IBERIAN HISTORY IN 4 MINUTES

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58 thoughts on “IBERIAN HISTORY IN 4 MINUTES”

  1. He lost me when we said it was all about money. It’s no more and no less about money than it is here in Scotland; at root it’s about values. The narrator goes on to say it: Catalunya is the most liberal part of Spain, and without it the right wing would really rule the roost in what remains.

    At least in Catalunya, they have their own media, and there is no doubt about just who is subsidizing whom. In Scotland, the UK State and Establishment have keep strict control over and ownership of the means of propaganda.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Narrator sounds American.

      I’ve heard the “it’s all about money” somewhere else as well.

      Then again, Scottish Independence could be said to be “all about money” as well – we want it spent on the worse off, Westminster wants it spent on the better off. Westminster refuses to cooperate with our desires, so we’re wanting to tell them to take the proverbial long walk off a short pier.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, there is no doubt that Scottish money is spent to make the UK look important and, as Mr Cameron said, “punch above our weight”.

        For some strange Tory reason he seemed to be proud that we “punched above our weight” while people were homeless and hungry and being paid not enough to live on.

        I know it’s not all about money for everyone. But you do notice a comparison over years in things like trunk roads and motorways, and railways, for example.

        Perth to Inverness still a single track road for much of its length and no electric trains north of Edinburgh??? What?

        Not to be found in England.

        For some people that is a huge deal

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I guess it is about different things to different people, Ed. Some Catalans must resent the fact that they subsidise Spain.

      But I agree, A bit like Scotland. We and they tend to be more liberal than the rest of the state but that state dominates.

      So we have a Tory or Toryesque government all the time, although we never vote for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The parallels with Scotland are incredible. Never knew any of that. From wikipedia:

    “The constitution gave all communities significant control over spending, but the central government retained effective control of their revenue supply.”

    That could be about Catalonia just as much as Scotland.

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    1. The son of a Franco appointee.

      Franco trained Juan Carlos to be king when he died. Juan Carlos trained Filipe.

      What is it with the fascination for these rotten to the core royal families?

      No wonder Catalonia wants to be a republic.

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      1. The problem with that is that it doesn’t deal with the EU imposing govts on Greece & Italy in complete violation of the democratic vote in those countries. Then there’s Ireland who was forced to effectively pay for the German Landesbanks greed/incompetence – pay up or else. Then there’s Serbia/FYR/Kosovo – EU meddled in internal matters there, as they did in Ukraine.

        The EU isn’t interested in democracy or the rule of law & has proven that’s the case again & again over the last 20+years.

        EFTA is the only game in town now in terms of indyref2….

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Nor does it take account of the (failed) referendums on the Lisbon (& others) treaty.

          EU response to being told that democratic votes meant they couldn’t get their neo-liberalist treaty through?

          “Wrong answer. Do it again until you get the right answer”.

          Much as I hate to say it, the leave voters (ones who aren’t racist anyway) had/have a very good point. The EU is profoundly undemocratic – the only part of it being vaguely democratic being the “parliament” which has severely restricted powers when compared to the rest of the EU apparatus. The rest of it is run for & by money/power.

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          1. I’m gonna hope that Terry will respond Vestas, as I simply don;t know enough about it to argue on one side or the other.

            My view is that we must be in a single market and a customs union. In a world that gets smaller by the year, to be outside of that is just plain mad.

            EFTA would satisfy that, more of less. We would still have the four freedoms. It would cost us a lot of money, but it would be worth it.

            We wouldn’t have any say or any veto on most of the stuff (although I understand that Switzerland has ongoing discussions and the other three countries have annual meetings with the EU so they can put their views.

            Very few governments are really democratic. The Uk’s is absolutely not. Apart from them telling us it is, there isnt any attempt to make it look democratic.

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            1. Indeed but two layers of undemocratic govt isn’t appealing really is it? 🙂

              Probably worth noting that Rajoy/Merkel/May’s parties are all part of the (ironically named) European People’s Party – ie Eurotories – and they currently control the EU parliament. Leader is Juncker, Vice-president is Barnier, group leader is Weber, Secretary General is Spanish.

              Don’t hold your breath for any condemnation of Spain from this afternoons EUParl debate. It was stitched up long before 1 October….

              Liked by 1 person

              1. No, it’s not, but as Terry points out the EU isn’t really a government. It is supposed to be a coming together of the governments of the countries in Europe.

                Notwithstanding the odious Spanish government, and numerous in Eastern Europe equally as bad, Britain’s is up there with the worst.

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                1. Spanish army units now moving into Catalonia… where’s the EU lads? Backing up Rajoy in EUParl….

