Matinum

Taking Charge of Your Health


I met Clara Ponsati once. The circumstances
were really cloak and dagger. It was last November when I went to Brussels to film Carles
Puigdemont. He was in hiding. He was in exile, and we had to go to a hotel in central Brussels
and we got an app downloaded that gave us a secret location and we went there to make
the secret interview, and Clara Ponsati was one of the ministers that Carles Puigdemont
had with him that day. Now, the interview went very well. It was the first English language
interview that Carles Puigdemont had delivered and he came across as an intelligent, passionate,
committed human being. Much, much better than in the translated interviews that Sky and
the BBC had contrived to do. So the interview was a success but I was interested in meeting
Clara Ponsati because she was an academic at St Andrews university. She obviously wasn’t
a conventional politician. She had been called in as an expert minister, as Minister of Education.
We spoke about St Andrews, my alma mater, we spoke about Scotland and we spoke about
Catalonia. So therefore, in the news now, are the European arrest warrants; not just
for Clara Ponsati but for many other Catalonia politicians. Carles Puigdemont is now under
arrest in Germany, under the device of a European arrest warrant. The reason that these arrest
warrants are being used, quite disgracefully and not for what they were intended for at
all, they were intended to catch drug smugglers and international criminals, not to arrest
democratic politicians, is of course the muted, the guilty silence reaction of Europe back
in October when the Spanish state police banged over the head people and old age pensioners
and others who were just trying to exercise the right of self-determination. The Belgium
Prime Minister, I think the Slovenian Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon the Scottish First
Minister, the opposition leaders spoke out against the violence in Catalonia but the
rest of Europe, by and large, the Governments of Europe held this guilty silence. They didn’t
want to offend or intervene in the internal affairs of another loyal European state. The
politician I saw speak out about it most to his great credit was Roger Gale, who was Acting
President of the Council of Europe, who spoke out in very forceful terms. But most others
kept their own council, and as a result, of course, this has emboldened the Spanish government
into believing they can use other means in which to politically suppress the opposition
in Catalonia. I am not Catalonian, I don’t advise the Catalonian or independence parties,
indeed if I had been I might have advised them on a different course of action in what
were extraordinary and difficult political circumstances. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t
state police violence when you see it in the streets of Barcelona and elsewhere in Catalonia.
It doesn’t meant that you shouldn’t condemn the use of European arrest warrants in this
quite illicit fashion. And just because it is a judicial process, as it is at the present
moment, doesn’t mean that people aren’t able to speak out. I saw my old University of St
Andrews make probably its most political statement since the reformation, in defence of the freedom
of thought of its own academic Clara Ponsati. The Scottish Parliament should be speaking
out. The Scottish people should be speaking out. Obviously you cannot direct a judicial
process, and nobody is claiming that you can, although I think, from a lay person’s point
of view, that Clara Ponsati must have a excellent chance when she gets into Scottish courts,
which are known for their fairness and responsibility. But people in Scotland are not restricted
from speaking out on what is right and what is wrong, and they should speak out, and speak
out loud and clear, because if more people had spoken out across liberal, democratic
Europe last October then we wouldn’t be in this position in March with European arrest
warrants used, quite disgracefully, to silence political opponents.

10 thoughts on “We should all be speaking out about Spain’s treatment of Catalonia

  1. Rubbish thèse people spent millions of euros for opening catalunia's embasys everywhere we have a constitution that doesn't allawed référendums also they have more autogoberment than anywhereelse in Europe something that scotland would like to have so mind your own bussiness

  2. Free Catalonia!!!! Spanish imperialists , let it in peace! Now your dictatorship is hitting this old nation that you never could kill. Shame on you!

  3. Mmmm we should go to make the same question to northern ireland. 😂😂😂😂😂 England, the most cynical country.

  4. If this had happened in a middle Eastern country rich in oil, you can beat European leaders would be publicly condemning the government, the US and UK would probably at some stage plan an invasion or other subversive ways to bring the government down. Those in charge don't care about REAL democracy! I think the EU is a joke for standing by and watching this happen!

  5. It's crazy, arrest warrants used to imprison people exercising their right as EU citizens to democracy, I'm no expert but I'm sure it is one of the founding principles of the EU

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *