Imagine if the Scottish government pushed ahead with a second referendum against the wishes of Theresa May who then used the police to stop the so-called illegal poll. Imagine if Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish Nationalists and Scottish chief minister, was threatened with arrest because she had ordered the poll. All this sounds rather unimaginable, doesn’t it. But this is what has happened in Catalonia.

I am no big fan of the Catalan independence movement but I believe in democracy and even Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy must realise that the Catalan people want a say on their future. They are not saying that they will all wholeheartedly vote for a breakaway but they want to have their say and the government should listen instead of trying to crush the independence movement and all those who believe in the referendum.

The international community has said nothing. No one really wants to get involved but secretly, I suspect, they are pretty outraged. And you can see why. A key member of the European Union is split over a region which allegedly wants to break away.

Regular readers of this space will know that I often express admiration for Spain and the massive steps it has made since the end of the Franco regime. But this is not Spain’s finest hour. In fact, I would say that I have never been so horrified by an event in Spain for many years. Dialogue is the way forward not bully-boy tactics.