back to article ¡Dios mío! Spain blocks DNS to hush Catalonian independence vote sites

As a controversial referendum on the independence of Catalonia draws near, the Spanish government has expanded efforts to shut it down, even blocking access to some websites. After a number of .cat websites covering the referendum were aggressively shut down by the authorities, pro-independence groups set up new websites at …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A government using blocking set up for terrorists and copyright for something else.

    I would never in a million years have thought that would ever happen.

    Maybe our mainstream press should now sit up and take notice because if they don't it's them that will get blocked at some point.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      That's all right because we'll have the European courts to protect our freedom of speech. Oh.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "That's all right because we'll have the European courts to protect our freedom of speech. Oh."

        Because that's worked so well in Catalunya.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge
      2. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

        The European Court doesn't to be doing too well at protecting free speech for the Catalonians does it?

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      "Maybe our mainstream press should now sit up and take notice because if they don't it's them that will get blocked at some point."

      The mainstream press would need to start telling the truth more often than lying for them to be affected.

      1. K Silver badge
        Trollface

        @wolfetone

        How dare you post this fake news.. The UK press is impartial, never pushes the political agenda of their owners and can be trusted. They are 110% honest, and can be trusted, it's the right thing!

        Donald Trump, owners and editors of major UK press publications approve this message

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      The Spanish government has said today it's DNS blocked more than 140 websites which support the referendum (link).

      So when central government talk about the rule of law and Catalonia has to follow the law, as they always do when this subject comes up, forgive me if I'm a bit cynical.

      The Catalan government has decided to use less blockable ways of getting the message across - a direct link to a CDN, a Telegram robot, a Twitter account, and an e-mail address (link).

      As you have to enter your ID number, date of birth, and postcode to get told the polling station where you have to vote, it brings up some interesting data protection questions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Data protection

        The data is completely protected.

        The website has a table with salted hashes created with the private data and a pointer to a polling station.

        You enter the data, the hash is computed and if a matching is found the polling station is displayed.

        So no, no private data is in the database nor is saved with the check.

        Anonymous because I'm in Catalunya.

    4. ESmub68

      "A government using blocking set up for terrorists and copyright for something else."

      A Catalan government that uses children by moving them out of schools to attend to demonstrations of protest in the street... Unbelievable.

      A Catalan government that uses public funds to organize a referendum that has been prohibited by Spain Constitutional Court (equivalent of US Supreme Court).

      You all have to know that the Constitution of Spain stablishes that Spain is ONE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE and ONE SOVEREIGN NATION; This means that no region can assume the sovereignty of the whole Spain People and organize a referendum to decide their auto-determination. THIS IS THE LAW.

      I can expose a million more rational arguments as the above... anyway I would like to ask you to not to express such opinions without having the whole picture.

      Half-true facts are complete lies, someone stated.

      Sorry if my english is not good enough to express complex thoughts, not my natural language.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ESmub68

        I'm sorry you feel that way about my comment, there are always two sides to every argument however the point I made had nothing to do with supporting Catalan it was to do with what the government is using it's powers for.

        Are the Catalonian terrorists?

        Are they copyright abusers?

        The answer to this is no therefore the government didn't create these powers to stop political discussion but to stop terrorists and copyright and they are abusing that power.

        I do not have all the information needed to form an opinion though at some point soon I will research the history and the reasons and make an informed choice.

      2. Ogi

        "A Catalan government that uses public funds to organize a referendum that has been prohibited by Spain Constitutional Court (equivalent of US Supreme Court).

        You all have to know that the Constitution of Spain stablishes that Spain is ONE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE and ONE SOVEREIGN NATION; This means that no region can assume the sovereignty of the whole Spain People and organize a referendum to decide their auto-determination. THIS IS THE LAW."

        A constitution is a piece of paper. Unless (a) all parties agree to abide by it, or (b) it is backed up by violence, it is worthless. The history books (and present reality in the world) is littered with quasi states that are partially recognised (Nagorno-Karabakh, Kosovo, Israel, Palestine, Taiwan, Transnistria for example), and constitutions that have been violated left right and centre to the point of meaninglessness.

        So far Spain had been trying to get all parties to abide by it. As that seems less and less likely to happen, they are bring it out the violence. It is a standard procedure, because if Spain says something is unconstitutional, and people go do it anyway, and there is no punishment, then other people may think they can violate the constitution as well.

        It is a tricky situation, because by doing this Spain is turning more Catalans against Madrid, which can well cause problems down the line. However if they did nothing, and the Catalans declare unilateral independence, that may inspire other parts of Spain to the same. The Basques in particular may feel emboldened themselves to demand the same.

        The question on my mind is this: If Spain ramps up the violence even more, more arrests, more denials of ability to vote, more suppression of independence opinions or talk, more "police action" against separatists. What will the Catalans do? Will they respond with violence? Roll over and submit? Push even harder for independence? Rarely do states peacefully allow a chunk of territory to leave (because that is the first crack in said states dissolution), so usually there is an armed insurrection at some point.

