By a Newsnet reporter

The ERC, the second party in the pro-independence coalition governing Catalonia, is urging its coalition partners the CiU to bring forward the date of Catalonia’s independence referendum.

Speaking to Catalan Radio on Friday morning, Oriol Junqueras, leader of the ERC, said that the Catalan referendum had to be held “urgently”, suggesting it be brought forward to 2013.

Highlighting the “precarious” situation of the Catalan health and education systems, Mr Junqueras said:  “The 18th of September … does not have to be our date for the ballot, it has to be before that.  Our situation is desperate.”  

He added:  “It’s possible to hold the ballot in 2013, because it’s urgent.  The future of Catalonia has to be in the hands of the citizens of Catalonia, and not at the feet of the Spanish horses.”

The announcement that Scotland will celebrate its referendum on the 18th of September 2014 has set off a euphoric reaction amongst Catalan independence activists.  In a tweet, Mr Junqueras congratulated Scots, saying:

“Scotland has now made a date with democracy.  Congratulations and good luck; we also can do it, and better soon.”  

The ERC is now putting pressure on Artur Mas, leader of the CiU and president of the Catalan government, to bring forward the date of Catalonia’s referendum.  However the CiU is resisting pressure to give an exact date, although many believe that Catalonia’s national day, La Diada (September 11), is the most likely time to hold the ballot.  During a march for independence on La Diada last year, one and a half million Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona demanding a Catalan state.

Meanwhile the minor pro-independence party Candidatura d’Unitat Popular has compared the setting out of Scotland’s referendum date with a lack of progress in Catalonia.  Mr Quim Arrufat, a CUP member of the Catalan parliament, said in a tweet:  “In Scotland they have a date for the independence referendum.  Here we have photos and declarations.”   

According to the accord between Catalonia’s pro-independence parties, the ballot must be held before the end of 2014.  If the Catalans hold their referendum on September 11 2014, which many observers believe is the date preferred by Mr Mas, a successful outcome for the Catalan independence campaign may have an effect on the Scottish referendum one week later.  

This may well have figured in the SNP’s calculations when the Scottish government decided on 18th September 2014 as the date for Scotland’s historic vote. Some Scots who are undecided about independence may be encouraged by a successful vote in Catalonia just a few days before Scotland goes to the polls.

According to recent opinion polls, an absolute majority of Catalan are in favour of independence, with independence supporters outnumbering the combined total of those against and those who have yet to make up their minds.

Meanwhile, Artur Mas, leader of the CiU and president of Catalonia, has said that he feels envious of Scotland’s progress towards a legal and recognised referendum.  The Madrid government continues to resist any moves from Catalonia to hold an independence referendum, saying that it would be illegal and contrary to the Spanish constitution.  Nevertheless, the Catalan parliament insists that it will go ahead with the ballot.


2013-03-23 08:28

I still have a fear that we won’t see public support like that shown by the Catalans till after the UK has fully sunk into financial ruin.

Hopefully we won’t need to wait for either of those.
2013-03-23 09:07

Good luck to Catalonia! If we are both on the same journey towards independence, then there are all kinds of opportunities for our countries to become special lasting friends.

The different processes do intrigue me however. It is an admirable spectacle that the Catalans can fill their streets with demonstrators, while street protests in Scotland are humble and subdued by comparison. But, I don’t believe it reflects a lack of desire for independence, just that History has shaped our societies to behave in different ways.

Passion for change in Scotland has been distilled through ages of Calvinist and presbyterian self control, and it now manifests itself as grim determination, but what a sullen and cast iron determination it becomes.

Edit: Remember the way David Soul’s XV took to the pitch to contest the 1990 Grand Slam at Murrayfied? That was something else…

Found it :…/
2013-03-23 11:16

Yes Breeks, we are on the same journey but the big difference is the people of Catalonia have the will and the pride to want it and to fight for it. Not so in Scotland! Catalonia does not have all the resources and advantages that Scotland has, yet they have the belief in their own ability to run their country themselves. Why can’t we?
2013-03-23 13:10

I hear you Hersel, but the Catalans protested when they had nothing; no referendum or devolved government like us, but instead, a hostile government being low brow & militant about giving them nothing.

Ask yourself whether Scotland’s aspirations for independence would be more or less strident now if that’s how Westminster had behaved, and we’d had no democracy betrayed in 1979, and no Scottish Assembly these past 15 years?

We should see it as a credit to Holyrood AND Westminster that people aren’t more angry; people aren’t more militant; people aren’t agitated to open rebellion. We don’t want to overthrow Westminster, we just want rid of their influence in our affairs. We don’t resent the devolved government, we like it. We like it so much, it’s time we gave it promotion.

The Catalans have a fight for independence, and will need to be strong to win. In Scotland, we have only a choice, and all we need do is choose the smart option.

2013-03-23 10:35

Yep, fair made the hairs on the back of the neck stand up.

But let’s not confuse him with Starssky’s abusive mate – David Sole, a leader of men
2013-03-23 10:43

The sad thing is that the Gavin Hastings, David Sole’s and Finlay Calders of this world are on the other side of their faces against Scotland taking its rightful place amongst the nations – Jim Sillars 90 minute patriots!

I am reading through Jim Hunter’s excellent books on Highland history, the rush to embrace public school education, the separation out of a ruling class and what ensued with the Clearances. It is depressing how self-aggrandisement trumps the commonweal of which we are so proud. My hope is that if we escape the clutches of the British state, even by a fluke then a whole new world will open up to us.
2013-03-23 11:00

Without wanting to sound pessimistic Catalonia should hold it well before Scotland as it has a better chance than us of winning a Yes vote. I say ‘better chance’ because while we have a good chance of winning they’ve got a near certain chance. Having Ireland as a precedence within the British Isles nearly a hundred years ago will certainly help our cause but it is Catalonia setting the precedence of becoming independent from a developed post-war west-European country that will give us the domino effect we need. And then Wales, Northern Ireland, Flanders and the Basque Country may well follow.

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