Friday, 5 October 2018


Blah! Blah! Blahcelona!
I've just been to a conference in Barcelona in my role as a Rapporteur on Climate Change with the EU Committee of the Regions and a fascinating few days it was. People had told me I'd like Barcelona for the architecture and general vibe and I wasn't disappointed. The Sagrida Familia (not Barcelona Cathedral!) probably the most individual and striking building I've ever seen. the Hospital Sant Pau constructed at the beginning of the 20th Century and just the general feel of the place.

Sagrida Familia

One of the things I wanted to get out of the trip was an understanding  of was views on Catalonian Independence. It's just over a year ago since Catalonia
voted to cede from Spain and become an independent nation within the European Union. Supporters of Independence point to the overwhelming majority in support of independence and those opposing it say that it is not valid because people opposing independence didn't vote saying the Poll was not valid under Spanish law. What is beyond dispute is that the response of the Spanish Government was heavy handed at best and brutal at worst. Spanish Police blocked and beat people trying to vote and Catalonian Politicians have been imprisoned and are effectively political prisoners. Very worrying within the EU but then we do have the Frack Free Three in the UK. I spoke to as many Catalonians about it as I could and it seems support for independence is still strong. Catalonian flags still fly from balconies. Many Catalonians and their buildings are sporting a yellow ribbon (not unlike the SNP logo) showing their support for those political prisoners.

There was a time when I worried about Nationalist movements being Right Wing and possibly Xenophobic. I think that was to a certain extent true but has become less so in recent times. Certainly the SNP and Plaid Cymru are generally on the progressive side of the political spectrum. The politics seems less about Nationalism as such and more about Independence and Self Determination. "Taking control" if you will!

So now what else other than Freddie Mercury singing 'Barcelona'

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