These are some sample cards. Full updates are available above for our subscribers.
A few general comments –
*Generally, I think it is becoming very difficult to be Pro
(a) Even though the independence parties won a slim majority, the preponderance of evidence says there is very little chance of secession, at least within the next 10 years.
(b) Spain’s government has pulled back their police force, reducing (perhaps completely eliminating) any policy brutality.
(c) A new government will (hopefully) form in Catalonia and Spain is no longer invoking Article 155.
(d) “Hopefully” in the last sentence is important because there is very good evidence that Catalonia may not be able to form a functioning government, which casts doubt on any justification for independence and magnifies any harms from it
(e) Any “democracy” argument is pretty terrible, as most Catalans do not support complete independence, including the largest of the three independence parties. Most only support greater autonomy within Spain.
(f) There is good evidence that any economic impact from current instability is small and that economic growth will continue into the future
*Pro teams are going to have to be even more creative with advantages, so Con teams need to be on the lookout for a lot of nonsense/BS. Con teams that hear something that sounds sketchy should press the Pro for actual evidence.
*Uniqueness evidence dated before December 21st regarding whether there will or will not be secession, doesn’t seem relevant to me.
Catalonia is currently a net burden to Spain
Press Latina, 1-1, 18, Catalan Independent Conflict Leaves Great Loss to Spanish Gov’t, http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=22779&SEO=catalan-independent-conflict-leaves-great-loss-to-spanish-govt
Madrid, Jan 1 (Prensa Latina) The separatist conflict in Catalonia caused a loss of $ one billion euros in the fourth quarter of 2017, said the Spanish Ministry of Economy today. Minister of Economy Luis de Guindossaid said today that due to the economic consequences of the actions of the Catalan separatists, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of that autonomous community slowed down in that period by four or five decimals. De Guindossaid, who described Catalonia as one of the main boost of the Spanish recovery, said that in the recent three months of 2017 Catalonia ‘became a burden’ due to the restlessness and distrust triggered by the political instability in the region. According to data released by Spanish official sources, in just 80 days, from October 2nd and December 20th, that situation led some 1,200 companies to move to other Spanish regions. Among the companies that moved their headquarters are some important as Abertis, Cellnex, Idilia Foods, Mahou San Miguel, Bimbo, Codorniu, Axa, Grupo Planeta, MRW, Dogi and Oryzons, said the sources. On December 21st the Catalan separatists managed to win in the parliamentary election brought forward by the Spanish Government to neutralize the separatist movement, and are currently preparing to recover control of the region, which, in the opinion of specialists, could increase the crisis again. Given the situation, De Guindos urged the new leaders of the Parliament that will begin the work in weeks to be aware of the consequences of this policy and thus, wisely give up that approach so the unilateral path will be permanently ruled out.
December 21 election sets the stage for confrontation
BBC, 1-1-, 2018, Catalonia Crisis: Economy minister puts the cost at $1.1 billion, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42534523
Far from resolving the crisis, December’s election highlighted the even nature of the region’s split into pro-independence and unionist sides, and set the stage for further confrontation. The separatists are best placed to form a new administration, with separatist groups winning 70 of 135 seats in parliament. However, the Ciudadanos (Citizens) party won the popular vote. The region’s former leader Carles Puigdemont – who is in self-imposed exile in Brussels – leads one of the separatist parties. His erstwhile deputy Oriol Junqueras – who is in jail in Madrid – heads another. Mr de Guindos urged the separatists to abandon the “unilateral way” and focus on the “basic necessities” of Catalan society.
Catalonian independence is an affront to globalization and a unified Europe under the EU
Ropo Sekoni, 12-31, 17, Lessons from Spain’s Rajoy and Puigemont, http://thenationonlineng.net/lessons-spains-rajoy-puigdemont-1/
The victory of pro-Independence parties in the recent Catalonia regional elections called by Mariano Rajoy has taken many people and countries by surprise or shock, especially those who have accepted that the concept of the modern nation is stuck in the Westphalian moment of pre-globalisation. Surprise, because the parties won even when their leaders were in jail or exile, thus showing the depth of commitment of many Catalans to the principle of self-determination in a changing multicultural world in which many people carry multiple identities with ease. And shock, because the intense feelings expressed by members of Puigdemont’s party, Together for Catalunya, kissing the ballot paper before dropping it in the box must increase the fear of those who prefer to live in the past in many parts of the modern world vis-a-vis desire for new governance architecture in individual countries and super-state structure such as the EU.
