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Devon Malcolm

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6 hours ago, David said:

Because, as I've stated already, none of that really matters to me. I want a more decentralised system where the people who are charged with making the decisions that affect a country are the very people who have been elected to do so.

This in and of itself isn't a terrible position. I'm in favour of decentralisation too. In theory so is the EU (they call it 'subsidiarity'). I always draw the line at outright separatism, whereas you clearly don't. I'd love my town to have its own health policy, my district to make its own social security rules and my county to have full control over education, but there are economies of scale and need for universal standards that mean all those things are decided at higher levels of government instead. 

Given that, I'd actually welcome an EU army. I think matters of 'big politics' like defence, border control and policing are exactly what the EU should've been doing since Maastricht, but rather than doing that it's been stuck regulating mundane stuff like car seats, patio heaters and jugs of olive oil at restaurants, which are the sort of things national governments and local councils ought to be deciding. Member states and the EU need a massive power swap. I don't believe the direction of travel should always be to embolden Brussels and Strasbourg. We were the biggest country to argue that the solution to every problem shouldn't always be 'more Europe', and now we can no longer make that case.

If anyone voted Leave for more democracy, they aren't going to get it. South of the border we now vote for 'police commissioners' for some reason, but we still don't elect the upper house of parliament, the head of state, the Supreme Court or the civil service, and the electoral system for the Commons and our councils is atrocious (the EU Parliament has to be chosen by a form of PR, according to treaties). In Scotland you have it slightly better with semi-proportional voting systems for Holyrood and local authorities, and no PCCs. 

If there's no deal we'll revert to WTO rules. The hardliners say that's all right. It'll crash the economy and the only people who won't suffer will be the Tory toffs and their vulture capitalist mates. When did anyone last get to vote for the WTO though? How is that democratic? Democracy is about the protection of rights, a free press, an independent judiciary and the ability to protest, not just a vote on one day in June 2016, but few members of the voting public seem to understand this. The only remit the WTO has is to promote free trade, whilst the EU has always tried to balance that goal with an attempt to uphold its citizens' rights. 

Realistically the best case scenario is probably that May's deal goes through and we don't harm our own country economically as badly as we might've done. That isn't looking likely at the moment though. If it does happen, we'll still be bound by most EU rules almost indefinitely, but with no Commissioner, no seat at the Council of Ministers and zero rather than 73 MEPs, so we'll have next to no chance to influence how those rules are made. Some 'victory' for Britain that is. 

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32 minutes ago, Fog Dude said:

This in and of itself isn't a terrible position. I'm in favour of decentralisation too. In theory so is the EU (they call it 'subsidiarity'). I always draw the line at outright separatism, whereas you clearly don't. I'd love my town to have its own health policy, my district to make its own social security rules and my county to have full control over education, but there are economies of scale and need for universal standards that mean all those things are decided at higher levels of government instead. 

Ah, see, I'm not a fan of separatism at all. I don't want to see the UK cut off from Europe, I want to see us continue to trade as we have for decades with Europe, but to do so on our own terms (and for other countries within Europe to do the same, it's not a case of me wanting us to call the shots and everyone else has to agree).

The idea behind the EU was fine initially, I mean, who doesn't want to see trade between neighbouring countries made easier, right? The problems start when, as in many situations in life, elderly white men in suits see a way that they can grab more power.

Also, just because I'm in favour of the decentralisation of power doesn't mean I'm looking for it to be implemented to ridiculous levels all the way down to county level. It obviously has to work, and we know that the governing of nations in and of themselves is a concept that works. it worked long before the EU and the bureaucrats arrived on the scene, and it'll work long after the EU finally falls.

My view is that where possible any matter should be decentralised to the benefit of the people.

36 minutes ago, Fog Dude said:

Given that, I'd actually welcome an EU army.

That's where we disagree entirely.

