"Locking up democratically elected leaders is more than a bridge too far," Flanders premier Geert Bourgeois said in a statement. "I'm perplexed that something like that is possible in today's Europe." Bourgeois is obviously talking about Catalonia and the former pro-independence leader of the region Carles Puigdemont being in Belgium. Other members of the former Catalan government cabinet, who stayed in Spain, are not so lucky; they have been sent to jail. But at the end of the day it doesn't say much for democracy when democratically elected leaders are jailed for wanting something which at least half the Catalan people want: independence from Spain. Surely they could have been put under house arrest or had their passports taken away. Was it really necessary to send them to jail?

At the moment Spanish police are investigating many cases of political corruption across the nation and in most cases those who are under investigation are still enjoying their freedom. I would say that most of Spain is in shock. They are shocked that Catalonia declared independence and at the same time they are shocked that senior Catalan politicians have been sent to jail. These are dangerous times in Spain. The Spanish government is acting within the law but at the same time it has to be careful because the world is watching and many people including Geert Bourgeois are not impressed. Bully-boy tactics will never work anywhere.