Guest post by Peter Tchir.
But Quebec Isn’t a Country? Exactly.
The Catalonian elections are interesting and shouldn’t surprise anyone. In stressful economic times people look for alternatives. They want someone to blame (“the other guy”) and like to be told how great they themselves are. If that wasn’t the case, it is unlikely that an angry megalomaniac with a toothbrush moustache would ever have ruled Germany.
At this stage, the elections and referendum movement remind me a lot of Quebec in Canada. Economic decline coupled with an identity lead to the belief that separation was a good way to go. For many of us outside of Spain it is hard to realize how long Catalonians have held a belief that they are different. I remember back in the 1980’s being corrected by a soccer player when I said he was Spanish, and he replied, with a bit of anger, that no, he was Catalonian.
If you didn’t know, Catalonia, is the biggest province in Spain in terms of Economy. Barcelona is the capital, and the Catalonian economy is the same size as Portugal’s. So far so good, but Catalonia is locked out from the ordinary financial markets, and is struggling to finance it’s debt. Of course, they have some great tactics in how to fix the problem. They will ask for help from the government, and from the local “citizens”. That sounds all great, they will impose more austerity in a country where unemployment is running at 22.5%, and counting. Meanwhile, the properties are valued at “fantasy” levels, and would create black holes in the balance sheets of banks, if values somewhat realistic. Spain is up for more pain. Video with the president of Catalonia below.