41 minutes ago, Fog Dude said:

If anyone voted Leave for more democracy, they aren't going to get it. South of the border we now vote for 'police commissioners' for some reason, but we still don't elect the upper house of parliament, the head of state, the Supreme Court or the civil service, and the electoral system for the Commons and our councils is atrocious (the EU Parliament has to be chosen by a form of PR, according to treaties). In Scotland you have it slightly better with semi-proportional voting systems for Holyrood and local authorities, and no PCCs. 

I agree that Scotland certainly does seem to have it better, and has a system that could be looked at UK-wide.

45 minutes ago, Fog Dude said:

If there's no deal we'll revert to WTO rules. The hardliners say that's all right. It'll crash the economy and the only people who won't suffer will be the Tory toffs and their vulture capitalist mates.

Doesn't the WTO account for something like 95% of all global trade? Between over 150 member nations? 

I was also under the impression that Under the WTO GATT, tariffs on most manufactured products (cars being one of the main exceptions I believe) between the EU and the UK would average around 3%? I could be wrong, of course.

50 minutes ago, Fog Dude said:

How is that democratic? Democracy is about the protection of rights, a free press, an independent judiciary and the ability to protest, not just a vote on one day in June 2016, but few members of the voting public seem to understand this.

Yes, and these are the rights we should be afforded under our democratically elected government, no? Unless we're just all stupid enough to vote in a party who have plans to remove free press, an independent judiciary, and the ability to protest?

Besides, what exactly did the EU do when Spain sent the army in to batter old folk and women who wanted to vote for independence in Catalonia? Didn't really see much protection offered there to be honest.

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27 minutes ago, David said:

Doesn't the WTO account for something like 95% of all global trade? Between over 150 member nations?

No, WTO members account for it.  That volume of trade isn't under the WTO.  E.g.  We only currently trade with 24 countries under the WTO.  The others are under a treaty or arrangement that supercedes the WTO even if the other party is a WTO member.  34% of the US's exports go to NAFTA members, therefore not under the WTO.

Edited by johnnyboy
Typo

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28 minutes ago, David said:

Ah, see, I'm not a fan of separatism at all. 

The problems start when, as in many situations in life, elderly white men in suits see a way that they can grab more power.

Also, just because I'm in favour of the decentralisation of power doesn't mean I'm looking for it to be implemented to ridiculous levels all the way down to county level. It obviously has to work, and we know that the governing of nations in and of themselves is a concept that works. it worked long before the EU and the bureaucrats arrived on the scene, and it'll work long after the EU finally falls.

My view is that where possible any matter should be decentralised to the benefit of the people.

I agree that Scotland certainly does seem to have it better, and has a system that could be looked at UK-wide.

Doesn't the WTO account for something like 95% of all global trade? Between over 150 member nations? 

Yes, and these are the rights we should be afforded under our democratically elected government, no? Unless we're just all stupid enough to vote in a party who have plans to remove free press, an independent judiciary, and the ability to protest?

Besides, what exactly did the EU do when Spain sent the army in to batter old folk and women who wanted to vote for independence in Catalonia? Didn't really see much protection offered there to be honest.

Thanks for the response.

A lot of elderly white men in suits seem pretty damn ecstatic at the opportunities afforded to them at present by the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. A lot of more casually dressed elderly white men also appear pleased by it and strangely still angry at the same time. They are less likely to profit from the fallout of all this.

There have always been "bureaucrats on the scene". Much of the extra paperwork people complain about is a domestic decision. The state can't function at any layer without a civil service. The EU is not going to fall. There has to be a political expression of the continent of Europe on the world stage and it's the best chance we've got. We're not about to establish another from the ground up. 

It's written into EU law that "where possible any matter should be decentralised" although admittedly they sometimes have trouble putting that into practice.

At least we agree on something. I'd love Holyrood's electoral system for one of the chambers at Westminster, and the preferential vote for local councils in England and Wales. Here in Somerset the 3 European elections at which I've voted have been my only experience of PR.

The point about the WTO has already been answered better than I could have. We have a much greater democratic deficit with the WTO (and NATO and the Commonwealth and the UN and every other international organisation we belong to) than we have ever had with the EU. 

