The Scottish Conservatives’ leader, in between inane tweets about the Tory conference, has put out a statement which regrets the violence being rained upon innocent Catalans by the Spanish government. It says the answer is; ‘dialogue and diplomacy’. Plenty of unionists, not all Tory and including Scotland in Union (oops…) have re-tweeted the statement, quite obviously as an endorsement.
But these are weasel words. They amount to saying that the Spanish are quite right to deny a referendum to the Catalans, it’s just that the way they’re going about it is a bit, well, messy. And of course they can kiss goodbye to Gibraltar.
The terrible violence in Spain, however, a stark reminder that the stain of fascism there is still upon and within the woodwork there (see this 6-years-old but still, quite obviously, relevant Jonathan Freedland piece for the Guardian), does not behove us to wish that dialogue or diplomacy reign. It requires us to demand that a third ‘d’, democracy, reign.
In 2014, Scots were urged by the ‘Better Together’ campaign to keep their place in the EU by voting No. This was pivotal for many wavering voters. The truth, we know now, is that Scots could only have saved our place in the EU by voting ‘Yes’. This, of itself, is enough for any reasonable person to agree that the result is now either morally invalid, or a immoral con-trick we must simply accept.
Some unionists actually laugh about the con-trick. Perhaps these are the ones re-tweeting that tweet of the Scottish Conservatives’ leader. Other unionists should look at Catalonia and reflect now upon whether they want to laugh about a con-trick alongside the Conservatives. Or, instead, accept that while they may not agree with independence, it is once again time to defend people’s right to choose at the ballot box.