        I also wonder where the Catalans suddenly got the bravery to challenge Spain like this. They have been making noises about independence for decades, but never moved towards it.

        Usually when a minority in a country challenges the majority like this, and violates the constitution, it is because they have support of a stronger power. Someone who has an interest in an independence outcome, and the money, global political influence and/or army to support it. Without such a backer Catalonia would be crushed, and the Catalan politicians know this (hence they made noise, but no moves towards it for so long).

        1. ESmub68

          "A constitution is a piece of paper. Unless (a) all parties agree to abide by it, or (b) it is backed up by violence, it is worthless. The history books (and present reality in the world) is littered with quasi states that are partially recognised (Nagorno-Karabakh, Kosovo, Israel, Palestine, Taiwan, Transnistria for example), and constitutions that have been violated left right and centre to the point of meaninglessness."

          A Constitution is a piece of paper??? Are you serious?

          For sure you are not a USA citizen...

          OMG a hundred times.

          1. Strahd Ivarius

            @ESmub68

            If the colonials had followed the law of the time, they wouldn't have become US citizens...

            1. ESmub68

              @Strahd Ivarious

              So, are you comparing the US Independence War with what is happening in Catalonia? C'mon

              Different ages, different geopolitical frameworks...

              Fortunately we are not in century XVIII; but if you mean that maybe Catalonians should fight for their independence, then this is the kind of thoughts I cannot even imagine at this time and this era.

              Spain is a democratic Nation and a member of the European Union and the Spain Constitution preserves the integrity of the Spain territory (as any other first-world Constitution law you might read).

              You all seem to support Catalonians following their romantic revolution; but things are quite more serious. Investigate, read the facts, THE TRUE FACTS, not the propaganda.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                One of the people who drafted the Spanish constitution says it does not ban independence referendums - link (in English).

                Now you can either answer this in two ways:

                1. You don't like the news agency... but it's only reporting what he's saying.

                2. He's Catalan so he would say that... but he helped write the constitution.

              2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                So, are you comparing the US Independence War with what is happening in Catalonia? C'mon

                Have people changed? There was a nationalist war in Yugoslavia only a few years ago. There were terrorist campaigns in Northern Ireland and the Basque region of Spain until very recently.

                Catalonia has a lot of autonomy within Spain. This may be enough for everyone. In which case nothing bad will happen, and there will just be lots of complaining.

                What true facts should I read?

                You say that Spain is a democracy. Then why cannot the Catalans vote on this issue? Canada has done this with Quebec twice, the UK with Scotland, Czechoslovakia split into two countries amicably. So that's 3 countries that allowed one group to vote to decide their future.

                Why not Spain?

                If Spain fails to allow this issue to be settled by reasonable politics, then I would argue that Spain is not a very good democracy.

                Perhaps nationalism blinds you to common sense.

                What gives Spain the right to govern Catalonia? In a true democracy the answer is the consent of the goverened. That's the people of Catalonia. If Spain fails to keep that consent, then Spain is an empire, and Catalonia its colony. That is democracy.

                A bit like when the Spanish government says Gibraltar should belong to Spain. No. Gibraltar belongs to the people of Gibraltar. They get to decide who governs them. This is the basic principle of self-determination.

                1. ESmub68

                  "What true facts should I read?

                  You say that Spain is a democracy. Then why cannot the Catalans vote on this issue? Canada has done this with Quebec twice, the UK with Scotland, Czechoslovakia split into two countries amicably. So that's 3 countries that allowed one group to vote to decide their future."

                  I explained the reason in a former post hooked in this article. Please fetch it.

                  If Catalans want to decide their self-determination by means of a referendum then they have to request a change in the Constitution (which is something feasible as the law contemplates this scenario); but they have to follow the proceedings. What they are doing now is simply to disobey the law, which is totally illegal.

                  Some true facts are:

                  1. After 36 years living in Franco's dictatoship, Spain converted itself into a democratic state by voting a Constitution that establishes Spain as a one nation with one sovereign people.

                  2. Catalonians voted massively in favour of that Constitution, this happen before the implantation of the State of the Autonomies (regions that can run by themselves upon the State final supervision).

                  3. Under this constitutional framework, Catalonia has become the most advanced self-governed region in Europe with one or the highest level of living, economical, social and cultural progress.

                  Despite of these true facts, Catalonian leaders still claim for more privigeles and refuse to be ruled by Spain laws. This attitude shows egoism, unsolidarism and contributes to develop xenophobic behaviours within Catalonia region. Catalonian leaders are irresponsible and are fooling catalonians with false arguments to hold a referendum that is not valid at any instance, not only in Spain but also in Europe.

                  Of course, most of the spaniards ouside Catalonia are completely fed up with this situation and the eternal claims coming from independentist catalonians. This situation must finish and at this time there is no way to think of a win-win... one side has to lose.

                  If not clear yet I bet for Spain.

                  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                    They've tried requesting a change and they get told no.

