Saturday 15 December 2018

Sun, sea, sangria and secession

People celebrate after the Catalan regional parliament passes the vote of independence from Spain in Barcelona. Photo: Reuters
People celebrate after the Catalan regional parliament passes the vote of independence from Spain in Barcelona. Photo: Reuters
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

You may have missed this, because you all have busy lives and God knows there are enough daily happenings and outrages to be keeping up with in this country. And even if you are part of the intelligentsia who dabble in foreign news, Trump and Brexit would give you your fill there.

But we really should be paying attention to the fact that Spain is possibly moving towards another civil war. You may have been tending to dismiss the news from Spain slightly up to now. Bit of bother in one of those Mediterranean countries where we go on holidays. Easily ignored. They get very agitated down there, and the weather is hot so they tend to take to the streets. But ultimately they are civilised countries like us. They keep a lid on things.

We basically have this notion that within the EU, things are fairly stable. Eastern Europe - dictatorial and unstable. Africa - very unstable. America - mental for the time being but could recover. Australia - don't have much politics as such. But Western Europe - you could buy a house there or go on your holidays.

But the veneer of civilisation is a thin one. And once things kick off, it can all go Pete Tong very quickly. And while we assume that everything can be worked out with a bit of reasonable, or indeed unreasonable, debate, sometimes people just refuse to agree. So half the Catalans want out of Spain, but Spain, much like George Costanza's girlfriend in an infamous episode of Seinfeld, is not accepting their break-up. And then suddenly Spain is basically invading Catalonia, and firing the government there and threatening the law on them. But suddenly the law seems impotent, because these people are saying to hell with your laws. We don't accept them. We're making up our own. So what next? Send in the tanks or what?

More confusing is the fact that this is not an uprising by the downtrodden. This is more the equivalent of Dublin 4 deciding to break from Ireland. The Catalans are the rich ones, the ones with notions of nobility.

Where it ends no one knows. And with Britain and its shambolic government rapidly descending into basket-case territory too, it's fair to say that chaos is getting too close for comfort.

The gay community in Ireland are rightfully concerned for their pads in Sitges. Others in Ireland are concerned for their weekends in Barcelona. And as the winter comes in Ireland, the worry now is that the unrest spreads to the Canary Islands. Indeed what if they start getting ideas in the Algarve, too?

Perhaps we need to send an international brigade out to help, armed with golf clubs and the ability to bore the enemy into submission after some sangria and a lovely bottle of local red for only a fiver.

Sunday Independent

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