Those rights are better protected under European law (both EU and the Council of Europe's ECHR, although most people miss that distinction) than they ever have been under British domestic law. I think the Conservatives would quite like to curb all those freedoms if they thought they would get away with it. Holding a plurality of the seats in the lower house elected by the first-past-the-post system hardly constitutes a 'democratically elected government' anyhow. 

So you're against separatism but back the secessionist nonsense in Catalonia? Obviously the police brutality was wrong, but the whole independence project there is insane. You realise Brexit is an act of separatism, right? The purpose of an EU army (which doesn't exist yet, so it could hardly have stepped in 14 months ago) but be to protect us from external threats, to help out when invited in times of natural disaster and to support peacekeeping missions outside Europe, not to sort out the internal divisions of a member state.

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6 hours ago, IANdrewDiceClay said:

Some decent discussion on Loose Women this afternoon.

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I bet you Mr. Blobby talks a bit more sense about Brexit than Boris Johnson, Kate Hoey & Sammy Wilson combined.

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I believe Mr Blobby blamed EU regulations for the premature closure of theCrinkly Bottom theme park and partly due to it being too much of a rival to Disneyland Paris, and having been to both, I understand why those politicians were so scared.  

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5 hours ago, Fog Dude said:

So you're against separatism but back the secessionist nonsense in Catalonia? Obviously the police brutality was wrong, but the whole independence project there is insane. You realise Brexit is an act of separatism, right? The purpose of an EU army (which doesn't exist yet, so it could hardly have stepped in 14 months ago) but be to protect us from external threats, to help out when invited in times of natural disaster and to support peacekeeping missions outside Europe, not to sort out the internal divisions of a member state.

I appreciate the rest of your post, but have to disagree with this. Catalonia wanting to secede isn't nonsense when you take into account its history as a part of Spain - same with the Basque Country, and, to a lesser degree, Galicia too. Those regions have historically suffered at the hands of the Castilian-run Spanish government, especially under that piece of shit Franco (about whom, BTW, the oh-so-democratic West never did anything about, allowing that cunt to stay in power until he died), so it's understandable there are a lot of grievances against it. To be honest, given your level of knowledge, I'm a little surprised that this doesn't factor into your argument.

Prior to the Brexit referendum, you might have been able to argue that secession is nonsensical when unity is preferable, but Scotland's example provides a strong argument for why a region with a cultural and political identity of its own, especially one that diverges drastically from that of the rest of the "home nation", might want to seek self-determination. Looking at Catalonia's situation, it looks more likely they'd want to be part of the EU, but they want to do so on their terms, like Scotland did.

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6 hours ago, Carbomb said:

I appreciate the rest of your post, but have to disagree with this. Catalonia wanting to secede isn't nonsense when you take into account its history as a part of Spain - same with the Basque Country, and, to a lesser degree, Galicia too. Those regions have historically suffered at the hands of the Castilian-run Spanish government, especially under that piece of shit Franco (about whom, BTW, the oh-so-democratic West never did anything about, allowing that cunt to stay in power until he died), so it's understandable there are a lot of grievances against it. To be honest, given your level of knowledge, I'm a little surprised that this doesn't factor into your argument.

Prior to the Brexit referendum, you might have been able to argue that secession is nonsensical when unity is preferable, but Scotland's example provides a strong argument for why a region with a cultural and political identity of its own, especially one that diverges drastically from that of the rest of the "home nation", might want to seek self-determination. Looking at Catalonia's situation, it looks more likely they'd want to be part of the EU, but they want to do so on their terms, like Scotland did.

Thank you. It's possible to understand cultural and linguistic differences inside sovereign states without tipping over into full-on separatism, such as respecting the separate legal and education systems and distinct Protestant Church (Presbyterian rather than Anglican) in Scotland. I did spend a lot of time studying in North Wales too, you know, and have always been able to get a decent S4C signal and can see Flatholm on a clear day.