                    The nation might be defined indivisible but that doesn't stop a referendum taking place, as I posted above. One of the people who wrote the constitution said it wouldn't prevent referendums. Spain won't be torn asunder the moment the result is called.

                    Surely the best way to do it would be to have a referendum, then decide what to do based on the result. The result based on polling data shows it would be about 41% for independence. The central government can say "okay, we've heard you, let's see what we can do about your devolved powers". Just allowing the same tax-rasing powers that the Basque Country has would probably kill the independence movement overnight.

                    This cycle of "We're not listening to you till you have a legal referendum - no, we won't allow you to have a legal referendum" is beyond stupid.

                    Still a lot of open wounds 1939 to 1975. General Franco will be turning in his massive mausoleum.

                    Spain just swept it under the carpet, completely different from Germany's approach.

      3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        ESmub68,

        Your english is fine. It's difficult working in another language.

        And I understand your point, about the Spanish constitution. BUT, what if your constitution disagrees with international law?

        Chapter 1 of the UN Charter calls for the right of self-determination of peoples.

        That's a foundational document of international law, which Spain is signed up to. So if a large majority of Catalan people don't want to be Spanish, what then? What gives the rest of Spain the right to tell them?

        Not that this is simple. It's fair to set rules for referenda. But is it really acceptable to just say no? If Spain uses force to stop Catalans expressing their freedom, at what point does that make Catalonia just a colony of the rest of Spain?

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Might is Right

          Who has the bigger army with the most guns?

          Surely Spain can just bomb the region into the stone age? What about gassing them?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Might is Right

            Still a lot of open wounds 1939 to 1975. General Franco will be turning in his massive mausoleum.

        2. ESmub68

          Chapter 1 of the UN Charter calls for the right of self-determination of peoples.

          So you defend to have a discussion on the prevalence of the different laws, Spain Constitution and UN Charter.

          Given that the Catalan Govern is disobeying Spain law and claims for application of UN Charter, IMO the rational and democratic way of doing things should be to raise a request of statement coming from UN Council that considers if Chapter 1 should be applied in the case of Catalonia... Do you know why the Catalan Govern has not proceeded this way? because they absolutely know that chapter 1 cannot be applied in this case as Catalonia has never been a spanish Colony.

          What Catalonia Government is doing has a name and is REBELLION.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Catalonia has never been a Spanish colony. Although in lilving memory people have been imprisoned for speaking the language. By the Spanish government who banned that language.

            Do you think this is likely to make Catalan people feel:

            a) warm and fuzzy feelings for the Spanish government, or

            b) distrust and possible dislike?

            Hmmmmm? I wonder...

            So question, what do you do about it? If Spain refuses to engage with reasonable Catalan requests for discussions on a referendum on independence, then what will happen next? Will the Catalans decide that Spain are right, and their national feeling is just something they've imagined? Or will this unite the majority who don't want independence with the minority who currently do?

            If Spain forces Catalans to be part of Spain when a large majority don't want to be, what is the difference then whether you call them a colony or not?

            The sensible thing to do is to negotiate now. If Spain acts reasonably now, then everyone may get some of what they want. The secessionists get a referendum which they lose fair-and-square, and Spain gets to stay a whole country.

            The alternative is far more uncertain.

          2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            ESmub68,

            I didn't want Scotland to leave the UK. But it turns out that about 45% of Scots currently do. Refusing to have a referendum was not going to make that number smaller. So we had one. The discussion all came out in the open.

            Because the result was close, that won't be the end of it. After a few years things may settle down, we'll probably have to have another referendum and maybe that will settle matters, as it did in Quebec.

            But if Scots don't feel that democracy is working for them, because they're in a country whose institutions they don't think meet their needs - then they should be independent. I think the UK has given them about as much autonomy as our system can cope with. If they still decide they need more, then we're either going to have to totally re-write our constitution (and maybe create an unwanted system of regional government in England) or they will decide to separate.

            Which would be sad. But is not rebellion. It is their democratic right.

          3. Dan 55 Silver badge

            What Catalonia Government is doing has a name and is REBELLION.

            The beatings will continue until morale improves.

      4. ardj

        As I understand it, the reason there is such support for independence now in Catalunya is that the People's Party in 2011 stopped an earlier enlargement of home rule, by petitioning the Constitutional Court to block the statue already endorsed by parliaments in Madrid and Barcelona. In other words, this who;e thing was caused by Sr Rajoy, and he has only himself to blame if he has provoked the Catalan people: it is certainly not a question of Constitutional principle, but a straightforward political argument.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          And if you compare the Catalan and Valencian statues*, it turns out that articles in the Catalan statute were overturned by the constitutional court but the same articles in the Valencian statue were permitted.

          Valencia is a PP-voting region, Catalonia obviously is not.

          * the laws which define the devolved powers available to a region.

      5. nighto

        Missing upvotes?

