For anyone interested, here’s a piece in an LSE blog about education policy in Catalunya. Its authors are clearly anti-independence but there’s nothing factually incorrect in it.


#1012

The missus is from Madrid. But before you think ‘ah that explains it’ - it doesn’t. I’d little interest in Spain until my mid-twenties until I read a book about the Spanish Civil War, after which I spent a few weeks travelling around the country and fell in love with the place. I continued to read about the place and its history and visit on a regular basis over the next few years, mostly to Andalucia where I’d found myself a Spanish football team in Real Betis (long story). Friends who knew me back then will attest to the fact I had little time for Catalan Nationalism or FC Barca, while simultaneously being repulsed by the Spanish right (which remains the case on both counts). That was years before I met the other half. For the record, I hate seeing that strain of Spanish politics/society that glorifies the Castilian flavour of Nationalism (and there’s certainly no shortage of it in the ruling PP) rear its ugly head in all of this and demand the crushing of Catalunya on the grounds of treason and national sovereignty, but that doesn’t imply that everybody opposing Catalan independence is similarly motivated, which is something claimed with increasing frequency and hostility by Catalan Separatists.

While much of the focus over recent weeks has been on the differences between Catalans and the rest of Spain (much of it misguided as Galicians and Andalucians for example have little in common), there’s been little acknowledgement of the great deal they have in common. Regrettably, one thing they share is an unhealthy level of stubbornness, which doesn’t bode well for a mutually beneficial solution to this.


#1013

I read recently that economics is the prime motivator - Catalonia contributes approx. 20% of Spain’s taxes but receives less than average investment in public services, and experienced disproportionately higher cuts during the crisis years.

It’s funny, in the context of you having said people here viewing the current situation through an Irish perspective, but what I quote above could have been, and I’m sure was, said about the Gaelic Leaguers - one of the key generators of Irish independence.


#1014

Wealthy regions often want to cut off the poorer ones. Nothern League in Italy are the same.


#1015

… and Germany want to cut Greece


#1016

Uroy I have been living in Catalonia for the last 30 years, I have been working in a primary school for the last 28 and all I can say to your post is that it is a copy of the false propaganda the Spanish government have been telling people in the rest of Spain for years.
I would ask also what is the problem with making Catalan a requirement for certain posts, surely if people are going to have to deal with documents or speak to people in Catalan they will need to be proficient in the language.
The only way people coming to the region will learn the language is through full immersion in the schools, if not they will never speak it, as in day to day life you can use Spanish all you want, I for example never speak Catalan.
Spanish will never die out here, saying it would is like saying English will die out in Ireland due to the Gael schools, but there is no doubt that Catalan would struggle big time if it was not for full immersion.
Also the requirement for working in most posts is far from proficiency, it is Level C, which on international terms would be B2, proficiency would be Level C2 which is far higher( In Catalan universities it is obligatory to have B2 in English before finishing a degree, nobody has any problem with this, but the criteria for Catalan seems to be different from the Spanish point of view), I would remind you that if I want to to teach in a full time post in Ireland I would also have to have a level of Irish.
The OECD run exams to compare levels of education around the world, they compare countries and regions, in recent years the level of Spanish in Catalonia has been way higher than the average in the rest of Spain, yet the Spanish government insist that Catalan children are not been taught Spanish.
Under the current educational system, all subjects are taught in Catalan, with the exception of Spanish, which is an obligatory subject in all schools and is also obligatory in the equivalent of the leaving cert. The Spanish government wants 50% of the subjects to be taught in Spanish, given that the marks achieved in Spanish are already higher than the average in the rest of Spain , why do they see it as necessary? Of course if you have a Spanish minister that goes on French TV and openly says that Spanish is not taught in Catalan schools, the same minister that goes on the BBC and states that the images of Police violence were fake, you begin to wonder what the motives are.
You make outlandish statements, such as many Catalan children being brought up to despise Spain, have you evidence of this, my daughters are very pro Catalan, her mother is Catalan born, but of Spanish origen, she has never been encouraged to despise Spain neither at home or in school, as I said I am a teacher as is my wife, I work in a semi private school and my wife in a state school, neither of us have seen any evidence of this so call indoctrinating.
You mention the media, the journalists working on Spanish national T.V. have officially complained to the unions about censorship on while reporting on the Catalan situation, one of the priorities of the Spanish government when they apply the article 155 is to take control of Catalan public TV and radio, again one would have to ask why?
You talk about fanatics, I would suggest that you look at some of the videos of the spanish police getting a send off from their towns and villages when coming here and then ask yourself why a Catalan would want to be part of that ?


#1017

It’s great that we are seeing both sides of the coin with @bigp & @URoy opinions & experience of the situation. Thanks for those posts lads .