It's therefore equally possible to respect the three 'historical nationality' identities you mentioned without wanting to Balkanise the Iberian peninsula. Franco himself was Galician (as was Mariano Rajoy), and you're right that he was also a cunt. I know Galicia like the back of my hand and can tell you that the centre-right sadly represents as much of a legitimate local outlook on the world as the BNG do, and is more popular than secessionist options out in the countryside. FC Barcelona milk the 'holier than thou' image as the expression of an oppressed minority (that haven't been opressed since the mid-1970s) for all it was worth but wouldn't actually want to lose their guaranteed two annual Clásico fixtures in favour of a Catalan league when push comes to shove. The founder of the EAJ-PNV (the sometimes-separatist Basque regional party) was a crazed xenophobic racist whose views you probably wouldn't approve of.

I realise the PP are a bunch of bastards and the PSOE are just as corrupt, so it's sad that separatists assume you approve of all that and align with them just because you don't want to see Spain split into pieces. But he didn't invent Spanish unity in 1936 (it had about 450 years of history before that), it's just that his way of enforcing it was shit and undemocratic. There is already a sovereign state whose only language is Catalan too: Andorra! You know where the last holdout against fascism was in the Civil War? Madrid. 

So¬†that we don't drift too far off topic... until last year, a popular Catalan secessionist slogan was 'Catalunya, nou estat en Europa' (Catalonia, a new state in Europe). Since the attempted referendum and the flight of the former leader, Carles Puigdemont, into exile in Belgium ‚Äď of all places ‚Äď he seems to consider himself a bit of a Julian Assange figure and made noises about not wanting to be part of the EU after all, providing whatever conspiracy theory sites our resident ex-BNP voter David has been reading with their talking points.¬†

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2 hours ago, Fog Dude said:

Thank you. It's possible to understand cultural and linguistic differences inside sovereign states without tipping over into full-on separatism, such as respecting the separate legal and education systems and distinct Protestant Church (Presbyterian rather than Anglican) in Scotland. I did spend a lot of time studying in North Wales too, you know, and have always been able to get a decent S4C signal and can see Flatholm on a clear day.

It's therefore equally possible to respect the three 'historical nationality' identities you mentioned without wanting to Balkanise the Iberian peninsula. Franco himself was Galician (as was Mariano Rajoy), and you're right that he was also a cunt. I know Galicia like the back of my hand and can tell you that the centre-right sadly represents as much of a legitimate local outlook on the world as the BNG do, and is more popular than secessionist options out in the countryside. FC Barcelona milk the 'holier than thou' image as the expression of an oppressed minority (that haven't been opressed since the mid-1970s) for all it was worth but wouldn't actually want to lose their guaranteed two annual Clásico fixtures in favour of a Catalan league when push comes to shove. The founder of the EAJ-PNV (the sometimes-separatist Basque regional party) was a crazed xenophobic racist whose views you probably wouldn't approve of.

I realise the PP are a bunch of bastards and the PSOE are just as corrupt, so it's sad that separatists assume you approve of all that and align with them just because you don't want to see Spain split into pieces. But he didn't invent Spanish unity in 1936 (it had about 450 years of history before that), it's just that his way of enforcing it was shit and undemocratic. There is already a sovereign state whose only language is Catalan too: Andorra! You know where the last holdout against fascism was in the Civil War? Madrid. 

So¬†that we don't drift too far off topic... until last year, a popular Catalan secessionist slogan was 'Catalunya, nou estat en Europa' (Catalonia, a new state in Europe). Since the attempted referendum and the flight of the former leader, Carles Puigdemont, into exile in Belgium ‚Äď of all places ‚Äď he seems to consider himself a bit of a Julian Assange figure and made noises about not wanting to be part of the EU after all, providing whatever conspiracy theory sites our resident ex-BNP voter David has been reading with their talking points.¬†

Thanks for the elucidation. I figured you'd be able to supply a lot more detail, although I didn't realise just how much you knew about Spain, so I apologise for my presumption there. I know about Andorra, and given the size and population of it, not to mention the fact that, for some inexplicable reason, its two heads of state are the French president and Spanish king, I could understand other Catalans not being happy with that being the only Catalan state.

