SNP stands with Catalonia as resolution of support passes without opposition

Motion of support for the “democratic will of the people of Catalonia” passed at SNP’s Autumn conference

THE SNP has further entrenched its support for the people of Catalonia in the aftermath of the embattled Catalan independence referendum with a topical resolution calling for international mediators to find an “agreed solution” to Catalonia’s standoff with the Spanish Government.

After an onstage tribute was paid to the Catalan delegation to the United Kingdom and Ireland, represented at the conference by Sergi Marcén and Jennifer Velasco, much of the audience erupted in a standing ovation, unfurling Catalan flags and delivering perhaps the most sustained bout of cheers and applause of the SNP’s Autumn conference thus far.

“Irrespective of how your country moves forward, you’ll always have friends in Scotland.” SNP MP Douglas Chapman

Following this, SNP MP and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia Douglas Chapman joked that the conference’s enthusiasm for Catalonia had left him with a mere 30 seconds left to speak.

Chapman continued: “Irrespective of how your country moves forward, you’ll always have friends in Scotland.”

Tributes were also paid to those SNP politicians and representatives of Young Scots for Independence (YSI) who travelled to Catalonia as observers during the 1 October referendum.

“The true dignity however, lies with the people of Catalonia,” continued Chapman. “Their actions were exemplified in the face of violence and provocation and intimidation. They went ahead and were determined to make their mark.

“While the Spanish authorities, as you all know, put a great deal of effort into making that vote as difficult as ever, the Catalans responded in a way I’d never seen before: by making paella. They sang and danced and smiled.

“Ladies and gentlemen, they used the most valuable weapon we have: they used a ballot paper and a pen, and that was more important than anything the Spanish authorities could throw at them.

“Never again should we see an EU state turn with violence against their own people.”

“What I saw was repression on a scale I never expected to see in a Western, European democracy.” SNP MP Joanna Cherry

Joanna Cherry, who along with Chapman and a number of others was in Barcelona for the referendum as part of a 35-nation cross-party delegation, also spoke in favour of the resolution, saying: “What I witnessed was a quiet and dignified determination to vote in the face of considerable interference.

“What I saw was repression on a scale I never expected to see in a Western, European democracy.

“The Spanish Government have a postion about the legality of this referendum which you’re all aware of. As a matter of international law, the disproportionate use of force is not lawful, and what happened on the streets of Catalonia was not lawful.”  

“You can’t in a democracy simply say to people: it’s illegal for you to decide what you want your future to be.” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Earlier on Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I didn’t ever really take kindly to people trying to interfere in whether Scotland should become independent; it’s not for me to say whether Catalonia should be independent.

“But there are two things I would say: firstly, the scenes we saw last Sunday of violence against people just trying to vote were absolutely unacceptable, and everybody, regardless of their views on independence, I think should condemn that.

“But secondly, the people of Catalonia should be able to decide their own future. So if that referendum was illegal, which is Spain’s position and I respect that, the question is: could people legally and legitimately express their view?

“Because you can’t in a democracy simply say to people: it’s illegal for you to decide what you want your future to be.”

Sturgeon reiterated her call for dialogue between the Catalan and Spanish Governments in resolving the situation.

Earlier on Monday, the French Government stated it would not recognise Catalonia should it go ahead with a unilateral declaration of independence, arguing that such an act would result in expulsion from the European Union. Nathalie Loiseau, France’s European affairs minister, argued: “If there were to be a declaration of independence, it would be unilateral, and it would not be recognised.”

The Catalan referendum result, which yielded a 90 per cent victory in favour independence, will be brought before the Catalan parliament by Catalan president Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday evening.

“We will apply what the law says.” Catalan President Carles Pugdemont

Puigdemont may push for a unilateral declaration of independence in defiance of Madrid. However, moderate elements within Puigdemont’s party, Catalan PDeCAT, are reportedly urging the president to back down from such an action. Catalan MP Marta Pascal told the BBC on Sunday that there will instead be a “symbolic statement”.

However, due to reforms pushed through the Catalan parliament shortly before the plebiscite, Puigdemont has argued that he is required to make a declaration of independence, regardless of the views of the Spanish Government or constitutional court.

Speaking to Catalonia’s TV3 television station, Puigdemont said: “The declaration of independence, that we don’t call a ‘unilateral’ declaration of independence, is foreseen in the referendum law as an application of the results. We will apply what the law says.”

Picture courtesy of Sasha Popovic

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Mon, 10/09/2017 - 18:36

Awesome. The reasoning the SNP have just committed themselves to also requires that the will of the regions of Scotland be respected in case a big turnout from Glasgow should ever result in a successful independence referendum. Dumfries & Galloway, Borders, Orkney and Shetland, were all >60% "No". As was Edinburgh!


Mon, 10/09/2017 - 19:24

And on the same basis you will then support Catalonia’s right to express a view?


