2

There is a joke going around Palma at the moment: Spain is flying the flag and the Chinese shops are making a fortune! Yes, Chinese-owned stores in the capital are reporting a massive increase in the sale of Spanish flags since the "crisis in Catalonia" and moves by the regional government to declare independence from Spain. But it is true that, although a small part of Spain wants to break away, the rest of the country appears to be quite solid and is flying the flag.

Of course a split has now occured across the nation between those who support independence for Catalonia and those who don’t. The "Catalan independents" are not getting much sympathy from the rest of the country. In fact, they are ridiculed across Spanish media on a daily basis. It is difficult to see how the rift will ever be healed. The Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy has only made the problem worse. The initial bully-boy tactics by the Spanish government, when it sent in the police who allegedly used heavy-handed tactics to stop people voting in the "illegal" referendum, has further increased the tensions in Catalonia.

Ending regional government in Catalonia and running the region from Madrid will cause a major backlash. It is a difficult situation. At the end of the day the Catalan government has broken the law by going ahead with the referendum but at the same time the Spanish government could have been more "friendly" to the Catalan cause.