Catalonia deserves a fair independence referendum

Polling Station Sign

It’s time for the people of Catalonia to have a say over their future.

Back in 2014, the people of Scotland got to vote on whether they wanted to take the country out of the United Kingdom. Imagine if the vote had been proceeded by the UK government saying no and raiding the Scottish government and detaining key Scottish figures. Such an outcome would have been met with dismay and outrage from people across Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

However, the scenario laid out there is exactly what is happening right now in Catalonia, one of Spain’s autonomous communities. The Spanish government objects to an independence referendum being held, has raided Catalan ministries, as reported by the BBC, and detained key community officials.

A Catalan government-backed referendum is due to take place on Sunday 1st October, however, the Spanish government strongly opposes the vote and is taking actions to prevent it taking place.

The vote has been contrasted with the smoothly run 2014 vote in Scotland.

The BBC has reported that Nicola Sturgeon has called on Catalonia to be allowed to hold a vote.

Nicola Sturgeon

As someone who voted against Scottish independence, I find myself agreeing with Nicola Sturgeon in a bizarre twist of fate. I did not back Scottish independence, but I supported the right for the referendum to take place. The referendum had some negative effects, for example, dividing families and ending friendships, but 85% of Scots cast their ballots in 2014. The vote was a brilliant example of how a direct democratic vote should be conducted.

I have no position on Catalan independence. I have never lived in Catalonia nor Spain and have no real connections to the country. However, I support the right for Catalans to vote on their future. Just as the SNP did in 2011, in 2015, pro-independence parties won a majority of the seats in the Catalan election with the promise to hold an independence referendum.

I am not a Catalan nor a Spaniard, but I am a democrat. It’s time for Catalonia to decide its future in a free and fair referendum.