#1018

If things remain they way they are the elections on the 21st will be a farce, if Spanish government have its way all the pro independence leaders will be in jail, by then, it is highly unlikely that the the independence parties will take part, the pro independence voters will more than likely boycott these elections and the turnout will probably be the lowest in history leaving the way for the Spanish government to install a government of its choice.
More than likely only 3 parties will go up, between them they got 51 of the 135 seats in the last election in 2015.


#1019

What do you see happening next for the Catalan support if the above happens ?


#1020

First of all it remains to be seen what happens between now and the 21st of December, that calling of the elections so soon has surprised a lot of people as Rajoy said only last week that he would wait until things got back to normality before calling elections and personally if possible in January, then 3 hours after the declaration he calls the elections, it certainly smacks of some kind of plan to rush in a government.
As it stands it is now likely that this government will be formed by a party that in normal circumstances would win around 15 of the 135 seats, now if Spain and the rest of Europe are willing accept that as democracy well so be it.
From now on IMO a huge amount will depend on civil servants and whether or not they will obey the orders from the new imposed rulers.


#1021

It’s true that Catalunya pays more tax into the Central Government than it gets back, something which I’m sure could be said of most large metropolitan areas in the world. But like the infamous £350 Million a week bandied about the Brexiteers, figures such as these need to be contextualized. For a start, like all the autonomous regions, Catalunya doesn’t have to pay for all the things for which the Regional Government doesn’t have responsibility, areas like border control, customs, defence forces, international relations, air traffic control, taxation and banking, as well as the civil service workforce required to administrate all of these.

The last year for which full accounts are available is 2014, in which year it paid almost €10 Billion more than it got back in public spending. That annual toll is much of the basis for the ‘Spain robs us’ argument but it conveniently overlooks a couple of very important considerations.

The first is Catalunya’s debt. In 2012, the debt of many of the Regional Governments, including Catalunya, hit a level where they could no longer feasibly borrow money on the International markets. The Central Government, itself struggling with debt, set up a fund to bail out the regional Governments. In those five years, Catalunya has been by far the biggest borrower from this fund, €67 Billion at the last count (only about €15 Billion of which has been paid back to date). In case your maths isn’t up to scratch, that has more or less negated the net contribution Catalunya has made to the Central Government pot over that period.

And of course, Catalunya’s current GDP reflects its current status of being Spain’s frontier to continental Europe and being part of the EU. The instant it leaves Spain, it’d be neither. As a huge net exporter, that’s obviously going to have a massively detrimental impact on their economy. The separatists have striven to portray the threat of expulsion from the EU as unionist propaganda but that’s ignoring the fact that every leading EU figure to have spoken on the topic has made it clear that Catalunya would be regarded as a new country and have to go through the application process from scratch. It would thus need the approval of every EU member, including Spain and France and entail, even in the best scenario, a spell of some years outside the EU. Were that to transpire, it’d soon long for the days when paying more into Spain’s budget than it got back was its biggest economic gripe.


#1022

I think you will find that Catalonia’s gripe is not that it pays more tax than it gets back, it is that proportionately it pays more than the rest and secondly how a lot of that money is being used by central governments, for example to have 7 out of every 10 people in Extremedura working as civil cervants.
On the EU thing, I agree all leaders have stated that it would not automatically be a member, but the truth is that it is not really clear as it has never happened before. I mean you could argue that Spain too would also have to reapply as geographically and economically it would not be the same country as the one that entered in the first place. Also it has to be remembered that as things stand Catalans are EU citizens, can the EU take away that right from an individual? Also there is the fact that there are only two main accesses to the Iberian peninsula, through Catalonia or the basque Country, the main railway line also passes through, if Catalonia was out of the EU for a long period it would cause severe damage to the Spanish economy.
Put it this way you only have to look at how the EU twisted and turned on the Scottish situation, depending on if they were looking at it from an independence perspective or a brexit one. And of course there are those who believe the EU is not all it is made out to be, plenty of European countries get along fine without being in it.
Uroy you talk a lot about the Catalans using terms such as lunatics, fanatics etc, can you put forward any positive arguments given by the Spanish to encourage the Catalans to stay, up until recently they just laughed off the independence surge as a joke, then they started on about the scare mongering, " Out of the EU" “out of the Euro” etc and finally they send in their police to beat the sh… out of people peacefully protesting and overthrow the government, hardly encouraging pro independence people to come on board. Why couldn’t the Spanish simply let the Catalans vote?


#1023

Are they actually afraid they would vote for independence ? Or are they trying to stamp out any idea of it .It all seems very heavy handied.


#1024

Excellent @URoy and very enlightening - many thanks. Find the whole issue very interesting.


#1025

We’ll agree to disagree on that. I think you’re spouting some false propaganda yourself, more of which anon.

If the post was for a health worker in rural Girona, fair enough. A library worker in Barcelona for example might literally never encounter a Catalan-only speaker from one end of the year to the other, yet be excluded from applying for that job in account of having little or no Catalan. And 45% of the population are in that position.