                  Game over – and I mean completely over for indyref2 + EU.

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                  1. Tris, as you may have read over on Terry’s blog, I’m feeling rather the same as Vestas right now. You are right in saying we (Scotland) need to be trading with the EU within the club for economic reasons but there is more to life than economics. If it was purely down to economics I don’t know if I’d be in favour of independence for Scotland because while I think things probably will be better for us out of the UK they aren’t going to be much better & we may be worse off. But I’ll take that for greater political autonomy & freedom from the UK. But the way things are looking now I’m not sure that being within the EU is the route to political freedom after the events of the past few days. EFTA is now my preferred option.

                    That article from Craig Murray, and the two he posted today, reinforce my feelings considerably. I have a lot of respect for Terry & his knowledge of things EU but if I have to make the choice between his views or those of Craig I’ll choose the latter as I have huge respect for that man’s knowledge of international affairs & diplomacy.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. @hugh

                      I’ve addressed Craig Murray’s specific points on the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights of the European Union in a new post: https://terryentoure.blogspot.ch/2017/10/what-can-eu-actually-do.html. Craig proposes that the Charter can be used as a legal vehicle to take action against Spain. If this is correct then it is a persuasive argument that the EU has a legal mandate to take action against Spain using EU courts. I’m afraid this is not correct because the Charter was adopted in such a way that it only refers to the application of EU law and the governance of EU institutions. Spanish policing and its constitutional affairs are not an EU competence and are not governed by EU law. They are also not EU institutions. It’s my belief that the Charter does not apply in this case.

                      A shared standard of human rights is a basic obligation of EU membership. The EU effectively outsources this to the Council of Europe, which is completely independent of the EU. Does this obligation provide a mechanism to expel or suspend Spain from the EU? Yes, it does but only if Spain finds itself expelled or suspended from the Council of Europe. Is that going to happen? Well, the UK is in persistent breach of rulings of the European Court of Human Rights yet it remains a full and active member of the Council of Europe. It is not alone in this situation. The wheels of justice move slowly. We have no reason to believe that Spain will find itself in persistent conflict with the ECtHR but if it did then it is some years away before it becomes an issue that affects the EU.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. Thanks Terry. I’ll take a read for sure. But the legality is only one issue for me & the morality displayed in the immediate aftermath is of equal importance. Immoral laws have always been written with horrible consequences for all their lawfulness. The letter of the law is always a debatable issue otherwise being a lawyer wouldn’t be such a lucrative field to be in. Having twice served in a capacity which might have seen me ordered to carry out actions similar to those of the GS on Sunday I have a particular take on the balance between lawful orders & immoral ones (especially as I’m also a student of history with a particular interest in Nazi Germany & South Africa, both countries with a very strong rule of law). I’m very glad never to have faced making the decision whether or not to comply with a lawful yet immoral order & hope I never do.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. It’s a worthwhile point to make that people complained bitterly about the EU interference in all our laws. In fact it interfered in very few. Law and order, constitutional affairs are but two areas in which the EU had no involvement.

                      Thanks for the clarifications, Terry. I’ve read your piece and will comment later.

                      Liked by 1 person

              2. Your complaint is about democratic accountability but then point out the political leanings of politicians elected to the European Parliament. I don’t like what the Tories are doing in Westminster but I do recognise that they won more seats than any other party in a democratic election. The electorate granted them the power to govern for a term of office. I don’t like it that the SVP won more than 20% of the votes in Switzerland yet it remains a democracy, no matter how much I loathe their policies. If the electorate don’t like what Verhofstadt/May/Merkel is doing then it’s the job of the electorate to vote them out. That’s how democracy works.

                Liked by 1 person

          2. That’s quite a list you have there! Please indulge my lengthy post and for hijacking this excellent blog.

            “Then there’s Ireland who was forced to effectively pay for the German Landesbanks greed/incompetence – pay up or else”

            Banking debt and its collection had nothing to do with the EU. Iceland just let their banks go bankrupt. Ireland could have done the same but opted to borrow to bail out the banks and then to recoup that money from taxpayers. If you want to blame someone then blame the Irish government for allowing a debt bubble to accumulate and then passing the bill on to the electorate. The EU had no role here at all. There is, of course, an argument that the single market made it easier for Irish consumers and business to access debt. Can we blame the EU if Irish businesses and German banks and Irish politicians made poor decisions? Besides, the Irish have little appetite to leave the EU, as I’m sure you know.

            “Then there’s Serbia/FYR/Kosovo – EU meddled in internal matters there, as they did in Ukraine.”