Mon, 10/09/2017 - 21:08

I'm sympathetic to Catalonia but they are on a loser. UDI in their circumstances is a non starter as all the existing countries will blank them. Most have areas like the Basques, the Kurds, the Walloons and many others. they, none of them, want to give encouragement to their own separate enclaves.

Transpose it to Scotland and what should we do? If Westminster says no; as is likely after the scare they got last time; we wait until the next UK General Election. When it comes, as come it must, we declare that a vote for the SNP is a vote for independence. Make no other manifesto pledges.

Declare if the country votes for it we will send no SNP members to Westminster; If we get more than half of the seats and at least 50% of the turnout we will set up an independent Scotland with a full mandate from the electorate. Then UDI is a winner.

Did you witness the jeering and barracking our leader got from the unionists today in Westminster. There is little point in sending representatives to be ignored and outvoted by English MPS.


Mon, 10/09/2017 - 22:21

Good grief. Were you not listening in 2014 when we were told that the referendum would be legally binding on both sides and would settle the matter for a generation? You can design as many self-serving mechanisms to produce a different result as you wish. None of them will ever have any legitimacy in the eyes of the world, of the UK, or of the people of Scotland.


Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:42

Nor did the 2014 referendum have any legitimacy in the eyes of the people of Scotland when purdah was breached, the postal ballot observed, the vows broken and no-one prosecuted.


Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:47

They really should reword it as the “democratic will of some of the people of Catalonia” for the sake of some accuracy. I wonder if there will be anything about Scottish independence?

Douglas Stuart ...

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 12:41

All democrats should condemn the shocking reaction of the Spanish State and the violence used on the 1st of October on voters in the unofficial referendum in Catalonia. But if Conference is saying that the result should be recognized and UDI declared today, then I think that is wrong.

The Spanish Constitution of 1978 is the only Constitution in Spain's history which has actually worked for the country, and it allows for much more autonomy for Catalonia than we have in Scotland.

More importantly, it is as much an unofficial peace deal between the "two Spains" - left and right, liberal and reactionary, secular and clerical, centrist and federal - which had been at war for centuries, as it is an arrangement for the governance of the country.

To simply ignore the Constitution of 1978 is reckless and in light of the history of Spain, down right dangerous. We have already seen numerous violent incidents on the streets of Spain since the referendum, most recently in Valencia yesterday, and more violence is sure to follow if UDI is declared today by Puigdemont...

The Constitution needs to be reformed for several reasons, one of them being to allow for the right of self-determination of the "historic communities" of Spain, which are Galicia, Catalonia, the Basque Country, and Andalucia.

This is what Podemos and people like Ada Colau and Xavier Domench from En Comu are arguing for and it is a view which I subscribe to.

I believe in politics, political solutions and patience is part of that. I prefer politics and dialogue to crowds marching with flags and harangues from the podium any day of the week.

What we are seeing playing out in Catalonia is a fait acompli; Puigdemont and Junqueras knew that Rajoy would never agree to a binding referendum; they knew that that half of Catalonia that wants to remain part of Spain wouldn't come out to vote; they knew that Rajoy and his thuggish paramilitary police would crack down hard; they knew that this would win them more support and justify them declaring UDI...

If UDI is announced today, the SNP should distance themselves from it. It is simply not credible to declare independence on a 42% turn-out.

What do Carles Puigdemont and Mariano Rajoy have in common? They are both on the right of the political spectrum, and they are both prepared to ignore the wishes of approximately half the population of Catalonia.

We need dialogue and patience, patience and dialogue,, not UDI and the application of Article 155, which will see Catalan autonomy suspended...

Like many, I fear for Catalonia and I fear for Spain...


Tue, 10/10/2017 - 13:20

"Nor did the 2014 referendum have any legitimacy in the eyes of the people of Scotland"

Oh good grief. 3.6 million voters turned out. Get over it. Move on.

Douglas Stuart ...

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 13:25

By the way, it is worth pointing out that most Catalan intellectuals were against the referendum of October 1st, and that most of those same people do indeed want a legal, binding referendum, just not the one organized by Puigdemont, Junqueras and co....

We're talking about film directors like Isabel Coixet, writers like Juan Marsé and Eduard Mendoza, and most tellingly, the folk-singer-song-writer Joan Manuel Serrat....

Serrat was and is THE Catalan Icon of resistance against Franco, he had to flee into exile when Franco was alive. He rejected the referendum because it wasn't "transparent". And it wasn't.

The referendum bill was never even debated in the Catalan Parliament, for God's sake. And the legislation to be applied when YES won, the "Ley de la Transitoriedad" was passed BEFORE the referendum even took place, which just shows what a farce the only thing is...

For opposing the referendum, Serrat and Isabel Coixet have been called "fascists", which is deplorable...

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