Spanish politics can be simple stuff; if you have a majority in parliament you are safe because your MPs will always tow the party line and as long as you have got a bargaining chip you can get more funding for your region. The minority government of Pedro Sanchez announced yesterday that there would be a 66% increase in state funding for Catalonia providing that his budget was approved by parliament. Sanchez needs allies, and the Catalan parties, some of whom back independence, are a powerful lobby and their votes would help the budget pass through parliament. Nice idea Sanchez, but surely the extra cash has been won by Catalonia on merit and has nothing to do with the PM needing the support of the Catalan parties in parliament.

I suspect that the announcement that Catalonia, which is ruled by a pro-independence regional governnent, is getting more cash from Spanish taxpayers will not be well received in many parts of the country. In fact, it does appear that Sanchez is trying to "buy" the support of the Catalans, who have long claimed that they pay too much to Madrid in taxes and get little in return. It could also be argued that Sanchez is using government funds to try to tempt the nationalists to abandon their independence cause. Sanchez is being rather brave, his policy towards Catalonia has not made him popular with many in Spain who believe that the Catalans should be punished and not rewarded.