Discussing UK law. Links: swarb.co.uk | law-index | Acts | Members Image galleries

Spanish Referenda

Spanish Referenda

Postby dls » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:50 am

The discomforts in Catalonia and Spain have revealed an aspect of the Spanish Constitution which is of direct interest here in the UK. Catalonia decided to hold a referendum on independence. The national government declined to agree, and the highest court in Spain declared it to be illegal. The Catalonians went ahead in any event. What is of interest is that, as I understand it, under the Spanish constitution, any such referendum must be of the entire nation. Spain must vote as a whole in order to arrange any secession.

My reaction on this at first was that this is how it should be, but further reflection suggests that it is not so clear.

First, I say again that referenda are a bad thing. We have a representative democracy. We menials do not have the time, inclination and determination to study such big issues in depth. We vote democratically to elect others to go to parliament and spend all day learning about and thinking about such matters, giving them the responsibility to reach honest and informed conclusions, first individually and then collectively. It is a system with huge imperfections, but, echoing Churchill, I see no evidence of anything better. We give them that responsibility, and they should make the decisions. Holding a referendum is a miserable cowardly way of ducking what are no doubt painful issues.

Referenda are invited when there is no very clear and very decisive view one way or the other on a big issue. If, say, 60% of the population did think one way, then it is very doubtful that a referendum would be held. Results of referenda are usually so close as to leave the result inconclusive, and the parties unpersuaded.

Back to Spain.
A vote by the entire nation is appropriate because the entire nation is directly affected by a secession. The position you start from is that there is one whole, one nation, and one electorate. That is surely the electorate which makes the decision. To assert that there are two nations is to beg the question in logic and entirely. The answer is given by the frame created for the question. Before you can ask a question about 'self-determination' you must first ask which self is asking for such a choice.

Again however, we live in an age where a result in which 80% of Catalonians voted for independence, but 70% of the nation as a whole voted to deny that independence, the substantial majority against would do nothing to prevent the majority within Catalonia claiming to have won, and no doubt persisting in their desire for independence. Having the nation as a whole vote would be proper, but would achieve nothing.

Nationalism in almost any form is a bad thing. Referenda are very rarely to any purpose.
David Swarbrick (Admin) dswarb@gmail.com - 0795 457 9992
User avatar
dls
Site Admin
 
Posts: 12192
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:35 pm
Location: Brighouse, West Yorkshire

Re: Spanish Referenda

Postby diy » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:24 pm

It does cast light on our own scenario, both Scotland and Europe. Catalonia is roughly twice the size of Scotland, population wise and has a significant economy. Had Scotland voted for independence I wonder if the UK would have put together some sort of EU divorce style process.

Still dialogue is better than tanks, which I think maybe where the Catalonia situation may end up
My suggestions are not legal advice
User avatar
diy
 
Posts: 2573
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:06 pm

Re: Spanish Referenda

Postby shootist » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:05 pm

Had a referendum been held across Britain, instead of just Scotland, about Scottish independence I suspect that Scotland would have been off and running on it's own by now.
"I do not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death my right to be offended by it."
User avatar
shootist
 
Posts: 3536
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Re: Spanish Referenda

Postby diy » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:18 am

It looks like its all done and dusted now.. I'd have thought someone smart enough to get elected might have had a better plan than this.

I guess he could stand on a ticket of leaving spain and then if re-elected claim a democratic mandate.
My suggestions are not legal advice
User avatar
diy
 
Posts: 2573
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:06 pm

Re: Spanish Referenda

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:34 am

diy wrote:It looks like its all done and dusted now.. I'd have thought someone smart enough to get elected might have had a better plan than this.


A referendum on separation with absolutely no plan about what happens next? What a stupid idea...
Smouldering Stoat
 
Posts: 6293
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:31 pm
Location: Near the Creek.

Re: Spanish Referenda

Postby dls » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:33 am

There are clearly some uncomfortable parallels - not least direct rule in Catalonia/ NI, the utter ineffectiveness of a referendum to make a decision where a successful result lies only in persuasion of substantial portions of a population, and the fact that you can have as many as you like, but the losers will always want another go - and another.

There are two fundamental errors - the use of referenda, and the concepts involved in nationalism.

Nationalism is fundamentally divisive. It may have occasional limited and relatively harmless instances, but but it is never really about the big 'us', but about 'not them'

Spain may break into half a dozen nationalities. Belgium again several, Italy a couple of dozen, and we of course have at least four.

Scotland would be made up of perhaps a dozen nations, and Wales another two or three. Scotland existed as one country for only a couple of hundred years - papering over several divisions.

It is crass nonsense to talk of national character. My origins are English, Irish, Welsh, Scots, Swiss, Prussian and no boubt several other. The days are long disappeared where the population of a modern state have a common heritage which could have any resemblance to an historic nation state.

People may weep, and in their sadness lash out, at the loss of national purity, but it is (happily) very long gone. Good riddance.

Europe, if and once it establishes a national identity would be just as much an evil in that capacity as any other. When Europe falls out with Russia or China or the USA, teh dangers have only been greatly multiplied.

I do not know what is the best size for a nation state.
David Swarbrick (Admin) dswarb@gmail.com - 0795 457 9992
User avatar
dls
Site Admin
 
Posts: 12192
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:35 pm
Location: Brighouse, West Yorkshire

Re: Spanish Referenda

Postby Hairyloon » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:55 am

dls wrote:I do not know what is the best size for a nation state.

What is that word that the church use, that means that decisions are made at the lowest practicable level? It is a sensible attitude, but the word eludes me.
There is no best size for a nation state, there is only a best size for a given level of collaboration.
Take me to your lizard...
User avatar
Hairyloon
 
Posts: 10011
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:12 pm
Location: From there to here and here to there... Funny things are everywhere.

Re: Spanish Referenda

Postby atticus » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:59 pm

subsidiarity? I am not aware of any ecclesiastical use of that word.
User avatar
atticus
 
Posts: 19699
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:27 pm
Location: E&W

Re: Spanish Referenda

Postby diy » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:29 pm

Humans are tribal, we wont change unless some alien race threatens our existence. Then the world will pull together to defend the planet against whatever Alien has invaded. Not that we'd stand much chance against a species capable of getting here.
My suggestions are not legal advice
User avatar
diy
 
Posts: 2573
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:06 pm

Re: Spanish Referenda

Postby atticus » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:29 pm

But the Americans always win!
User avatar
atticus
 
Posts: 19699
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:27 pm
Location: E&W

Next

Return to Constitutional Law

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron