Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Not depending on Labour

There are always dangers in ‘reading across’ from one situation to another; all countries have their own political traditions and experiences and those shape events and attitudes.  With that caveat, there are also similarities and parallels at times.
The PSOE in Spain occupies a similar part of the political spectrum as does the British Labour Party, and the two parties are part of the same grouping in the European Parliament.  The response of the PSOE to the situation in Catalunya has been to give its full support to the conservative government in its response to the referendum and any declaration of independence.  It argues for that position on the basis of upholding the Spanish constitution, and it is as absolutely committed to the unity of the Spanish state as the conservative government.
It isn’t a question of ‘left’ vs ‘right’, although historically the ‘left’ and the independentistas in Catalunya found themselves on the same side during the Civil War.  With the benefit of hindsight, and looking at the stance of the ‘left’ today, that almost seems to be more by accident than by design; having a common enemy to fight against doesn’t mean agreement on what should follow the defeat of that enemy. 
Although the Catalan government is led by a broadly ‘centrist’ party, the more centrist independentistas in Catalunya were pushed into holding the referendum by the more ‘left-wing’ parties in the coalition there, but PSOE nevertheless prefer to side with the PP (Conservative) government rather than support a more leftist vision for Catalunya, even though many would argue that the PP are, effectively, the heirs to Franco.  Preferring to work with the central political ‘right’ rather than the independentista political ‘left’ is a clear echo of the Labour Party’s position on Scotland and Wales.
Fortunately for Catalunya, the independentistas, whatever their political perspective, have long ago given up any hope that the Spanish ‘left’ will aid or support them, and have instead depended on a range of parties promoting the Catalan viewpoint, from a range of positions on the political spectrum.  There are clear lessons there for those independentistas in Wales who still harbour the illusion that the Welsh branch of the British Labour Party can somehow be nudged or cajoled into supporting the aspirations of those who seek independence.  When push comes to shove, they will always show their true colours as we have clearly seen time and again in Scotland; spending time trying to cosy up to and influence a British party (which is what the strategy of some seems to be) is a diversion from the real job of winning the hearts and minds of Welsh voters.
* I generally try and avoid terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’; they’re far too simplistic and general to be meaningful in many contexts.  I think, however, that the generalizations make at least some sense in this specific context.


Gwyn Jones said...

So what's new? We are stuck with a gang of true blue socialists in Wales also.


Anonymous said...

The language issue in Wales prevents the vast majority of hearts and minds in Wales from supporting even the most tentative steps towards independence.

Let's see how Royston Jones and his cohorts fair circumnavigating this issue on 4th November. I suspect we might all learn quite a lot!


John Dixon said...

I don't agree that the language issue "prevents the vast majority of hearts and minds in Wales from supporting even the most tentative steps towards independence", but what I would agree with is that the perception of Plaid as predominantly a party for Welsh speakers deters people from voting for that party. That's an entirely different question, especially given Plaid's own reluctance to argue for independence anyway.