        If you want up-votes, just go comment inside your friendly Spanish government supported press ( El Mundo, La Razon, ABC,...), where totalitarian think like yours ("THIS IS THE LAW") is widespread, and you will feel fully comfortable there. Remember that legal isn't the same as legitimate: All dictatorial states have laws,..uh?

        Out of Spain, things are a bit different what you are used to.

  2. Adam 52 Silver badge

    "What is clear is that even if the vote was taken and did result in a call for independence, Catalan would not be recognized by any other state."

    This is unlikely to be true. Whenever a region has declared independence in the past it has always been recognised by at least some other countries. Look at Kosovo for a recent example or Israel if you want to go further back. Or even Palestine.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      It's surely much easier to stop the referendum from happening than to deal with it if the result goes against. Obviously if there's only a turnout of 2% it'll be fine - but it looks bad enough stopping it from happening - let alone suppressing a result you've lost.

      As I understand it, the Catalan assembly doesn't have the power to call this referendum - and it may even take a change to the constitution for the central government to allow one. But much better to face it early than wait - as support for independence looks to be growing. Pro-independence parties got a majority in the regional elections (for the first time ever I think), as I understand it on the promise of this referendum rather than because a majority want independence.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        as support for independence looks to be growing

        When the government behaves like this, is it any surprise?

  3. Unep Eurobats
    Facepalm

    Having their cake and eating it

    While I totally respect the autonomy and distinctiveness of the wonderful Catalan people and their region, this seems like another attempt by a nationalistic entity to have their cake and eat it. They want recognition of that autonomy and distinctiveness on the global stage without the consequences of true independence: the hard border, the trade deal negotiations, the economic self-reliance.

    They want to stick two fingers up to the Spanish government and get a warm glow inside without anything actually changing.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Having their cake and eating it

      the hard border, the trade deal negotiations, the economic self-reliance.

      1. Who told you the border will need to be hard. This is not British Leave of "keep the smelly Eastern Europeans" out.

      2. Trade deal negotiations. Again. The intention is to join the queue for Eu and jump the queue for joining the Eu by having all laws in a state fit for purpose and already using the Euro.

      3. Economic self-reliance. The reason Spanish government is ready to start a Spanish Civil War No 2 is that IT IS NOT SELF RELIANT. Catalonia is. Rest of Spain keeps sucking money from it. While taking from Catalonia more than it gives back is a venerable tradition dating from before the War of Spanish Succession, it has never been a case of "If Catalonia Leaves, rest of Spain financially goes under". Until today. That is the reality today. That is also why the central government is refusing to allow Catalonia to collect their own taxes (the way Basque does).

      1. Named coward

        Re: Having their cake and eating it

        "join the queue for Eu and jump the queue for joining the Eu"...Spain would have Veto rights, so if Catalonia were to Exit the EU there would be no realistic way for them to get back in

  4. S4qFBxkFFg
    Stop

    See https://regmedia.co.uk/2017/09/22/referendum-cat.jpg

    When your logo has actual fasces in it, maybe you should ask questions of yourself instead of trying to live up to the symbolism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToKcmnrE5oY

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      So, you're saying the US House of Representatives should change it's décor?

      Or perhaps you might consider that some institutions continue to use what was originally a symbol of government and justice despite it's association with fascism.

      To put it another way the fasces wasn't as tainted as the swastika is.

  5. julian_n

    Remember, until 40 years ago Spain was a fascist dictatorship. Old habits die hard, I guess.

    I am sure Mugabe and his ilk will be impressed by how Rajoy can repress democracy and getting a few more ideas.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      It does seem like it's going to kick off on Sunday. Think the miner's strike - police from everywhere else in the country being bussed and boated in to Catalonia... what could possibly go wrong?

      On the bright side, if you're a thief elsewhere in Spain now's a good time to put in some overtime.

      1. BigG

        Better than that - I hear of a chap having an affair with one of the plod's partners while plod is currently sat in a cramped cabin on a cruise ship in port (not the one with tweetie pie on the side).

    2. graeme leggett

      I remember 1981 when a Guardia Civil commander (Antonio Tejero Molina) entered the Cortes and had a bit of a go at a coup d'état. "por Espana"

      There were tanks on streets of Valencia etc. Then Juan Carlos denounced it, appealed to remaining military and it rather fizzled out.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    even blocking access to some websites

    it would be great, if they tried to block access to "the register" on the grounds of "national security", "promoting extremism" and "terrorism-related material".

    No, seriously, what better publicity than a public demonstration of how democracy operates, AD 2017?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: even blocking access to some websites

      As it's Spain the ISP block was done with the mininum work necessary. Change your settings to OpenDNS or Google DNS and job done.

  7. iron Silver badge

    Franco would be proud.

    1. m-k

      re. Franco would be proud.

      many advanced democracies would be proud. And they're watching closely, learning how to do likewise. I would say, it's being watched by UK glorious leadership too (re. Scotland) , but then, I'm pretty sure "appropriate action plan" is already in place, should it be necessary...

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: re. Franco would be proud.