But more specifically, the result of the Catalonia elections is bound to draw attention to the age-old rivalry between continuity and change or between hegemony and freedom in many parts of the world. For example, Emmanuel Macron’s “Initiative for Europe” seems to be calling for a new Europe, one that calls for a new structure that houses multiple cultures without compromising the freedom and identity of any in a Federal Europe, fuelled by physical and cultural security and knowledge and innovation. It is conceivable that if such Europe had existed before October 1, the show of force by Rajoy and reinforcement of Rajoy’s rejection of timely dialogue and negotiation from Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president: “Beyond the purely legal aspects of this matter, the Commission believes that these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation” would have encouraged the Spanish government to dialogue with the Catalan leader. Even Theresa May, whose country is already on the way out of Europe, was unequivocal in her support for Rajoy: “We continue to want to see the rule of law upheld, the Spanish Constitution respected, and Spanish unity preserved” [My emphasis]. It is one thing for European or world leaders to discourage secession and another thing for them to encourage dialogue that can douse tension for both parties. right to self-rule has been taken over by the
Independence post election is absurd and any status quo instability won’t undermine the economy
SNL European Financials Daily, December 25, 2017, Catalan vote disruption to be short-lived, analysts say, as Spanish stocks fall, https://www.snl.com/interactivex/article.aspx?KPLT=7&id=43027020
While the narrow majority for pro-independence parties in the Dec. 21 vote is an embarrassment for Spain’s conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who attracted international criticism for what some called heavy-handed policing of the Catalan referendum, the separatists might struggle to form a government, perhaps prompting fresh elections next May, Barclays analyst Antonio Garcia Pascual noted. In the event a pro-independence government is formed, the overwhelming unionist majority in the Spanish parliament would mean that any calls for constitutional reform to allow a legal re-run of the referendum would be “highly unlikely to see any progress.” One side-effect of the Catalan crisis has been the drop in support at a Spanish level for far-left Podemos, as unionist parties, particularly the centrist Citizens, which came first in the Catalonia election with 25% of the vote, have seen their votes rise, Garcia Pascual noted. This might boost the possibility that the ruling conservatives might be able to form a majority, with the backing of Citizens, if there is a general election soon, he said. Market fallout from the vote is likely to be short-lived, TD Securities analysts James Rossiter and Ned Rumpeltin wrote: “These events remain very unlikely to change the outlook for growth, inflation, or monetary policy for the euro area as a whole.”
Rajoy better positioned to stop independence now and independence parties aren’t even pushing for it
Agence France Presse, 12-28, 17, Rajoy better armed against Catalan separatists despite poll rout, http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/240190-rajoy-better-armed-against-catalan-separatists-despite-poll-rout
Despite taking fire for losing a snap election in Catalonia, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faces the new year better equipped to block a separatist drive in the wealthy region, analysts said. His detractors have called the results of the December 21 election, which saw separatist parties hold on to their majority in the Catalan parliament, a “fiasco” and a “rout” for Rajoy, in power since 2011. Pro-independence parties failed to win a majority of ballots cast but neither did parties in favour of Spanish unity do as well as was hoped for by the majority of Spain’s political class. Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party (PP) saw its marginal representation in the 135-seat Catalan parliament reduced even further, to just four seats, from 11 previously. Its main rival, the relative newcomer Ciudadanos, won the most seats with 36, mainly by luring away traditional PP supporters. At first glance Rajoy appeared to have lost his bet by calling the snap polls after he invoked constitution article 155, allowing him to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule in response to the separatists’ independence drive. – Rebellion stifled – But political consultant Ignacio Varela said “article 155 played its role which was not to win the elections or improve the PP’s results, or make separatism disappear, but rather to stifle a rebellion against the constitution.” Catalonia’s three separatist parties had approved laws in September to “disconnect” the region from Spain, organised a banned independence referendum on October 1 and then proclaimed independence on October 27. After Rajoy intervened, experts said the separatists recognised that they had underestimated the capacity of the Spanish state to react. They have said they no longer plan to push for independence unilaterally and favour a negotiated settlement instead. “Enacting article 155 broke a taboo, without sparking a rebellion,” said Pablo Simon, a politics professor at Madrid’s Carlos III University. Rajoy has warned repeatedly that he will not hesitate to invoke article 155 powers again if separatists once again break the law. Pro-independence parties are now divided over what strategy to follow and may have a hard time capitalising on their success. This is especially true because the candidate whose list won the most seats, deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, fled to Belgium to avoid arrest “and his return is not expected”, Oriol Bartomeus, a political scientist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. – Surmountable setback – The result of the elections will have a cost for Rajoy as “PP voters will be strongly tempted to switch their votes to Ciudadanos”, further weakening his minority government, said Varela. The PP is likely to struggle to win the support of the Basque National Party (PNV), whose five votes in the national parliament are needed to adopt the 2018 budget, as long as Catalan separatist leaders are being pursued by the courts, he added. But Anton Losada, a professor of politics at the University of Santiago de Compostela who has written a book about Rajoy, said he believes PNV leader Inigo Ukullo, who needs the support of regional PP lawmakers to keep his post as head of the Basque regional government, will not tie his fate to the Catalan separatists. And both Bartomeus and Losada downplayed the threat Ciudadanos represents to the PP. “The logic of strategic voting, that led Catalan voters to Ciudadanos because it was the formation that could win, will play in the PP’s favour in national elections,” said Bartomeus. 2018 will be difficult for Rajoy “but what year hasn’t been difficult for him?” Losada asked. “I think he will complete his term, approve budgets and if he want he will run again in the elections” slated for 2020, he added.