            That is quite vague. What did they do here that you didn’t like? Genuine question. Countries have foreign interests. Germany has foreign interests, France has foreign interests, an independent Scotland would have foreign interests. The EU’s foreign policy is the limited sub-set of foreign policy that can be agreed across its members. It forms a subset of all European foreign policy because individual members can still pursue foreign policy on their own if they can’t build consensus at the EU. The EU, of course, funded a lot of development in the Balkans. The do the same in the Ukraine. There are also all sorts of cooperation and trade agreements between the EU and the European nations near its border. It’s in the interest of member nations that their neighbours are peaceful and prosperous so this is inevitable. I don’t think development projects and cooperation agreements is what you mean by meddling so a few more details about what you do mean would be helpful. Maybe I’ll agree with your point but right now I can’t take any position at all.

            “The EU isn’t interested in democracy or the rule of law & has proven that’s the case again & again over the last 20+years.”

            Sorry again for being confrontational but that is another bizarre statement. Europe is one of the most democratic regions in the world. We are all lucky to live where we do. The EU is governed by heads of government (democratically elected) and the European Parliament (democratically elected). Nothing is done without a body of democratically elected representatives reaching agreement. Literally nothing. The UK used to be a key driver of EU policy. In this regard, they will miss us when we leave as much as we will miss them. Perhaps you think the European Commission is full of unelected bureaucrats? Well, of course it is. I don’t want to elect administrators. Do you? Doing so would rather undermine the separation of policy approval and policy implementation that is the hallmark of functioning democracy. If you could name just one undemocratic action of the EU I’m all ears.

            Of course, there is an issue that EU elections have poor turnouts in many countries. Who do we blame for that? That is a question with a complicated answer. Media still focuses almost exclusively on national elections and national governments. In the UK the EU is only mentioned in a negative light. Is MSM to blame? How hard is it really to walk to the polling station? Are the electorate to blame? The EU could do more raising awareness of its institutions and its functions. Is the EU to blame? I don’t know, maybe a bit of each but to say that “The EU isn’t interested in democracy and the rule of law…” is objectively false.

            “Nor does it take account of the (failed) referendums on the Lisbon (& others) treaty.”

            The Lisbon treaties were painful for the EU. Yes, the EU iterated on the detail over many years. In some cases it was impossible to find agreement across member states after they were put to referendum (France, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark) Isn’t that a positive? After all, nobody was forced to do anything they didn’t want. It sounds quite democratic to me. I honestly don’t see a moral problem with democracy or accountability. There is an argument that the European Commission should have thought more in advance about what could be agreed and avoided some of that pain. That sounds like a hard problem but we’re arguing about detail now rather than principle.

            Finding agreement among 28 nations is always going to be hard. The alternative is not to bother finding agreement at all by either a) imposition or b) giving up altogether. The EU sounds like the least worst answer. It is literally an imperfect institution like all institutions. I’m not a believer in anarchy (in the true political sense of the 19th century French radicals) so I need to accept the trade-offs on offer.

            If I was to make a criticism here it’s that some nations hold a referendum on treaty change, while others don’t and make decisions on the electorate’s behalf based on their democratic mandate. That is a question solely for national governments – they will only agree to a common democratic process if they all agree to it. There is, of course, nothing to stop any nation forcing a referendum on EU treaty change. In fact, the UK did exactly that with the 2011 European Union Act.

            “Wrong answer. Do it again until you get the right answer”.

            That absolutely is not what happened. The EU does not repeat referendums until they “get the right answer”. The Constitutional Treaty, for example, failed after referendums in France and the Netherlands were lost. The EU simply abandoned the idea. Moreover, Denmark and Sweden rejected the Euro by referendum and have not adopted it. You’re probably referring to Ireland rejecting either the Nice Treaty or the Lisbon Treaty. In both cases a revised treaty was put to the Irish people. For example, the Lisbon Treaty was modified to guarantee that Irish policies on tax, abortion and military neutrality would not be affected by Ireland ratifying the treaty. Yes, there was a 2nd referendum but the EU were forced to iterate on their offer to secure Irish support. It is a protracted process. It is also complicated. It is also democratic. Ireland could have rejected the 2nd offer too, you know.

            Liked by 4 people

            1. Thanks, Terry.

              That was very comprehensive, and as I suspected, very much more knowledgeable and authoritative than anything I could have written.

              Something that struck me as I read it was that, somewhere (elsewhere, probably on your own blog) you made a comparison of sorts between the USA and the EU… the USA having a real “government” at federal or central level, able (under normal circumstances) to make decisions on behalf of 50 states… while the EU does not. Individual states do things their own way.

