Mudcat Café message #3882415 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162903   Message #3882415
Posted By: Steve Shaw
15-Oct-17 - 01:29 PM
Thread Name: BS: Catalonia: pros and cons of separation
Subject: RE: BS: Catalonia: pros and cons of separation
The obstinate fact is that the turnout was way too low for you to conclude that there was an overwhelming appetite for leaving the EU. Even if every person in that EU election had voted UKIP, it still would not have proved an overwhelming appetite. Too many people did not take part. Allan, I don't claim every non-voter for "my side." But if any of those non-voters had felt an ardent and vital need for us to leave the EU, they would have voted. But for some reason they didn't. That suggests something less than an overwhelming appetite. Certainly, 38% of those entitled to vote does not demonstrate an overwhelming appetite.

Generally I disagree with referendums because, in a democracy, we elect politicians to know stuff better than we do and make informed decisions better than we can. Trying to dress up the brexit vote as a simple are we in/are we out vote, is just disingenuous. The repercussions either way are manifold and complex. I want people who know those potential repercussions making the crucial decisions, not a largely ignorant electorate whose only qualification is that they're over 18. Conversely, lest I'm accused of being patronising or whatever, I wouldn't want Philip Hammond plastering my bedroom ceiling or Jeremy Corbyn fitting my kitchen. In the case of Catalonia I can't see any other way out of this now bar a referendum. If I lived there I'd want independence. But cutting corners by proposing a leading question or conducting a campaign full of lies will make things worse.

The point about setting bars high is fairly straightforward. Say Catalonia voted to leave Spain, then left. Over the next few years there would be severe repercussions regarding the EU and trade with other nations, some of whom may have been unsympathetic. Spain would create difficulties and it would soon become clear that the move was irreversible. But say Catalonia voted to stay. Over the next few years there would be rumblings about another vote. In terms of democracy, and the relative cheapness of organising one, there would be nothing wrong with peaceful campaigning for a second referendum, especially if things were getting tougher and if the first vote had been close. Having a change of mind would be relatively easy to act on. But once you're out, the chances are that changing your mind would be futile. The consequences of voting to leave are not the same as voting for staying. Therefore it should be quite hard to get enough votes to leave. Leaving is a far more serious proposition than staying. I'd say two-thirds of three-quarters minimum.