That said, I honestly didn't know they were that right-wing. From your description, they sound closer to the Liga di Norte, with their politics closer to ethnocratic separatism, rather than the more left-wing civic nationalism the SNP appears to espouse.

I still don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with splitting Spain up in itself - not saying they should join the EU, but if they did, this would make it in essence a further federalisation and therefore decentralisation of Europe. Smaller, autonomous blocks should be the way to go, and, to be honest, the Spanish government's reaction to the Catalan referendum to me demonstrates they shouldn't be in charge of Catalonia. If their answer to blunting non-violent separatist sentiment is by sending in the boot boys, they're pretty much violating their social contract with those very people. I'd even go so far as to say it shows they haven't quite yet got Franco out of their system.

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2 minutes ago, Carbomb said:

I still don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with splitting Spain up in itself - not saying they should join the EU, but if they did, this would make it in essence a further federalisation and therefore decentralisation of Europe. 

Yeah, in the unlikely and unfortunate event that Spain does ever fracture into a dozen pieces, I'd prefer the successor states to fall under the protection of the EU as member states than to be left to flounder.

I'll PM you about the rest since it's not really about the EU or Brexit anymore.¬†ūüĎć

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On 11/22/2018 at 8:02 PM, Fog Dude said:

So you're against separatism but back the secessionist nonsense in Catalonia? Obviously the police brutality was wrong, but the whole independence project there is insane. You realise Brexit is an act of separatism, right? The purpose of an EU army (which doesn't exist yet, so it could hardly have stepped in 14 months ago) but be to protect us from external threats, to help out when invited in times of natural disaster and to support peacekeeping missions outside Europe, not to sort out the internal divisions of a member state.

I have no real opinion either way, as I'm neither Spanish nor Catalan, and although 5 years in total here maybe doesn't quite fall under the "knowing it like the back of my hand" criteria, I do know Spain quite a bit and seen the reaction to the situation firsthand.

See, the problem is that people hear the term "separatist" and think that it means breaking away and becoming more insular, which isn't true in most cases. For the most part it's a case of simply wanting more autonomy, the chance to self-govern.

For me, that's the key point. We can argue about effects on the economy, what one group of multi-millionaire business leaders are saying, or what another group of similar people are saying, the prediction of what could happen and all that jazz. I saw and heard it all during the Scottish referendum, from Scotland falling to pieces and being swallowed up by the sea never to be seen again, to some short-term economic storms that would eventually even out.

The funny thing is, many of those who were arguing that the short-term storms were worth weathering in order to gain independence from the Union are the exact same people who are now saying we can't possibly risk those things in leaving the EU. The only real difference? they wanted Scottish independence, but not independence from the EU.

I've said it previously, it comes down to your own personal views and the level of risk and discomfort you're willing to put up with. I'm willing to put up with the discomfort that I'll experience in exchange for taking more controls away from Brussels and putting them back into the hands of our own democratically elected leaders.

That's my own personal viewpoint. Others may disagree, and that's fine. 

One more thing about the "secessionist nonsense..."

"Obviously the police brutality was wrong, but..." is a fantastic way of sweeping that under the carpet as though it's a non-issue. You claim the EU tries to "uphold its citizens rights," yet there was no real fallout from Spain sending in the rubber bullets and batons, was there?

Before we start worrying about the external threats, maybe we should be more concerned with the internal threats?

This was a classic example of Spain showing that although it's now 2018, they have no real qualms about reaching back to the 60's and 70's to show us how you deal with a population that dares to get out of line.

If this were Russia or some Middle-Eastern type who had sanctioned these actions there would have been widespread horror and condemnation, and perhaps even a declaration or two of "liberation."

As it was Spain, not so much.