              When you were talking there about the fact that different EU states have different arrangements for decision make (ie some have referenda on EU treaties, others depend on parliamentary decisions), it occurred to me that in the USA not every state uses the exact same system for voting on Federal matters including the election of the president. And indeed, even in the UK different countries have different voting systems and parliaments have different powers and responsibilities, although not for “federal” matters.

              The more a system reflects the wishes of the people of THAT particular state, or even province/region, the better.

              Once again thank you for taking the time to help me out here.

              Much appreciated.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I didn’t know that about the USA. I always thought it was more unified.

                The EU is a a messy construction, as is the UK. And now I learn that the US is, too. Bits and bobs cobbled together in odd ways. When I watched the video on Iberian history it became quickly that it was bit of a mess as well. It’s probably inevitable that the whole world is a messy construction of relationships and laws. We’ve very quickly shrunk the effective size of the planet but we also have all this unique and incredible history that acts as a kind of inertia against change. The consequence is workarounds and international hackery.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Well, yes. Our man in America, Danny, has been educating me in the way they do things.

                  But, you know, it seems to me quite right that people should do things differently in different states if that is what suits them, their culture, climate, topography, geography, religion, etc etc…

                  Lord knows they’d complain loud enough if the EU actually had to power to tell us that … for example… a completely unelected house of churchmen, placemen and aristocrats was not acceptable, or that the recent changes to the way that parliament in London is run is anti-democratic, or indeed that paying a party out of state funds to be your partner in a coalition of sorts is not permissible.

                  Liked by 2 people

            2. Terry,

              I didn’t even know I agreed with that until I read it! It is ‘interesting’ that, as Tris shows below, that a fair number of EU states appear to think that Madrid has acted badly. Though, sadly, none of the major players. Any thoughts on that?

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I don’t have any profound thoughts or anything like that. I can only really say that some national governments have a different outlook than others. That might be due to domestic policy (not wanting to inflame a secession movement on their own doorstep) or it might be due to all sorts of commercial interests in the region or it might be a small nation with a powerful feeling of empathy or it might be a nation with a history of empire and lengthy battles to keep a grip on it.

                It is definitely true that most developed nations have a foreign policy that promotes the status quo of national boundaries. There are all sorts of reasons for that but I would guess the simplest is that stability is good for trade. National governments develop relationships with other national governments, diplomatic channels develop over time, mutual interests become understood and intertwined. With all of that going on, it’s not surprising that very few governments will come out in favour of a separatist movement. There is a lot of risk for everyone when that happens. Is it in the interest of Irish citizens, say, if Catalonia achieves independence? That might have all sorts of negative consequences for Irish business, for Irish diplomacy, for Irish foreign interests etc. I can easily imagine the pressures on governments to favour the status quo because to encourage change is politically dangerous if it all goes wrong. Against all that inertia, the people need to speak out.

                Small nations such as Iceland and Belgium and the Scottish government have all made much more positive noises about Catalonia. They all have in common a history of secession. Cynically, I might even argue they all have an interest in promoting other small nations. On the other hand, countries of empire like Spain and the UK seem historically bound to a rejection of secession movements.

                I’m winging it now but I feel like making a bold statement: I guess it all comes down to self-interest.

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  3. https://www.vilaweb.cat/noticies/belgium-slovenia-finland-lithuania-hungary-norway-ireland-and-the-czech-republic-denounce-crackdown-on-catalonia/

    You can add Scotland to that, although our comments have to be only semi-official as we aren’t considered big enough to have opinions on foreign affairs yet. (Given that we have to depend on the buffoon Boris for that, it’s hardly likely to ever happen. Jackboots on the ground may be just his cup of tea.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll need to copy & paste my comment onto your site as well, Terry, because it is equally pertinent there. As is your reply 😉

        There are a lot of blogs I read on a nearly daily basis but only a very few I bother even reading the comments on because of the nature of some of the commentators. Even when the blogger is a decent sort.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. On behalf of our readers, Hugh, thank you for that kind comment.

          We try to keep it friendly. Munguin is a non-confrontational animal.

          I haven’t a clue what the size of the readership is, but the number of commentators is quite small. Let’s say “select”!

          It’s all rather light-hearted most of the time… just the way I want it to be. I’m not trying to compete with Wings or SGP.

          I kinda think of the commentators as mates. It’s like going down the pub without the pub!

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, there are over 2000 people that appear to agree!

        Friendly place where, IIRC, I learnt more about pre-grouping Railways in Scotland from a very nice Indonesian than you could shake a stick at! Where my occasional rants – I’m working on it – are brushed under the carpet.

