CASSANDRA NASH

A weekly look

- and not entirely impartial reaction -
to the Spanish political scene

MADRID and Barcelona: are we talking politics or are we talking sport? Both are inseparably co-dependent and there are areas where it’s never easy to define which is which. Take Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid ace who is currently much exercised over the way that Spain’s tax authority Hacienda is…
FUGITIVE MP’s from the Catalan parliament, who fled to Brussels with Carles Puigdemont after he declared independence, fell on their swords and renounced their seats. In keeping with the way that Spain’s elections are organised, Esquerra Republicana (ERC) and two Junts per Catalunya (JxC) seats will be occupied by the…
CATALUÑA still lacks a government but now has a Parliament plus a Speaker and Mesa to regulate its day-to-day running. Unsurprisingly the Speaker, Roger Torrent, and the majority of the Mesa are pro-independence. Ciudanos was the most-voted party last December but is outnumbered in parliament by ex-president Carles Puigdemont’s JxC,…
SPAIN’S president Mariano Rajoy had the nerve to urge Ines Arrimadas to try to form a government in Cataluña. As Ciudadanos was the most-voted constitutionalist party, this was her obligation, he maintained, although Arrimadas knows she cannot compete with the combined seats of the pro-independence parties. Yet after the December…
THE Partido Popular has a problem on two fronts. One, as the governing party in Spain it has lost credibility in Cataluña where it nominally governs after suspending the region’s autonomous status. Following the regional elections it now has only four MPs in the regional parliament, on level pegging with…
SPAIN is shellshocked but not Cataluña. The popular theory that the pro-independence separatists were a noisy majority whose stridencies silenced the cowed and silent majority has had holes blown all the way through it. Certainly more Catalans voted for Ines Arrimadas and Ciudadanos than ever before and her party has…
EXAMINING judge Jose Castro, trod on many toes during his instruction of the Noos case which could send the Infanta Cristina’s husband to prison for fraud and tax evasion. Castro revealed recently that while handling the pre-trial instruction he was openly followed and would wake up to find excrement smeared…
DOES Carmen Forcadell, Speaker of the Catalan parliament, speak with a forked tongue? Forcadell avoided being remanded along with the eight members of the regional government who didn’t run off to Brussels by claiming that Cataluña’s UDI was symbolic. She also told the examining judge that if she remained active…
RAJOY’S go-to strategy for political predicaments has always been to hide behind the courts or the public prosecution department. Now it has come and bitten him on the backside. The Fiscalia - less detached from the government than it should be - accused the Catalan government of sedition and rebellion.…
HE’S a bit of a coward is Carles Putzschdemont (someone else’s joke, but too good not to share). Cataluña’s president Carles Puigdemont chickened out of announcing the Republic on October 10 as his separatist supporters expected. On the eve of UDI, faced with accusations of treachery, he chickened out of…
CARLES PUIGDEMONT, who dissembled for nearly a month, declared Catalan independence in a farcical vote in a half-empty parliament chamber. Seventy pro-independence MPs were considered sufficient for UDI although changes to the region’s electoral laws or the Statute of Autonomy require approval from 90. Article 155 of the Spanish constitution…
AS usual Spain takes a beating in the European press. Despite applying the Constitution’s Article 155 and booting out the Catalan president and his government, Spain’s president Mariano Rajoy emphasised that Cataluña’s autonomy had not been removed. The region would not be governed from Madrid and there would be elections…
ON what should have been Independence Day, pro-secessionist crowds gathered as near to the regional parliament as the police would allow, ready to welcome the Catalan republic. Silence reigned as Carles Puigdemont’s expected UDI declaration inside the parliament chamber was diluted into plans for dialogue over several weeks before severing…
KING FELIPE’S address to the nation did little to reassure those outside Cataluña and nothing to influence the secessionists inside it. His father Juan Carlos defused the attempted coup on the night of February 23 1981 not because he invoked the Constitution but because the military who rose up against…

Game over

October 06, 2017
OCTOBER 1, the day of the illegal Cataluña referendum, was abbreviated by the Spanish media to l-0. This looked like a football score with a victory for the home team. That is how Carles Puigdemont and his separatist supporters still see it, although Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, the Spanish vice-president…
THEY got Al Capone for unpaid taxes and they’re digging for dirt on Cataluña’s regional president Carles Puigdemont. Allegedly Puigdemont can be linked to dodgy deals and contracts in Girona whose mayor he was before being called to greater things in Barcelona. Puigdemont, incidentally, was never elected president but took…
ANNA GABRIEL is leader of the CUP anti-system party whose votes are vital to the Junts pel Si coalition that governs Cataluña. She refused to attend the Barcelona ceremony that awarded city hall’s Gold Medal of Civilian Merit to the police, firefighters, hospital staff and civil defence members who attended…
AUGUST is a weird month for employment. Statistics are promising early on thanks to the people engaged in July to serve beer to tourists and make hotel beds. Then August 31 arrives and most of the workers return to the out-o-fwork wasteland. Hauling Spain out of the economic crisis and…
KING FELIPE and the president of the Spanish government Mariano Rajoy got the bird at the pro-peace, antiterrorist march in Barcelona. The placards and banners suggested that this was because Felipe cosied up to the Saudis - who doesn’t? - and sweet-talked them into arms deals while Rajoy’s government is…
SMALL anti-system party CUP, which shores up the Junts pel Si coalition in Cataluña’s regional parliament, enjoys making political gestures. After the jihadi killings in Barcelona the party shunned Mass in the Sagrada Familia Basilica and the minute’s silence that followed because King Felipe and Mariano Rajoy were there. CUP…

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