No independence until at least 2040
Ricard Gonzalez, 12-27, 17, Gonzalez is a journalist and analyst specializing in the Arab World and Catalan politics. He is the author of the book Ascenso y caida de los Hermanos Musulmanes, The Nation Catalonia’s crisis is just getting started, http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/12/27/catalonias-crisis-is-just-getting-started/
So far, the Spanish political class doesn’t see the need to pay such a high price to put an end to the “Catalan question.” Many Spanish politicians and intellectuals consider the conflict in Catalonia a chronic pain, but not a mortal disease that really threatens the integrity of the nation. They may be correct for now, given the polarization of Catalan society. But the independence of Catalonia cannot be ruled out in the long run if the Spanish government continues to rely on painkillers rather than proposing a genuine remedy. According to polls, in addition to the roughly 50 percent who want independence, 20 percent of Catalans would like to have more autonomy; together, they represent a clear majority against the status quo. In addition, support for independence is the weakest among older voters, probably because many of them were born in other regions of Spain and immigrated to Catalonia during the economic boom of the 1960s. Support for independence could therefore grow simply due to generational change over the next 20 years. At the moment, however, Prime Minister Rajoy and his political adversaries have more pressing concerns than the emergence of a hypothetical threat by 2040; Spain is currently being led by a minority government, and the prospect of snap elections is quite likely. This is why the conflict between Catalonia and Spain has no end in sight.
Government financial control means Catalonia cannot push toward independence and they know it
Faber, 1-29, 17, The Nation, Catalonia’s elections take Spain back to square one, Sebastiaan Faber is a professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College. His most recent book is Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography, https://www.thenation.com/article/catalonias-elections-take-spain-back-to-square-one/
Despite what happens in the negotiations, Catalonia will still have to live with the continued threat of intervention from the central government. The PP, which governs Spain without a parliamentary majority, has discovered that it can cripple its political rivals simply by throwing sand in their engines. Before officially revoking Catalan self-government, Cristóbal Montoro, Spain’s minister of finance, took control of the region’s books. Since then, he has done the same with the city government of Madrid and the regional government of Valencia, which are both ruled by coalitions that include Podemos. In each case, Montoro claimed that the progressive administrations were disobeying his strict, austerity-driven spending rules; in practice, they had cut the budget and planned to use the newly created surplus to invest in social housing and health care. “I do hope it won’t be necessary ever to apply Article 155 again,” Spain’s minister of justice, Rafael Catalá, said on Christmas Day. But, he added, a new Catalan government better not promote “secessionist movements that go against the Constitution.” Faced with this prospect, Catalonia will have little choice but to slow down its push for independence. It’s likely that it will instead increase the pressure on Madrid to sit down and negotiate a new statute for the region.
Secessionist parties are split
AP, 12-29 17, Washington Post, Catalonia’s parliament to reconvene September 17, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/spain-first-session-of-new-catalan-parliament-on-jan-17/2017/12/29/c8614b90-ec97-11e7-956e-baea358f9725_story.html?utm_term=.bcd3cdc3f8f7
It remains to be seen if the secessionist parties, which won 70 of the regional parliament’s 135 seats, will be able to form a government. Eight of their deputies elected last week are either in flight from justice or jailed in Spain while being investigated for alleged rebellion over the independence declaration. They include former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium after Rajoy ousted him from office and risks being arrested if he returns to Spain. The former vice president of Catalonia, Oriol Junqueras, is in jail outside Madrid. Puigdemont’s and Junqueras’ parties are negotiating which of them to put forward for the regional presidency; the selected candidate must be present at a session of parliament, which presents obvious obstacles for both men. Unless the status of the eight elected deputies changes or they cede their seats to other party members, the bloc risks losing the opportunity to take office again and fresh elections may be called. The three pro-independence parties were united in the previous parliament, but disagreements have arisen amid the fallout from the move to break away from Spain and the central government’s takeover of Catalonia’s affairs.
