Guardian prints any old bollocks about Catalonia

There’s a terrible piece by James Sturcke in the Guardian today on the statute of autonomy. It repeats various stale myths about Barça having been a focus of anti-Francoism (links: debunking of football results, piece on recently demonstrated connections between the Barça board and the Spanish ultra-right) and gets its statute facts badly wrong. Some corrections:

  • “Once the Champions League euphoria died down, Catalans returned to the other issue that has dominated the local media recently – the June 18 referendum.” There is an almost complete lack of public interest here in the statute. The burning issue recently has been Eastern European armed robbers.
  • “Catalonia, in common with Spain’s 16 other regions, or “comunidades autónomas”, has its relationship with the central government in Madrid laid down by an “estatuto de autonomía” (“estatut d’autonomia” in Catalan). Each region negotiated its own deal after Franco’s death in 1975.” There are actually 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities, well, not exactly: Navarre, for example, is a comunidad foral with a régimen foralforal translating as something along the lines of “local”–which maintained this status throughout the dictatorship and renegotiated it in 1982. This may seem insignificant, but this kind of stuff is crucial to understand the differential tensions tearing Spain apart.
  • “Further concessions on devolution [were] strongly resisted by the conservative Popular party (PP) government of José María Aznar.” Er, not exactly: Aznar governed from 1996 with the support of the regional nationalists in return for, amongst others, the devolution of 30% of income tax revenues to the regions.
  • “Two months later, the draft document was passed by the Spanish parliament, the Cortes, by 197-146 votes. Since then, however, there have been many changes to the document’s wording…” Rubbish. It was accepted for discussion and passed to the constitutional committee. The Cortes didn’t approve the revised version until May.
  • “It enshrines certain rights and responsibilities as well as improving the official recognition of the Catalan language – banned for 40 years under Franco” Catalan wasn’t banned. It was removed from public administration.
  • “Catalonia will not be a called a nation, except in the document‘s preamble.” It’s not called a nation in the preamble, which collages gibberishly and thusly: “The Parliament of Catalonia, assuming [recogiendo] the feelings and will of the citizens of Catalonia, defined Catalonia as a nation by an ample majority. The Spanish Constitution in its second article recognises the national reality of Catalonia as a nationality.”
  • “The ERC also pulled out of the Catalan government coalition with the PSC, forcing the dissolution of the regional assembly.” Rubbish. ERC was kicked out of the coalition and the assembly is still in place.

That’s what you get when you reassign your principal bus photographer to foreign service for the afternoon.

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