        Best wee pro independence site on t’internet. Though there are more intellectual, though less polyglot sites!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. LOL We don;t pretend to be intellectual.

          I think many of us have enough of that at work.

          It’s all supposed to be a bit light hearted and jokey.

          Most of the polyglot stuff is down to our Ed, who appears to speak more languages than Munguin has bottles of Bollinger!

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            1. Yep, there’s some pretty bright, perceptive, people who comment here.

              We are very grateful for their comments.

              It’s amazing how sometimes a few photographs can inspire such a lot of interesting comment.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree, Hugh. It would be a boring old place if we all agreed, all the time. It’s good to be able to disagree amicably, in the knowledge that there is a good deal more that we do agree on.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Catalan parliament suspended, military started moving into place yesterday. King denounces Catalans as “disloyal”.

    I await the EU’s response but we all know what it’ll be – bugger all. We all also know what Spain is going to do because we saw the start of it on Sunday.

    I’m with Craig Murray, the EU isn’t something I wish to be part of anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Individual countries are piling on pressure.

      It seems that the Spanish king is a chip off the block of his father’s mentor.

      Why in the 21st century do we have kings?

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    2. I am sort of curious as to what actions would make you reconsider your view on EU membership. What would the EU have to do? What could it conceivably do to guarantee the outcome you want? What would happen if the powers required to make that happen were considered undemocratic or over-arching? What if those powers allowed the EU to make poor judgements with impunity on other issues even more pressing?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Vestas,

    “Belgium, Slovenia, Finland, Lithuania, Hungary, Norway, Ireland and the Czech Republic denounce crackdown on Catalonia”

    I know, I know Finland and Norway are not in the EU. But at least six countries that are in the EU has condemned the actions of Madrid. Do you agree with their protests? Would adding our voice to their protests not be more useful than the UK’s bullshit response? Y’know, as an independent country within the EU?

    It was not so long ago that the UK was going warlike over Gibraltar when Spain wanted to reclaim it as part of a settlement of Brexit. Are you even sure that that is off the agenda, given the willingness of Madrid to act against it’s own citizens and not the spivs paradise that is Gibraltar? Though, of course, attacking another EU member is verboten. Didn’t stop the threats though, did it?

    The Madrid agenda sounds more like a unified Iberia as days go bye. If I was Portuguese I would be voting for increased military expenditure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spain isn’t making threats. Its going to carry them out and both the EU and UN will look the other way. Watch & see if I’m wrong.

      Once you’ve seen what Spain WILL get away with then consider Scotland/England. If Spain gets catre blanche to put down the “seperatists” then so will England.

      Watch and see. Then grow up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am pretty ‘grown up’.

        You are making assumptions, probably based on the UK / NI fracas. There is now a caucus in the EU that has condemned Madrid’s actions. Not enough, yet, obviously. However I am a tad astonished that, say Denmark, the rest of the ex-Yugoslavia and others will not stand up against this. You do get the point about the ex-Yugoslavia? Latvia and Estonia too, possibly. The point being that some of these countries, who are now EU members got there through independence.

        All of these countries, and the others listed are also UN members. So Spain may end up isolated.

        I note that the putative annexation of Gibraltar by Spain passed you by.

        These are early days.

        If you end up being right, that Madrid can act with impunity against Catalonia, at that stage, you may have a point. As it stands right now, I think you and Craig Murray are folk that think that they can predict the future more accurately as a couple of Casandra’s rather than analysts.

        Not everyone is thurled to current, or very recently, past, national boundaries.

        Just assuming Madrid victory is, frankly, a Tarot card maneuver. You are making a prediction based on either fear or wishful thinking. Or the way that you think you see the Tarot Cards fall. None of that is particularly convincing.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Well… let’s see.

          As Terry has pointed out there isn;t terribly much that the EU can do, and when it does do something it is necessarily done slowly, because it doesn’t (rightly) have the power do do stuff of its own accord.

          The heads of government /state have to agree action before the EU can speak.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Oops!

        I am pretty sure I checked, but, obviously I didn’t check enough 😦

        Anyway, it makes the caucus larger. It will be interesting to see how many other EU nations condemn Spain’s actions. And EFTA nations like Norway.

        There are, democracies, and then there are democracies.

        The first sort of democracy believes that there purpose is to stand up for human rights, joins, for instance the ECJ and embraces it, the second sort of democracy is not a democracy at all.

        Just saying.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Terry,

          No worries. It is probably good for my gigantic brain, somewhat more filled with cotton wool than Munguins’, to be corrected every millennia or so.

          Re-booting.

          🙂

          Liked by 2 people

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