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The photos above aren't of the police dealing with rabble-rousers or trouble makers, but with ordinary people who wanted to vote. Nothing more.

On 11/22/2018 at 8:02 PM, Fog Dude said:

It's written into EU law that "where possible any matter should be decentralised" although admittedly they sometimes have trouble putting that into practice.

Yeah, just a little bit. We agree on that point at least.

On 11/23/2018 at 11:01 AM, Carbomb said:

If their answer to blunting non-violent separatist sentiment is by sending in the boot boys, they're pretty much violating their social contract with those very people. I'd even go so far as to say it shows they haven't quite yet got Franco out of their system.

Some of the chatter and insults that I've seen hurled at anyone who dares speak Catalan in mainland Spain certainly has a distinct whiff of Francoist Spain about it, especially during the whole independence vote debacle.

"Fog dude" may claim there's been no oppression since the 70's, but I know more than a fair few Barcelona natives who'd disagree, and even more Spanish natives who'd tell you that the oppression of them is more than warranted, as they're simply "biting the hand that feeds them," and "think they're better than the rest of Spain."

"Secessionist nonsense" is a good one though, that'll get me a few free pints in my current local when the Barcelona vs Madrid game is on. The nationalists will love hearing that!

In closing, as this debate is going nowhere really, I'm just glad that the vote went the way it did. I really expected it to go in favour of remain, although I'd have been saddened if it had.

I'm not really all that confident in the current lot to negotiate any kind of "deal" that will satisfy, but at least it's a move in the right direction.

Interesting times ahead.

Edited by David

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Nice to know you frequent bars where people are deluded enough to have fallen hook, line and sinker for Barça propaganda. They don't actually want an independent Catalonia. Appealing to people who do is just part of their marketing ploy (but nowadays their shirts are also worn by hangers-on all over the world who haven't got a clue about all that). They were the one outlet for Catalan identity during the era of Francoism precisely because letting off steam at the football every weekend was seen as harmless instead of expressing that identity at work and in the streets. Bread and circuses, see?

When the SNP took power in Scotland there were 8 fire brigades and 8 police forces in Scotland. Now there's one of each. One of the first things they did in office was enforce a council tax freeze (which was obviously popular, but definitely an example of centralisation). I've heard it claimed that the SNP are only centralising temporarily until independence is achieved and that they desperately want to start decentralising again as soon as Scotland is 'free'. Ha, do they bollocks! Separatism has negative connotations for a reason. Brexit is an act of separatism and I don't consider more separatism to be an adequate solution. If you're worried about the centralising of power, you shouldn't necessarily trust separatist parties.

I don't think Spain eradicated oppression overnight when Franco died, and I can't recall claiming that the police had done nothing wrong since the 1970s. Those images are very emotive and they clearly show unacceptable actions, but they're hardly a daily occurrence, are they?

In my opinion the Spanish authorities should've treated the day of the referendum as a normal Sunday instead of sending in reinforcements, since they claim it was illegitimate. It would've been even better if they'd negotiated to hold a legal referendum like David Cameron and Alex Salmond did, but apparently that's against the Spanish Constitution (although that's rather convienient for central government, and open to interpretation) which is a document treated with a bit too much reverence at times for my liking.

Catalonia is part of 'mainland Spain' so I'm not quite sure what you mean there, but a variant of the Catalan language is also spoken in the Balearic Islands. 

I'm not trying to deny your experience of the past 5 years. Mine differs though.¬†I only had 7 months in Galicia in total (and 2 days in Barcelona 14 years ago, plus about a week in each of Andalusia, Madrid and Valencian Country). I spoke to people with a range of opinions while I was there and came to my own conclusions. It's a pity if you're only listening to and reading sources that have one ‚Äď overwhelmingly negative ‚Ästviewpoint about European and Spanish unity. The 2 million¬†who feel that independence is the best solution do not speak for the other 5.5¬†million Catalans. And yes, a few of those 5.5 million will be fascists and other assorted arseholes, but most just want peace and quiet.¬†

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18 hours ago, Fog Dude said:

Nice to know you frequent bars where people are deluded enough to have fallen hook, lineÔĽŅ and sinker for Bar√ßa propaganda.

