The need to give a democratic response to the political aspirations of Catalonia has centred the first act organised by the All-party parliamentary group on Catalonia, created last March in Westminster. “Catalans should be able to decide their future, like the Scots did”, has said Geoff Cowling, former British Consul in Barcelona, and one of the speakers of the act named ‘A democratic solution for Catalonia’. “Differences are not solved by means of the law, it is not democratic”, has asseverated George Kerevan MP (SNP), the promoter of this group, who has lamented the persecution and disqualification of elected representatives carried out by the Spanish judiciary system.
“There is only one democratic solution for Catalonia, which is allow citizens to vote”, has stated Kerevan, and he has noted that “in Europe, things are decided speaking, debating and voting”. “Getting away from this path is dangerous”, he has warned, asking the Madrid government to “reflect” on the use of courts of justice and opposition to dialogue. The SNP MP has also referred to the disqualification of Francesc Homs for allowing the 9th of November consultation. “An elected representative has been dismissed because of a political motivation; this is unthinkable in the UK”, he has lamented.
Kerevan has also explained to the Catalan News Agency his visit to Catalonia two weeks ago, here he met Carme Forcadell, Chairwoman of the Catalan Parliament. “By visiting Barcelona I realised that Catalans want to decide and it is a honour to be able to explain this feeling to my British colleagues”.
A total of eight speakers have participated in the act, organised jointly by the Catalan National Assembly – England and the All-party parliamentary group on Catalonia, which includes over twenty representatives from the Chambers of Commons and Lords from the main British political parties. Between them the Plaid Cymru MP, Hywel Williams, who has showed his sympathy for the Catalan case, specially for what concerns the defence of the language, but also being a proponent of the right to self-determination. “It is a democratic right”, he has explained, adding that “it does not belong to other countries to establish which should be the terms of a negotiations nor who are the authorised leaders” to reach an agreement. “It corresponds to the Catalan people to decide their political future”, he has stated.
The former British consul in Barcelona (2002-2005), Geoff Cowling, has also referred to the “rigid Spanish Constitution”, which “refuses to allow a democratic solution for Catalonia”. In this sense, he has compared the situation to that in the UK, which has no written constitutional document. However, “there is a legislation” but also “the will to change it if need be”. “Sometimes answering to the political reality is more important than following past legislation”, he has added.
During the debate, which has been followed by over 150 people, the role of the EU and the international organisms in giving a legitimacy to the Catalan process and support an eventual independence has also been debated. In this sense, Cowley has predicted that pro-independence aspiration “might receive the support of parties but not countries”, since states “will prioritise their relationship with Spain and their role as an EU, UN and NATO member before supporting an independent Catalonia”.
The head of politics of the Daily Mirror, Jason Beattie, has explained the perception of the Catalan process that have the main international media, specially the British ones, which goes further than the interest that have generated the latest demonstration on the Catalan National Day of the last years.
The professor of socio-linguistics Michael Strubell and the spokesperson for the international ANC Committee, Montse Daban, have also been within the speakers.