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On why Scotland has a potentially rosier future than Catalonia.
CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE SIXTY-EIGHT
A remarkable wee essay appeared in the bookshops recently: 'El mirall escocès' ('The Scottish Mirror'), an insider's comparison of the current political situation in both Scotland and Catalonia, written by Xavier Solano, a Barcelona-born political adviser to the Scottish National Party.
Nestling in chapter four is a fascinating explanation of the key difference between Britain and Spain as far as the 'national question' is concerned. According to Solano, although England incorporated the Welsh into the UK by main force, and the Scots by bamboozling them into signing a contract, it never tried to make either nation officially English. By contrast, Castile, after its 18th century subjugation of the peninsular periphery, claimed the umbrella denomination 'Spain' as a synonym for itself, and then set about hammering those territories that gave the lie to this blatant bit of bluffing, into the Castilian national mould. This accounts for why Thatcher, Major and Blair can publicly accept a hypothetical independent Scotland, whereas Aznar, Rajoy and Zapatero would sooner drown themselves in a tub full of pigs' diarrhoea than even hint at the possibility of a sovereign Catalonia or Euskadi. Their Spain - being based on a lexical falsehood - is an object of faith, a sacred unity, the obvious heterogeneity of whose disparate parts is to be disregarded at all costs. Hence the Castilian monopoly on the word 'nation', the supersized Spanish flags that have to be flown everywhere, the ludicrous deference afforded the monarchy and the sabre-rattling whenever Basques or Catalans come up with a wheeze for achieving more autonomy. As a result, Scotland may well become self-governing in the near future; whereas Catalonia, follow though it might in the same democratic footsteps as its northern equivalent, will almost certainly find itself looking into the barrel of a gun.