This is different. This is an inclusive nationalism. The scary nationalism you're referring to is not what this is about.
Although they are now long gone, this is the first column I've written since 27-S so I find it impossible to address any other issue than the Catalan election results. Naturally, I won't be the only Britalan to express an opinion on this and it's worth noting that Britalan views on Catalan independence are by no means homogenous. But before we get into that, hats off first to the much-questioned local populace for showing the will, desire and courage to vote for what they want. I have to admit to having been concerned prior to 27-S that it would all end in a damp squib and all that energy towards the forming of an independent state would be lost. But no, over 77% voted: unprecedented numbers for most elections. And with their turnout, the pro-sovereignty voters challenged previous complaints in this column about the locals not sticking up for themselves in the fight to establish their own nation against the bullying of the Spanish government.
Now then, while admitting that I'm not a neutral observer, I can say that I find the whole hullabaloo about there not being a majority in favour of independence quite ironic. How can you prohibit a referendum, deny the regional election is a plebiscite and then demand that votes be counted to see if they reach 50%? Hilariously warped logic. Anyway, the whole issue of percentages was always irrelevant in these elections, which were about getting a majority of seats in parliament; that's what made the Catalan move to have a cross party pro-independence platform such a wise one. I'll tell you what you need if you want to know the precise percentage of those in favour of Catalan independence: a referendum. Ha ha.
What's interesting from a cultural perspective here, I think, is this constant insistence on the Spanish Constitution and the legal rather than democratic arguments against Catalonia claiming its right to decide its future. The Spanish state continues with its judicial persecution of president Mas and his ministers in a desperate attempt to curtail the winds of change blowing through Catalonia. Truly democratic countries would, I believe, accept that it is the people rather than the judiciary that have to decide on this issue, and would not use politics of fear and dirty tricks in Brussels to try and undermine a grassroots movement that has impressed the whole world.
As for other Britalans, the opinions of those I know range widely from adopting a fervent pro-Spanish stance to being in favour of Catalan independence to complete disinterest. What has been most fascinating to me is seeing some previously pro-independence Britalans slowly change their opinion upon the appearance of so many senyeres, on the grounds that “all that flag-waving is too nationalistic for me… I hate nationalism”. To which I reply, “This is different. This is an inclusive nationalism. The scary nationalism you're referring to is not what this is about. No one is being excluded from a new Catalan state, everyone is welcome”. At least, that's how I see it.