Category Archives: Blog

Modern Spain’s Unchartered Territory

The phrase Direct Rule has a certain resonance  for a British and US media sensitised by the not so distant memories of Northern Ireland where the British government sent in the army to try and maintain law and order at the height of the Troubles. Its use to describe the next stage of the Catalan crisis may be convenient short hand but it is not  a phrase that the jurisprudential Spanish prime-minister  Mariano Rajoy has opted to use. Instead the phrase has been Article 155, as incomprehensible  on a first …

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The Catalan Show

  Last night’s prime time show in the Catalan parliament served as a reminder of the seemingly  dangerously uncompromising nature of the current Spanish crisis, even if  it  seems to have  temporarily pulled back from the brink. If there were highlights  from recent episodes of this seemingly  enduring melodrama  to  be drawn from previous episodes I would identify the following:   The unnerving site in early September of a small majority –less than the two-thirds required by the Catalan Statutes of Autonomy- of pro-independence  deputies  in the Catalan parliament bulldozing …

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The centre cannot hold

REVIEW IN THIS WEEK’S THE TABLET BOOKS Books > The centre cannot hold THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD 05 October 2017 | by Jimmy Burns The centre cannot hold The Struggle for Catalonia: Rebel Politics in Spain Raphael Minder (Hurst, 344 PP, £15.99) Tablet Bookshop price £14.40 • Tel 01420 592974 Few local festival rituals in Catalonia are as popular as the castell, the human tower. A large group of male and female volunteers – from a minimum of 60 to maximum of 600 – link arms to create the pinya …

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Puede Catalunya aprender algo de Escocia?

  Vengo de visitar  la capital escocesa de Edimburgo, una ciudad elegante, relajada y acogedora del patrimonio mundial, que me ha dejado impresionado  por la tranquilidad y el civismo del proceso politico  de Escocia en comparación con el desastre que ha llegado a caracterizar la cuestión catalana en España. En el impresionante e histórico castillo de Edimburgo, una de las atracciones turísticas más populares de Escocia, perdura una sensación de identidad cultural que es británica y escocesa. Visitándolo recordé el lema “Mejor juntos”, que los unionistas usaron con éxito para …

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Can Catalonia learn something from Scotland?

I was in the Scottish capital Edinburgh, an elegant, relaxed ,  welcoming world heritage city, earlier this  week  and was struck by the peacefulness and civility of Scotland’s devolutionary process compared to the shambles that has come to characterize the Catalan  issue  in Spain. In the impressively  located and historic Edinburgh Castle, one of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions,  there endures a sense of cultural identity that is both British and Scot. Visiting it I was reminded of the  “Better together”, slogan which unionists  used successfully to win the ‘no’ …

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The Spanish Government’s Own Goal

Few images circulating globally from earlier yesterday (October 1)  seemed to risk being  more damaging to the Spanish government’s attempts to woo over a majority  of Catalans to its concept of a lawful constitutional democracy than that  of helmeted Civil Guard officers using a hammer to break a window and a lock cutter to break open a door at  a sports centre near Gerona. Tougher tactics  have been used before by British and other European  police including Catalonia’s own force the  Mossos D’Escuadra to deal with violent protestors, criminals, and …

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Catalan History & Choreography

  Few sights in Catalonia claim to be as emblemic as La Seu Vella on a hill above the city of Lleida,the region’s second largest city . The group of semi-ruined and restored buildings include the sight of a former conquered Moorish castle, a Cathedral and a military barracks whose last extended use as such was during the early years of the dictatorship of General Franco during the 1940’s. In this “place of suffering” as some locals call it , there are remnants of plunders as a result of religious …

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GoodBye, Buenos Aires Herald

Era por los años setenta y yo comenzaba a ejercer  de principiante en la sede Londinense de agencia de noticias Interpress  cuando entro en mi oficina un barbudo vestido de abrigo de trinchera y cara de luto. Se me presentó como Andrew Graham-Yooll, periodista anglo-argentino , recién llegado de Buenos Aires, habiendo recibido una amenaza  de muerta por parte del régimen militar. A partir de ese momento me unio  una amistad para la vida con Andrew, gran persona, y el desarrollo de una relación profesional con el diario para el …

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Brexit-the Banquet’s Uninvited guest

In an evening marked by customary tradition, hospitality, and good cheer, the comment by the London’s Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley that ” Britain, Spain,  Europe are the essence of what we are” resonated across the banquet room of the Guildhall last night It drew spontaneous applause from the more than  700 guests- City of London councillors and officials, businessmen ,  ambassadors , and a representative sample of the Spanish diaspora from journalists, actors and academics, to scientists, retailers,  and bankers. Noting that the magnificent  hall where the guests were gathered …

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Diary of a Royal Love In-Day One

  It’s coming up to midday and a stationary Guards band along the Mall is playing the James Bond  007 tune, presumably to remind the world that however diminished the UK may seem, no one does it better than the MI6 legend, the world’s most popular spy. The film music is  a  sufficiently familiar theme  for nearby  tourists to break into applause. Such recognition does not  initially appear to extend to the State visit to the UK of the King  Felipe and Queen Letizia  Spain. The most public part of …

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