        Scotland had its referendum. With few problems. It's pretty much agreed that they'll get another one, after the Brexit fun-and-games are all over.

        Perhaps, in this case, the Spanish government might learn something from the British...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re. Scotland had its referendum. With few problems

          So what exactly happened when the subject was floated a few months back, that Scotland should vote for independence again before the UK jumps the EU boat? Some unspecified threats from London. Then, all went quiet on the Scottish front (not because of threats, I guess, but the support was waning). I'm just wondering, what would have happened between London and Edinburgh had they pressed with their idea of 2nd referendum (and won).

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: re. Scotland had its referendum. With few problems

            So what exactly happened when the subject was floated a few months back, that Scotland should vote for independence again before the UK jumps the EU boat? Some unspecified threats from London.

            Nope. No threats, specified or unspecified. The UK government said they wouldn't pass a referendum bill. The SNP complained loudly. But polls showed that there was only something like 30% support for another referendum, even though 45% voted for independence last time. And the polls still show that about the same percentage support independence.

            Then there was a general election at which the SNP lost support and the unionist parties won some seats back. Now referendum talk has gone quiet. Unsurpisingly really.

            It is not unreasonable for the UK government to say that Scotland has voted to stay in the EU, and has to wait its turn for another go while the whole government is busy with Brexit. It would appear that many Scots agree.

            The Spanish government refuses to even have talks about holding a referendum on independence for Catalonia. Something that's politically stupid, morally wrong and in breach of the UN charter.

          2. JamesPond

            Re: re. Scotland had its referendum. With few problems

            "So what exactly happened when the subject was floated a few months back, that Scotland should vote for independence again before the UK jumps the EU boat? "

            Nicola Sturgeon's SNP did some polling and found that whilst >60% of Scots voted to stay in Europe, currently ~57% now want to stay in the United Kingdom (more than in the 1st vote) and >60% don't want a second referendum. Therefore the political winds are currently against the SNP so there were no need for threats from London. And if London had agreed to a second referendum on Scottish independence then as a democracy, why wouldn't we abide by the decision?

            The issue is Spain seems to be that the central government didn't agree to the referendum, it was started unilaterally by the Catalan local government.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: re. Scotland had its referendum. With few problems

              Actually it's more like:

              - You can't hold an independence referendum, the constitution doesn't allow them so it's illegal.

              - Well change the constitution.

              - No.

            2. jordipalet

              Re: re. Scotland had its referendum. With few problems

              Is NOT the Spanish Government, is the law.

              Parties are trying to agree to change it, but this takes time, and Catalonian Government has many other reasons, to go away and not wait, including that they have been cheating 3-5% commissions in the public tenders since we are in democracy, and that was discovered (and demonstrated) just a few years ago, so the only way out for them to not go the jail, is not to be part of Spain and have their own law system.

              This is fundamental difference with UK. Your agreement with Scotland, in the LAW, allows them to go away, but their own decision.

        2. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: re. Franco would be proud.

          "It's pretty much agreed that they'll get another one, after the Brexit fun-and-games are all over."

          Frau May promised that. But she also promised she wouldn't hold a snap election.

  8. machana

    The situation and context in Northern Ireland is not exactly the same, I know. But think for a moment that only the nationalist fraction of the Assembly, only that fraction, circumstatially in majority, approves a rererendum to decide about the union with the rest of Ireland. Of course, no matter how many people vote in the poll, no matter what percentage they got, if union wins for one vote, NI will be devolved to Ireland. Think also the british courts rule that the process is illegal, but the NI Executive goes forward with it in openly dissobedience. What would the UK government do? Sit down and watch? Sure...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      There's already been a referendum in Northern Ireland on whether they wanted to remain in the Union or not. Back in the 70s. There was also a referendum on the Good Friday agreement.

      There was a majority in the Catalan assembly to hold this referendum - so they got to hold it. Not circumstantially in majority either, it was one of the main issues in the last regional election.

      The Northern Irish assembly doesn't work the same. If there isn't a coalition formed with parties from both communities in it, there is no Northern Irish government. So without parties from both nationalist and unionist communities involved - this couldn't happen.

      However I don't think any UK government would stop a referendum in Northern Ireland. We've just had one in Scotland, there's broad agreement that the Scots will get another go after Brexit if they want it, and few people would object if Northern Ireland wanted to vote.

      Admittedly things get stickier if the leaving devolved assembly break the law. But the difference in the UK is that there shouldn't be a need to, as central government is flexible enough to allow the votes. If the Spanish government ignore a greater than 50% win for separatist parties calling for a vote - then they've no right to complain if they get ignored in return.

      Self-determination is a human right, enshrined in the UN charter. Part of being a real democracy is accepting that, even if you don't like the result. If the Catalans feel they should be a separate country, then that is their right.

    2. Lysenko

      The UK government didn't obstruct the Scottish independence referendum when there was a reasonable chance it might pass. In NI (or Gibraltar, or The Falklands) there is no chance of such a referendum succeeding so the UK government would likely be even more relaxed about it. It isn't as if the mainland is economically dependent on NI (very much the reverse) and there isn't the same pathological paranoia about maintaining the integrity of the "motherland" in a country that dismantled an Empire inside living memory.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The UK Government agreed to hold a referendum regarding Scottish independence when polls showed a roughly 70-30 split in favour of the union. Cameron got an almighty shock in the weeks running up to the actual vote when at one point it looked neck and neck.

        May (and every subsequent Westminster PM) will stall and dither and delay agreeing to a further Scottish independence referendum vote unless it looks like a sure thing Scotland will choose to remain (again).

        The only thing Indyref 1 settled was Labour's collapse in Scotland, where it continues to slide into irrelevance. The latest clown to stand for Leadership of the Scottish Branch of the party managed to post his tax receipts online, complete with bank account details and home address, so he's a safe pair of hands....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The government would be relaxed about a referendum because they're sure they'd get the result they want? I think that attitude rather went out of fashion last year.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turning GDPR into GDR

    Just remember, it's perfectly safe to have all your data online in the EU because of all the great privacy and data protection... Except of course in cases where the national security is involved. So if you want to vote for something your government doesn't approve of, and they accuse you of sedition and disobedience, beware, because all that lovely data protection isn't going to help you.

    "Member States have the right to limit confidentiality of communications of citizens to safeguard one or more of the general public interests referred to in Article 23(1) (a) to (e) of the General Data Protection Regulation. This maintains in particular the existing possibility to limit these rights for reasons related to national security or criminal law enforcement."

  10. RockBurner

    Point of order

    But since when have the Basque Country and Catalonia been neighbours?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalities_and_regions_of_Spain#/media/File:Ccaa-spain.png

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Point of order

      In terms of aspiration?

  11. Martin Audley

    Do you want to incite an increased Catalan wish to leave their authoritarian control?

    Because this is how you do it.

  12. Mephistro Silver badge

    "...on the grounds that the Spanish government Constitutional Court had determined the referendum to be illegal."

    FTFY. A small change, a huge difference.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      True, but unhelpful.

      If enough people have a reasonable political ambition, just making it illegal doesn't work. The Spanish government can stick their fingers in their ears while the pressure for a referendum grows, and hope that it all blows over as the economy continues to recover - but that's a high risk ploy. Support for secession may just continue to grow, until it's unstoppable.

      Or they can act like a mature democracy, and have talks about it, followed by a referendum.

      One problem is that this isn't like Scotland. There's no economic debate here, Catalonia pays in a huge amount more than it receives from the Spanish treasury. They're one of the economic power-houses of the country. So they've already got plenty of local autonomy - meaning it may come down to the rest of Spain accepting they've got to take a little less for the central pot, or risk losing it all. Or it may just be that having a referendum lances the boil - and the Catalans want to feel they've been listened to.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Well, didn't the government say it was illegal, but they sent it to the constitutional court to confirm it, and the answer came back a day later saying it was indeed illegal?

      Very thin walls...

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        but they sent it to the constitutional court to confirm it, and the answer came back a day later saying it was indeed illegal?

        The finest legal decision that money and influence can buy..

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe when all the dust settles they could have an inquisition without telling anyone they are going to do it?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Good idea. Nobody would expect that...

  14. JamesPond
    Happy

    FC Barcelona

    On a more serious note, who are FC Barcelona going to play if Catalonia secede? They'll be thrown out of La Liga and end up like Celtic, playing 2nd string teams and going out of Champions League at the qualifier stages! Ah well, bye bye Messi

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: FC Barcelona

      What about creating a joint Catalan-Scottish league? Solves both problems.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FC Barcelona

      Aren't they already? In La Liga they have away fixtures at grounds that would be non-league standard in England.

    3. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: FC Barcelona

      "On a more serious note, who are FC Barcelona going to play if Catalonia secede?"

      Espanyol, Girona, Barcelona B (reserves), Tarragona, Reus, Llagostera. Espanyol is a big team, the rest are more or less minnows.

      FC Barcelona is probably banking on them being included in La Liga even after seceding because they are valuable to the Spanish League, but that's risky. The terms might just not be as good as they are now, and Barcelona has plenty to lose and nothing to win.

  15. Barrie Shepherd

    Survey not Referendum?

    Perhaps the mistake is calling it a Referendum, which attaches all the legal and constitutional matters.

    Take a page out of Australia's book, where a referendum on Same Sex Marriage would most likely embarrassed both sides of government (as neither really wanted to upset their funding sources by having to adopt SSM as policy) so they are having a "Non mandatory, Non binding 'Survey'" [in formal voting Australia applies a mandatory or be fined for not voting policy]. Whatever the result spin will be applied to ensure that the status quo is maintained.

    In Catalonia's case a positive survey result would have been a strong piece of evidence to progress their desires through more formal, and legal, channels. If the survey was against then everyone can go back to being Spanish.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Survey not Referendum?