The “popular” majority is not a real one – it is engineered
Mike Conrad, 12-28 17, Befuddlement in Catalonia, American Thinker, http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/12/befuddlement_in_catalonia.html
I am neither in favor of nor against Catalonia’s independence. The recent turn of elections, where the independentistas won a majority of seats in the parliament, has proven nothing. What does remain is an absolute amazement at the incompetence of Iberian government on all sides at all levels. Aggravating this are remarkable levels of fake news. Before one addresses the recent elections, which the independentistas won, we should start in June of 2017, when the Catalan government itself ran a poll. The result showed a then embarrassing drop in support for independence, down to a mere 41.1%. The link to the original poll on the government site has been “conveniently” taken down, but we know the results. [T]he percentage of people supporting a Catalan independent state dropped to 41.1 percent in June  from 44.3 percent in March. Beneath all the hype, the independentistas did not have a clear majority as late as six months ago, and their own polls showed that support was decreasing at that time. That the Catalan authorities even bothered to stage an election in October was beyond all reason, unless they planned to engineer results. The central Madrid government declared the election illegal when it could have avoided a problem by declaring it merely pointless. To be sure, Madrid’s violent actions to suppress the elections were thuggish and counterproductive. A mere four months from the June poll that showed 41.1% approval, suddenly, the “approval” for independence jumped to an astounding 92% overall in October, if you can believe it. Apparently, approval for independence had more than doubled in just four months. Incredible! The Catalan government sold the election results to the world as a truly democratic expression of the will of the Catalan people. One is amazed at how many people bought that line. Clearly, what happened is that only one side showed up to vote in October, with the pro-Madrid electorate preferring to obey Madrid’s prohibition on voting in an illegal election. This is not to favor Madrid. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Partido Popular (Popular Party) has a reputation for quasi-fascist sympathies. Over the past decade, The Partido Popular has intervened through lawsuits and legal trickery to suppress expressions of Catalan autonomy, in a manner the Catalans rightly considered unconstitutional. By 2010, the Catalans had had enough, and the drive for independence started with a massive rally in Barcelona. This much can be seen in this video of the 2010 rally: Along the way, Madrid authorities handed down positively obscene rulings like overturning a Catalan ban on bullfighting. One gets a sense of provocations from the central Madrid authorities akin to the Intolerable Acts that led to the American Revolution. But there the similarities end. Contrary to what is told in popular American history, our forefathers laid strong groundwork to gain popular support. The ratio of one third in favor of the Revolution, one third against, and one third neutral is based on an unreliable quote, attributed to John Adams, but without merit. Adams’s quote actually referred to American sympathies with the French Revolution. In reality, the popularity of the American Revolution was much stronger, and while Tories were a problem, they were a clear minority. There is evidence a large part of the population supported independence before the reluctant leaders in the Congress would vote upon or commit that sentiment to paper. … Recent historians of the Loyalists, such as William Nelson, have estimated them at no more than a sixth of the population. The Founders would never have started the Revolution with the low support base seen in Catalonia. The American Revolution was a bottom-up operation, where the leaders reflected the will of the people. Barcelona was a top-down fiasco, where the leaders tried to engineer a false majority. False? Regarding the December vote: The pro-independence parties did not, however, win the popular vote, failing once again to secure a share of more than 50%. The secessionist parties defied consistent poll predictions of a hung parliament to secure an absolute majority of 70 seats out of 135, and 47.5 percent of the popular vote. Meanwhile the unionist bloc took 57 seats, with 43.4 percent of the vote[.] The independentistas won a razor-thin majority in the Catalan parliament, but only because the results were tilted by district-apportioning that favored the more Catalan rural districts. Barcelona itself is not as secessionist as the rest of Catalonia, and the independentistas know it. Madrid-supporters have used that anomaly to call for Tabarnia (a coastal region including Barcelona) to secede from Catalonia. Moreover, Franco purposefully planted Spaniards in Catalonia to frustrate Catalonian designs. They are a large group today. Britain tried the same stunt in Ireland by planting British settlers in Ulster, but the unionists remained a rather small minority for most of the period of British rule, which led to the gerrymandering of Ulster to create an artificial local majority. Franco was more thorough. Catalan unionists are a rather large segment at 43.4%. The independentistas have not won them over. Worse yet, the independentistas have relied on Muslim immigrants educated in Catalan, with no attachment to Madrid, to fortify their vote. They use outsiders no less than Franco. So what we see is popular support for independence at 41.1% in June, 92% in October, and then back down to 47.5% in December. Look at those