IS the Spanish government right or wrong not to give Catalonia a vote on possible independence?  Separatist parties in the region agreed yesterday the wording of an independence referendum on  November 9, 2014, but the Spanish government said the vote was illegal and would not happen. The tough stance taken by the Spanish government will effectively fuel the fires of independence and I would urge Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish Prime Minister, to follow the example set by his British counterpart, David Cameron, who agreed to a vote on independence in Scotland. The two ruling parties in Catalonia support a breakaway from Spain and opinion polls say that about half the population of Catalonia want independence. Rajoy will not even discuss the issue with the Catalonian government. This is certainly not the way forward. The appetite for independence by some in Catalonia is not going to go away. Infact, I suspect that it will grow even stronger as a result of Madrid´s tough line. Does Rajoy fear that if he allow a vote in Catalonia the “Yes” camp might win? Yes, possibly so. And also he probably fears that an independence poll could open the floodgates for similar votes in the Basque country and in other areas of Spain. The line from the ruling Partido Popular is that Spain is a united country under one flag. But they must also realise that in a democracy everyone should be able to have their say. Spain´s stance gives further ammunition to the separatist parties.

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