I’d argue they shouldn’t need to. The region has two official languages, speaking either should suffice so long as it’s practical for the position and local circumstances. To make the speaking of either mandatory in a bilingual region is divisive and ideologically motivated, just as it was the opposite way round under Franco.

And doesn’t the fact that you never speak it after 30 years there prove it isn’t necessary?

Gallego was banned under Franco too (ironically enough as he was from Galicia himself). Galicia has a higher proportion of Gallego speakers than Catalunya has Catalan speakers. That’s been achieved without full immersion in schools. That proves it isn’t necessary and claims it’ll disappear if given equal billing with Spanish are unfounded. Catalan survived almost four decades of being officially banned, it’s not going to disappear because it’s spoken 10-12 hours a week in school instead of 20.

Who’s talking about teaching? You still require a level of proficiency in Catalan for many jobs that most people new to the region wouldn’t have.

Ah this chestnut. It’s addressed in the link I posted earlier. The PISA test only examines reading comprehension, which is the easiest part of learning any language. It’s widely accepted that any true test of language proficiency should also include an oral exam, listening comprehension and writing, with particular regard to spelling. It’s in the latter area that third level institutions have raised particular concern about the level of proficiency among kids graduating from the current Catalan school system and little surprise. The notion that kids studying Spanish three hours per week would have a better level of the language than kids studying it 20 hours plus per week is risible. And it’s showing. I know of employers in Madrid who have received CV’s and job applications from Catalans (in Spanish) which demonstrated such poor command of the language with grammatical deficiencies and spelling errors that they literally couldn’t be considered for what were not highly skilled jobs by any means. A work colleague of mine from Galicia had to proof read any important email sent by her Catalan boss in a previous job. That’s only going to become more widespread so long as this policy persists. Spanish is in no danger of dying out as a spoken language in Catalunya but its level of written proficiency is in danger of becoming too poor for the satisfaction of many employers.

I’ve already addressed that disingenuous claim. And perhaps the desire to keep the region genuinely bilingual is so that it doesn’t become an economic backwater over the coming decades?

I’m not denying the PP has an agenda here. In this case, I would say he’s being disingenuous in deliberately failing to contextualize his remarks, rather than outright lying. It is the case that Spanish isn’t taught at pre-school level in many areas of Catalunya. And some of the images tweeted by Independence supporters on October 1st definitely were knowingly faked. This one purported to be a kid split open by the Guardia Civil on that day. It was tweeted with a caption reading ‘Every democrat should be embarrassed by this image’.

https://goo.gl/images/8eM2Gb

Indeed they should, as it turned out to be 5 years old and the injury had been inflicted by the Mossos (Catalunya’s own regional police). It wasn’t the only instance of this deception. A shot of an elderly lady also bleeding from the forehead was later found to be the result of a fall down the stairs. A Catalan flag magically appeared in a photo of Guardia Civil restraining striking miners three months earlier. Then you had this beaut, claiming to have had five fingers broken one by one and being sexually molested by police, only to change her story after neighbours noted here using her supposedly mutilated hand the next day.

Which isn’t to say there was no violence from the Guardia Civil that day but certainly Catalan separatists were guilty of manipulating public opinion with the propagation of fake news.

Yes, I’ve witnessed several instances of Catalans demonstrating levels of disapproval with individual Spaniards ranging from what I might call rudeness or passive aggressive behaviour (typically speaking to people they know don’t speak Catalan in Catalan, when they’re well capable of speaking Spanish) through to outright hostility. And the younger they are, the more prone they are to such behaviour from my experience.

I suspect it’s more a case of what Catalans aren’t taught in school than what they are that’s doing the damage here. Listening to these kids, you’d swear Catalunya fought Franco alone and that he had the support of everyone in Spain. Madrid was the very last city to fall to the Nationalists (long after Catalans had given up after fatally weakening themselves through infighting), because Franco’s famed ‘fifth column’ of Nationalist sympathisers in the capital simply didn’t exist, or at least not in sufficient numbers to rise up against the Republicans there. Perhaps that historical reality needs to be factored into the Catalan psyche.

And journalists based in Barcelona have reported harassment for daring to print anything critical of the independence movement.

Not gonna lie, the optics of that are shocking. I know enough of Spain to know that there is a very nasty element among those opposing Catalan independence, just as there is among those supporting it. As I said earlier, they make for uncomfortable bedfellows in this situation on which everybody with any kind of stake in Spain has been forced to take sides.

As to why Catalans should want to stay in Spain, I agree the Government are making a dog’s dinner of encouraging them to stay. In these instances I suppose you need to appeal to hearts and minds. There’s little point trying to convince the radicals, but up until recently the majority of Catalans could live with being both Catalan and Spanish. Many still do. The policy should be to try get them back onside and isolate the separatists on the economic argument, not that beating people in the street is going to achieve that. Christ knows what happens from here.


#1026

That’s quite the post , I’m going to set aside time later to read it !