It’s about human rights, about standing up against cruelty and injustice THE DAMAGE TO SPAIN IN THE EYES OF THE WORLD DEEPENS

The copious, contentious colour yellow, Mr Sánchez. What does it mean to you? Do you see red?

Vehement members of the parliamentary opposition in Catalonia persist in making a point of doing so. They and many powerbrokers in Spain define it singularly, wrongly, and they want to tear it down. They know what they are about. It is easy and profitable to simplify, and it helps them define in one colour their indignation at anyone or anything associated with an independent Catalonia.

It is a single, tangible target for stoking the same indignation (or worse) among the many anxious unionists.

But you know full well, Mr Prime Minister, it is not about independence. It is about human rights, it is about standing up against cruelty and injustice, it is about democracy.

Yes, of course, yellow is bound to be worn by everyone who believes Catalonia needs now to be independent. That is a given – and they will persist, in their millions. But how about people who wear it and who are not separatists? Yes, they exist, both here and abroad.

You of all people must appreciate there are those who want Spanish unity but who are appalled at the State and Judiciary’s disastrous and punitive response to a political, democratic process. Daily, the damage to your country in the eyes of the world deepens. Where else would politicians be held without trial, and then for good measure placed in prisons so far away that for week after week, month after month, their families must make 12-hour round trips for 40-minute visits? I never thought Spain would be on that list of nations.

The PP’s handling of the Catalonia crisis and the words and deeds of some of its members have defined their Spain. What is yours? What calming critique can you offer now, with the gift of hindsight, of what has been done and proclaimed from behind the battered shield of constitution?

Are you going to ban a colour?

As a journalist I am bound to be more outraged than most, but wasn’t the PP’s warped thinking that offering a €12,000 prize to an international correspondent who painted the country in the most favourable light beyond belief? No self-respecting journalist would see this as anything but a fat headline above a subsequent anti-Spain story, a measure of ill-judgment by those at the core of government that was the pattern of the last desperate months, including, for want of one more example among the many, the wish to honour the German policemen who arrested Carles Puigdemont.

As an observer, with no voting rights, I see this; the need for urgent reparation. You have much to reconcile Mr Sánchez. Do not entrench. I am frankly stunned by the determination and dignity of Catalans from all walks of life – first hand that of people here in the Priorat – in the face of such provocation and persecution. They are keeping their vigil and the peace, and their resolve grows ever stronger.

And internationally, much to the despair of the unionists I know, the verdict I hear is that the accumulative, headline grabbing actions of Spain have done nothing but heighten the cause of Catalonia.

I wonder if any unionists reading this agree with me.

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