      They already did that three years ago. The answer from central government was it didn't legally mean anything so they weren't obliged to do anything.

  16. jordipalet

    Catalonia Government is spreading false information

    I've posted an article about that here:

    http://www.circleid.com/posts/20170926_catalonian_matter_law_order_democracy_freedom_of_speech_censorship/

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Catalonia Government is spreading false information

      But in the end it boils down to this:

      - We want independence.

      - The constitution forbids independence. You must follow the law. We can talk about anything you like as long as it's in the law.

      - Will you change the law?

      - No.

      - GO TO 10.

      Which is pretty stupid.

      You also justified censorship of pro-referendum websites. Sorry, Spain is supposedly a democracy. Democracies generally don't blanket censor websites about self determination.

      - goto fail;

      Freedom of speech is a different thing to not suspending autonomy. Censoring over 140 websites and then getting all magnanimous about not suspending regional autonomy is mixing two completely different things.

      1. jordipalet

        Re: Catalonia Government is spreading false information

        The Constitution can be changed if we have a consensus on that and I'm sure it will happen.

        If we don't do it right, then EVERY citizen has the right to disobey the law because he doesn't agree with it. That's the really stupid position.

        I've, personally, 4 cases against the Spanish government, and despite I know they're doing wrong, it doesn't mean I disobey the law while the courts decide about it. If Catalonian Government disobeys the law and the Central Government/Courts don't take the actions to avoid it, then I will also have the same right to do so with my own cases.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Catalonia Government is spreading false information

          This is politics. The law matters, but is not a shield a government can always hide behind. Particularly if the government has the power to change that law.

          If a law is unjust (or even seen by a large number of people as unjust), and you refuse to even negotiate on changing that law - then what are people supposed to do? The Catalans are not a majority in Spain. All they can do is gather the biggest democratic mandate they can (their regional elections) and see what happens.

          If the Spanish government is unwilling to even discuss the matter, then what you are saying is that there is literally nothing the Catalans can do. Unjust laws have often been removed because of campaigns of non-violent protest against them. Which often involve breaking them.

          The next step then depends on how strongly people care about the issue. If they care deeply, and are unable to remove what they see as an unjust law by non-violent means, what will they do next? Go home and forget all about it? Or will some resort to violent means? And if a government stifles all legal protest, then also the non-violent ilegal type, what should it expect next?

          1. jordipalet

            Re: Catalonia Government is spreading false information

            Catalonian citizens that disagree should do what the law requires: Go to the courts, go to the parliament, as the rest of the citizens do.

            I'm also Catalonian, buy I follow the law, or fight legally against it, even if that requires 15 years of fight in the courts as in my own case. I'm alone in my fights, Catalonians that disagree are a much bigger group, so they have much more chances to get the right thing done, having more resources/power than an individual.

            Going against law is turning yourself to the same level as terrorist or criminales, that ignore the law, and this is damaging as well other millions of citizens.

            Are you going to tell me that is right to use children in the protest? Are you going to tell me that destroying police cars or even closing them for one day in a building, while they just do their job, is right? This is a criminal attitude, nothing else.

            Now tell me that every group of citizens, even if they are a few millions, that disagree, should do the same ...

            Is not politics, is democracy. Democracy means respecting the others, and using laws to change the laws.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Catalonia Government is spreading false information

              democracy. Democracy means respecting the others, and using laws to change the laws.

              jordipalet,

              Democracy is about losers as well as winners. And minorities as much as majorities.

              So democracy only works if the loser accepts that they've lost, and that this was fair. In the long term it also only works if the majority respect minorities. If they don't, then the minority who can never win (because they're a minority) may decide that the system is stacked against them - and so they stop believing in it. This may result in mass non-voting, civil disobedience, people refusing to pay taxes, even violence, terrorism etc.

              What it is very unlikely to lead to, is those people believing in the system, or that it has their best interests at heart.

              So if the Spanish government refuses to deal with Catalan national feeling by legal/political means and negotiate, what will happen next? So far we've had the regional politicians attempt to solve this by getting people to vote. Pro-independence parties got a majority last election. So you can't claim there isn't a large amount of support for the idea.

              If Spain will not allow any legal means to deal with this issue, and people believe passionately in it, then they will call those laws unjust. And they will break them.

              This will be the Spanish government's fault.

              Therefore the Spanish government must do something else. While a majority of Catalan people are still likely to vote to remain Spanish.

  17. Joerg

    The communists pro-muslim terrorism people in Catalonia are criminals indeed!

    The communists pro-muslim terrorism people in Catalonia are criminals indeed!

    This is not democracy! The Left Wing always wants to create big trouble.

    They lost the elections and the Right Wing won and leads Spain. They want to destroy Spain by using Catalonia..

    ...it is like New York or California in which communists pro-muslim terrorists Democrats have the majority would split from the USA.

