16 September 2013

Homages to Catalonia

Bona tarda! 

There was a Catalan theme to episode 35 of the For A' That podcast this week.  Friend of the pod and New Statesman contributor Jamie Maxwell was out on manoeuvres in Spain's debatable lands last week, casting an inquisitive eye over Catalonia's independence movement. Many of you may have read his column in yesterday's Sunday Herald.  We were also joined again this week by Kate Higgins

On the show, Jamie discussed the animating gods of the Catalan movement, and told us about what he'd seen and learned during his jaunt. What parallels and differences characterise the Catalan and Scottish independence movements? Is the Catalonian argument primarily concerned with culture, governance and democracy, or some mixture of both? Our discussion broadened out to the more general point: is it important for Scottish independence supporters to have fraternal relations with similar movements abroad? Does Spanish intransigence over Catalonia pose diplomatic problems for Scottish nationalists which, ironically, call for a little coolness and distance between the two groups?

Returning to domestic politics, we also discussed Johann Lamont's assault on Salmond at this week's First Minister's Question time, alleging financial jiggerypokery.  It as also budget week in Holyrood. Kate picks out her keynotes from Swinney's statements. We also bring up the tender topic of the Bedroom Tax. An indefensible policy it may be, but does it have the strategic importance both Labour and the SNP are currently investing it with? Alternatively, has the policy become a neat totem for the objectionable elements of Westminster's welfare reforms, and a politically effective shorthand for opposition to them? We chew the matter over.

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We'll be back next week.