Consider all sides in the Catalonia dispute | Letters

Nick Inman calls for a wider debate on Catalan independence and Nick Williams argues against separatism

Can we all please stop referring to the two sides in the dispute over how Catalonia is governed. It’s not Barcelona v Madrid. There are at least four sides to this. The separatists may seem to be pitted against Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, but that is a reduction of the truth that former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his allies want the world to believe in. Most Catalans who voted against independence-seeking parties are not to be conflated with the Madrid government: they deserve to be treated as a “side” in the dispute.

And there is a fourth side: the Spanish people who do not support the Rajoy government, except in his resolve to uphold the democratic, federal, legal constitution. The only way out of the impasse is for the interests of the two “invisible” sides to be heard, but that spoils a good story. Oversimplification always plays into the hands of extremists and populists.
Nick Inman
Larreule, France

• Alex Orr (Letters 23, December) should stop seeing the world through his Scottish separatism. In the Catalonia elections those favouring union with Spain won a small but significant majority of the votes, as did those Scots voting for the union in the Scottish independence referendum. Only the defects of the Catalan electoral system allowed pro-separatist parties to gain a small majority of the seats. A result for further political conflict, but hardly an argument for independence, and certainly an argument for a reformed Spanish constitution on more federal lines. We need fewer borders in the world, not more, and less identity-based politics.
Nick Williams
Auchenblae, Aberdeenshire

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