Misc 03/05/2016

Salmond advises Catalan government to persevere with referendum request

2 min
Alex Salmond en un moment de l’entrevista amb l’ACN al Parlament de Westminster.

Barcelona“You have to avoid discouragement” and “be persistent” is the advice given to Catalan separatists by the current SNP leader in Westminster and Scotland’s former First Minister, Alex Salmond, in an interview for CNA (Catalan News Agency). Still, the Scottish nationalist leader does not endorse the road map devised by Catalonia’s pro-independence parties (Junts pel Sí and the CUP), which envisions an independence declaration in fifteen months followed by constituent elections, and instead advises them to persevere on the path of a referendum consented by Madrid, even though the current Spanish government and most MPs in Madrid will have none of it.

Salmond argues that “Madrid may decide that threatening, bullying behaviour is the right way forward, but if Catalan aspirations are real and substantial, at the end of the day there will have to be a process found by which way they can be expressed”, and he claims that “if a consented process can be achieved, then it’s much to be preferred from any other option.”

In fact, the former First Minister categorically denies the notion that London gladly agreed to Scotland’s request of a referendum to begin with. Rather, he states that an agreement of that nature “is not achieved overnight” but “requires several tries, it is hard-going and might mean decades of frustration”. Nevertheless, once that consented process is agreed, “the process is much more worthwhile” because “everybody has to abide by it, everybody has to accept that it has legitimacy and not try to put obstacles on its way”.

Salmond —who is campaigning to help the SNP stay in office after the Thursday vote in Scotland— claims that you cannot “give up” on a possible agreement because of “the attitude of the previous executive” in Madrid, led by the Partido Popular, with an election coming up. He was even emphatic when he warned that “the right way to declare independence in the modern world is not by unilateral declarations”, but by pushing for a consented process.