numbers! Do they look stable? If anything, it is the October vote that is the most unreliable. This is not the way to win a revolution. The amount of corruption in both Madrid and Barcelona is appalling, and this crisis is being manipulated by both sides to hide it. Both the ruling PP party and Catalonia’s independentists are using the national question to whitewash their own history of corruption and enthusiasm for austerity. The incompetence of Barcelona is perfectly matched by Prime Minister Rajoy, who must have been out of his mind to order another election and to expect better results. Prime Minister Rajoy’s People’s Party (Partido Popular) lost most of its seats in the Thursday election, dropping from 11 to three. Probably in recognition of its failure, Madrid has ordered withdrawal of Spanish police. What Spain will do now is anybody’s guess. The independentistas have won a “questionable” victory, but not a mandate. Prime Minister Rajoy has suffered a major defeat. Neither side has a true appreciation for democracy; rather, both show a willingness to manipulate results. What we see is a European tendency for leaders to manipulate the electorate rather than lead the stirrings of popular will. No side is correct in Catalonia. The independentistas should have waited for another generation of language education to take hold so that the unionists could have been won over to a Catalan sensibility. Catalan use is growing, but it is often a second language still. Beneath all of this is the fake press. European news sources are incredibly biased one way or the other. It is astounding to see how this Euro paper or that Euro news site delivers only half the story with no substantial explanation. Catalonia is a mess, in every sense of the word. Both sides are manipulative and corrupt. These elections prove nothing except that European “democracy” has never even risen to the level of Tammany Hall. Tammany, at least, knew how to sense the public mood and knew when to back off.
If independence is legal it will reassure investors
Thomas Hunt, 12-26, 17, Daily Express, Euro Plummets on Christmas day, https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/896627/euro-EU-crash-dollar-computer-algorithms-Spain-Catalonia
XTB analyst Joaquín Robles said: “We are perhaps facing the worst scenario for the interests of Spanish investors, since it is most likely that the pro-independence group will return to rule.” He added that the search for independence through the legal channels, instead of unilaterally, would “reassure” investors. Moody’s believed the electoral result illustrated “the persistent” polarisation of the Catalans and it is “negative” for the economic growth of Spain.
Independence will not resolve economic problems because Catalonia doesn’t have an economic plan
Thomas Hunt, 12-26, 17, Daily Express, Euro Plummets on Christmas day, https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/896627/euro-EU-crash-dollar-computer-algorithms-Spain-Catalonia
Likewise, the US firm believes that the approach to the independence procedures will “further weaken the already weak finances of the region”, since the electoral programmes of the pro-independence parties lack fiscal consolidation measures and the focus of their political agenda is the road map towards independence.
Spain pulling police from Catalonia – their evidence is old
Egypt Independent, 12-27, 17, Spanish government begins withdrawal of thousands of police from Catalonia, , http://www.dw.com/en/spanish-government-begins-withdrawal-of-thousands-of-police-from-catalonia/a-41940101
Spain has announced it will begin to pull out police reinforcements sent to Catalonia ahead of the region’s contested October independence vote. As many as 10,000 additional officers are thought to have been deployed. The Spanish government on Tuesday announced that it had begun pulling out police reinforcements from Catalonia, almost three months after they were sent to halt an independence referendum that the Constitutional Court had declared illegal. Spain’s Interior Ministry and the Spanish police union said the withdrawal should be completed by Saturday. Read more: Opinion: After Catalan elections, it’s back to the drawing board Madrid deployed thousands of additional officers from Spain’s National Police and Guardia Civil to Catalonia in September, just as the northeastern region was preparing to vote in a contested independence referendum. The vote on October 1 was subsequently marred by scenes of violence , as police used batons and rubber bullet to try and force voters away from the polling booths. At least 92 people were injured in the clashes, while Catalan authorities claimed at the time that as many as 900 people needed hospital and medical attention on the day of the vote. Although Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government never placed an exact figure on the number of additional officers sent to Catalonia, most media estimated it to be between 4,000 and 6,000. However, Spain’s top-selling daily, El Pais, put the figure at around 10,000. The crackdown prompted Catalan separatists to dub the Spanish police reinforcements as an “occupying force.” Catalonia still rising separatist wave Despite the numbers of police and their often brutal interventions, the referendum still saw millions of Catalonians cast their ballot, giving the separatist vote a substantial majority. The vote, however, led Rajoy to sack Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, dissolve the Barcelona-based government and impose direct rule from Madrid. The prime minister also called for early elections, which took place last week. The separatist parties once again maintained their majority and are expected to form a new government.