I frequent bars where the locals drink, because it's those bars that offer the best prices for beer. Tourist bars and hip joints set up for those on a gap year round the world trip before they start Uni know they're dealing with mugs and can charge accordingly.

Needless to say, the places I drink aren't usually found on Trip Advisor, or in any "round the world" blogs discussing the best places to sample a "taste of Spain" in the area.

I currently live in a block of flats that houses something like 16 families in the outskirts of the city, the majority of those families are Spanish, although we do have one Venezuelan family who like to bust out the guitars, weed, and the cigars on occasion. The father of that household looks as I'd imagine Che would look if he'd reached old age. he's insane, but he makes a cracking chilli.

anyway, some of those people from the apartment block can be found in the local bars, along with other people like them. From my experience there's a guy who runs a fruit shop, another who works for the council as a property inspector, a girl who works in the supermarket, and her husband who's one of the local police.

Just people, really. Deluded? maybe. Not sure how they'd take to being called deluded for their opinions on their own country from someone who's spent a minute here. Maybe that's why they frequent the same bar as me and put up with my drunken shite? Preferable to being told they're "doing being Spanish wrong" at the tourist bars?

As for the football thing, I could be wrong but I don't think their dislike of Catalans has anything to do with Barca. That would be like a Spaniard telling a local Glasgow Rangers fan who dislikes Catholics that he's just fallen for the Rangers marketing ploy. I'm no expert, but it seems that for some people this shit runs deeper than what Gerard Pique says in the media or what Barca put on their shirts. Does it bubble to the surface when the team is playing? Yeah, but it's not the main driving factor I don't think.

18 hours ago, Fog Dude said:

Catalonia is part of 'mainland Spain' so I'm not quite sure what you mean there, but a variant of the Catalan language is also spoken in the Balearic Islands. 

My apologies, you pick up little quirks like that when you've been here as long as I have. I hear people who've spent all of their lives here refer to Catalonia as being different from "mainland Spain," but it could just be them doing it wrong again, or me being drunk and not picking up on their Spanish correctly.

18 hours ago, Fog Dude said:

I'm not trying to deny your experience of the past 5 years. Mine differs though.¬†I only had 7 months in Galicia in total (and 2 days in Barcelona 14 years ago, plus about a week in each of Andalusia, Madrid and Valencian Country). I spoke to people with a range of opinions while I was there and came to my own conclusions. It's a pity if you're only listening to and reading sources that have one ‚Äď overwhelmingly negative ‚Ästviewpoint about European and Spanish unity. The 2 million¬†who feel that independence is the best solution do not speak for the other 5.5¬†million Catalans. And yes, a few of those 5.5 million will be fascists and other assorted arseholes, but most just want peace and quiet.¬†

Yeah, I'm not actively seeking out differing opinions to be fair, I just talk to the folk that I see on a daily basis, and the friends I've made since dropping into this wacky place in 2013. 

I don't listen to or read any sources really, I just talk to people who talk to me. Over the years you do that. none of this comes from books written by English authors, or from forums or intellectual discussions with the type who "spent a terrific summer in the basque country" or anything like that. 

This is just based on five years of frequenting bars, making friends, attending parties, getting drunk, being graciously invited into people's homes for meals and evenings on the canas and chorizo, going to football, and so forth.

I'm not making any claims about the intelligence of the people I speak to, or how "in tune" with Spain these actual Spanish people are, i'm just telling my experiences.

None of this actually changes my views on the EU, nor will what I say change yours no doubt, but it's been a nice little natter nonetheless.

EDIT: In fact, going through my work invoices this morning has changed my mind. If the EU promised to force Spain to change the ridiculous autónomo system they have in place I'd happily run through the city centre naked, bollocks to the wind with only an EU flag wrapped around me.

Edited by David

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