THEY put a brave face on it in Catalonia. The Scottish “no” vote, said Catalan president Artur Mas, was a triumph for democracy and an enviable example of how to resolve nationalist tension within a European state. But it was also a setback. A Scottish “yes” would have proved that a European Union state can break up, and obliged EU leaders to find a way to cope. Catalan separatists would have tried to fall into Scotland’s slipstream, using its vote to boost support for a movement that has grown rapidly; some polls show a majority of Catalans favour a split.
But while the Scottish referendum was jointly proposed by the British and Scottish governments, Mr Mas is treading a more dangerous path. Madrid has refused to hold a referendum, so he is going it alone. On Friday Catalonia’s parliament passed a so-called “law of consultations”, with a view to allowing Mr Mas to call a referendum on November 9. Spain’s conservative prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, will try to block the referendum by sending the law to the constitutional court for study. They will almost certainly suspend it for several months, and may strike it down.
Font: The Economist