Catalonia

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With both sides in the Catalan dispute seeing the world from mutually exclusive perspectives, says Daniel Cetra, there is no clear way of finding a way forward. 
 
This is yet another significant episode in the greatest constitutional crisis in Spain since the restoration of democracy. 
 
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Instead of breaking the deadlock, the recently held elections in Catalonia only deepened existing fault lines in Catalan politics. As the Spanish government maintains direct control of the Catalan administration, and keeps several Catalan politicians and activists imprisoned, the whole of Spain is still holding its breath. Only the EU and its member states are now in a position to defuse the mounting tension between Catalan secessionists and Madrid. But what would be a desirable outcome to push for in the long run?
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The post-Hogmanay atmosphere is always sobering, and never more than this year when the party may be over for some many people in so many ways. During 2017, three great political experiments - Brexit, the Trump Presidency and the Catalonian independence project - failed to progress beyond the damage limitation stage into the payoffs their proponents expected. In Scotland, the snap UK election was a piece of bad luck for the SNP and accelerated the comeback of Scottish Conservatives and Labour.
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It is time to listen to those proposals for a path forward that lie between independence and the status quo, says Professor Luis Moreno. 
 
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Philosophers have long argued over who has the right to self-determination and by what means. For nationalists, the answer might be obvious – it is the nation. Yet we know that nations are created, reshaped and contested over time. Primordial constructions of the nation, based on blood and descent, are sociologically discredited. So for some of its residents, Catalonia is a nation while others see it as a region of Spain. Other thinkers argue that self-determination applies only to existing states, except in the case of overseas colonial rule (it is called the ‘salt water’ doctrine).
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Neither the Spanish nor Catalan government's have the mandate or the room for manoeuvre that would allow them to break the current impasse, says Michael Keating. 
 
Catalans’ views on the proposed independence referendum differ. Some are completely in favour and will vote Yes. Others believe that Catalonia has the right to have a say on its own future but would vote No. A few support the Spanish Government’s stance, that any kind of vote on independence is out of the question.
 
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