Tuesday, December 17, 2013

You can't make this stuff up (Catalan referendum version)

A quick Google search shows that the English-language press is having a bit of difficulty understanding the structure of the Catalan independence referendum recently announced for November 9, 2014. Contrast what The Guardian, in perfect consonance with every other article I troubled to read, says about it...
 The Catalan regional government head, Artur Mas, said the vote would ask two questions: "Do you want Catalonia to be a state?" and: "Do you want that state to be independent?"
...with the more accurate Wikipedia version.
The question would be: "Do you want Catalonia to become a State?" and "If yes, should Catalonia be an Independent State?"
Now that Ibex Salad readers have that minor detail straight in their minds, I have two questions of my own to ask. Does this really mean that those who vote 'no' on the first question will be excluded from opining on the second? And if this is so, as seems to be the case, what rules will the promoters of this plebiscite use to determine which independence option - yes, or no - has won the day?

Behind this bizarre form is that one of the political parties supporting the referendum is, in fact, not separatist but wants Spain to become a federal state. The first question was included to give voice to their aspirations. But it has the effect of dividing the three competing political ideologies - separatist, federalist and centralist (being those that think the current situation is optimal) - into two groups of two. Stage one aligns the first two persuasions, as if they were one, against the last. Then, in stage two their fundamental differences come again to the fore and they face off against each other, excluding the third from the game entirely. Imagine a football championship in which Real Madrid (typically) loses against Bar├ža, then the latter splits into two teams and fights for the championship trophy amongst itself.

Until someone steps up and definitively answers my second question, I'll refrain from coming to any conclusions concerning the not-entirely-aligned motives and strategies of Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras.


Just in ----- Artur Mas seems to be aware of this issue. It seems, though, that he and his political partners have just decided to pass on it for the time being. "It's not what matters at the moment." (via Vicente Valles)



trebots said...


And it ain't none of your business, Spaniard.

A. Hidell said...

If you answer No in the first question and then answer anything in the second question, the vote is declared null. Therefore, there are only three possible answers: NO (status-quo), YES-YES (independence), YES-NO (none of the above). To me the only question is what "none of the above" means, but since I intend to vote YES-YES I don't really care. If the YES-NO wins, then I guess they will have to explain what it means. Bizarre? Yes. Still not the end of the world. I myself would have used the Condorcet method. Cheers.

Charles Butler said...

Great suggestion. Thanks.