Secession—it’s all the rage

By Wufnik

Scholars & Rogues

If Barack Obama wins a second term in the White House, Frank Rich has suggested, the Right is going to go absolutely nuts. I suspect Rich is correct—we haven’t seen anything like the rage that will consume the Right, who have up to now convinced themselves that the polls are skewed or something. There will considerable denial, and then another lurch to the right. Larison has this spot on as well, as do any other number of commentators. As a result, we can expect secession fever to ratchet up. We’ve gone over this a number of times on this blog—S&R have provided a number of postson the fact that while we might regard it as desirable that a bunch of the country wants to leave to start their own Baptist Republic, the problem is they just can’t afford to go it alone—they rely too much on a federal gravy train. So we’re probably struck with them for the time being.

Misery loves company, however. The US South is not the only place in the world these days contemplating Secession. In fact, it’s probably not even the most vocal about it either.

For example, in Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region of Spain, the regional parliament recently held a referendum on whether to secede from Spain. The vote won’t be actually held until November 2012, but an opinion poll in June found that 51% of those surveyed favored complete independence. Catalonia has a long history of trying to break away from Spain, although they have never carried it as far as the multi-decade bombing campaign employed by the Basques. The argument now comes down to economics—Catalans complain that they pay more to the Spanish government in taxes than they get back. Wow. I wonder if that concept has legs. Everyone for the moment is ignoring the fact that any move towards secession would apparently violate the Spanish constitution. There are lots of arguments in favor of and opposed to the concept, as one might expect. But it’s important—Catalonia is Spain’s most economically successful province and accounts for nearly 20% of Spain’s GDP. Good times ahead in Spain, then. The Basques are doing a good job of hiding their bemusement. In Basque Country, the pro-independence Basque National Party recently won the most seats in regional elections, and will form a coalition government with other separatist parties. A victory by separatist Catalonian parties on November 25th would probably accelerate demands from the Basque National Party for more Basque independence as well.

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