There were two ways of dealing with the illegal Catalan referendum on independence.
Firstly, it was illegal and therefore the result was not legally binding so the Spanish government could have just sat back and done nothing and said at the end of polling that the whole exercise was a waste of time. Or the second option was to take it seriously and send in the police and try and stop people voting which is what the government did and the Catalan leaders behind the poll were arrested and yesterday sentenced to long prison terms.
Those Catalan leaders who will now be spending lengthy terms in jail have now become martyrs overnights for some, namely the 45 percent of the Catalan population who support independence. And still the issue has not been resolved, the Catalan independence issue is still on the table and yesterday’s sentencing will have only hardened the stance of both sides; those who support independence and those who don’t.
I would say that the Spanish government has completely misjudged Catalonia. The bully boy tactics of former conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have not worked. The wait and see tactics of new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez have not worked either. How is Spain going to deal with Catalonia?
Well, I think it is back to the drawing board. Government needs to sit down and talk with all sides and try and reach some sort of accord. So far government policy has failed miserably.