    And the silly thing is that the Left Wing worldwide has always been against any Right Wing independence referendum

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm fairly sure Spain should be abiding by Universal Declaration of human Rights Article 19

    "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference"

    especially this part:

    "and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

    1. jordipalet

      While fully agree with you about A. 19, do you also mean that if a terrorist or somebody that got a court order about stop doing something which is unlawful, can't be banned if he insist disobeying the court order ?

      Show we then help terrorist to bring up new web sites?

      Come on!

      I agree that if you disagree with the court order, you publicly express your opinion about that, but not continue disobeying the court order. That's freedom of speech.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Terrorism is illegal. Campaigning for Catalan secession is not.

        I agree that the referendum itself is illegal - which gives the Spanish government the right to take action against the Catalan regional government. But it doesn't give them the right to close down websites discussing the referendum.

        1. jordipalet

          The only sites that have been closed is those that HELP to HELD the Illegal referendum, for example telling the people were to go to vote, so those that do apology of an illegal act.

          It is fine to have a site to discuss about the referendum and what is happening and what not, and what should be legal and what not. Otherwise all the press will have been also forced to close down their web site.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At the risk of encouraging conspiracy theorists, these events are so utterly insanely counter-productive that one might suspect there's a Catalan sympathizer at the heart of the Madrid government...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      No. I think it's just a clash of competing ideas. If you're spanish and reasonably nationalist, maybe you feel that Catalan secession is an attack on you. I mean Catalonia hasn't been an independent state in a very long time.

      A bit like some English people took the idea of Scottish independence somewhat personally - and certain people in the EU have reacted to Brexit. Perhaps some combination of hurt pride, hurt feelings, feeling of an attack on what you thought was a common group.

      But if you're Catalan and don't feel Spanish, this makes no sense. If you can persuade enough Catalan people to agree with you, then what business is this of the rest of Spain? You're offski, and any attempt by them to keep you in the union is basically colonialism.

      Then I'm sure there's loads of people in the middle. Who'll be the ones who decide in the end. Will the rest of Spain continue to just say no, and ignore the problem? If they do will most Catalans accept it, as they have much internal autonomy and independence isn't worth the hassle? Or will things turn nasty - and the extremists on both side poison the relationship to such an extent that secession becomes inevitable?

      1. jordipalet

        In case you haven't noted it. I'm Catalonian, which means I'm also Spanish, and I consider myself citizen of the world.

        The issue is not at all this ridiculous process, the issue is not telling the thru: Is not the government, is our Constitutional court the one that ordered to close only the sites that are trying to make a referendum which has been declared illegal.

  20. jordipalet

    ISOC Against its Own Principles: Acting as a Censor

    I've posted a new article on this.

    ISOC Against its Own Principles: Acting as a Censor

    https://jordipalet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/isoc-against-its-own-principles-acting.html

    Short URL: goo.gl/Rpgcm4

  21. SamAlonso

    EU provides support to Catalan separatists

    All of Spain is following with concern the current developments in Catalonia. Instead of entering into constructive dialogue with the Spanish government and reaching a compromise on the issue of major importance to the entire country, the Catalan regional government not only continues to prepare for illegal referendum on Catalan independence, totally ignoring the decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court, but also strives energetically to find new supporters and allies outside Spain. It has become known that the government of Carles Puigdemont has been able to obtain assistance from the European Union. The Spanish State Secretary for Territorial Administrations Roberto Bermúdez de Castro has informed on it in his letter to the Vice President of the Spanish Government Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, '... according to our representatives in the European Parliament, the EU leaders pledge their cooperation to heads of the Catalan regional government and make promises to recognize the legitimacy of the referendum'.

    http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/4961666doc.jpg

    It turns out that European politicians not only fail to condemn the anti-constitutional actions of Catalan separatists, but are even ready to promote the speedy entry of already independent Catalonia into the European Union. "... the European authorities will not hinder this process even if the Spanish government does not recognize the legitimacy of the referendum results". By supporting the plebiscite that is found to be constitutionally prohibited, the European leaders are showing complete disrespect for Spanish legislation and decisions taken by the government of Mariano Rajoy that makes every effort to preserve the territorial integrity of Spain. Roberto Bermúdez de Castro has also mentioned it in his letter, 'On the basis of what has been set forth above, it may be concluded that the EU leaders do not give due consideration to the view of official government of Spain that is one of the key members of the Union'.

    It is important to note that following Catalonia, other autonomies, and first of all, the Basque Country, may also express and achieve their right to self-determination. Catalonia's independence from Spain will start the irreversible process of dissolution of Spain. Moreover, the EU authorities' shortsightedness may lead to the increase in activity of separatist movements all over Europe. The example of Catalonia will inspire separatists of other European countries with similar problems, including Italy, Belgium, and Denmark. 'European politicians must be reminded that Catalonia's secession from Spain creates a dangerous precedent and threatens the integrity of other European States where separatist sentiments exist'. Thus, providing support to independence advocates, European politicians contribute to territorial and political changes in Europe, which will no doubt weaken the European Union itself.

  22. CJN1946

    Spanish government reverting to type. Franco still lives.

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