Well, that was fast. Due to the late hour, forgive me for being a bit terse.
From Politico’s daily European news summary:
Catalonia’s deposed President Carles Puigdemont is coming to this year’s Halloween party dressed as the EU’s worst nightmare. He will be trick or treating today at 12:30 p.m. at a Brussels press conference, expected to be held at Residence Palace, with up to five fellow ex-ministers: Joaquim Forn (interior), Meritxell Borràs (public administration), Dolors Bassa (employment), Antoni Comín (health) and Meritxell Serret (agriculture), in Belgium on the run from Spanish authorities.
— katya adler (@BBCkatyaadler) October 30, 2017
And despite the threats of a general strike and fulminations about Catalonian civil servants refusing to take orders from Madrid, Catalans appeared overwhelmingly to accept the new status quo. From Reuters (hat tip Oregoncharles):
On Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dismissed Catalonia’s secessionist government, called a regional election for Dec. 21 and said the central government would take direct control.
That process began smoothly on Monday as employees ignored calls for civil disobedience and turned up for work, while secessionist parties agreed to stand in the December poll….
Some of the most prominent ousted Catalan leaders, including Puigdemont and Vice President Oriol Junqueras, had said they would not accept their dismissal.
But their respective parties, PdeCat and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, said on Monday they would take part in the election called by Rajoy, a tacit acceptance of direct rule from Madrid. The regional parliament canceled a meeting for Tuesday, another signal lawmakers accepted they had been dismissed.
A call for widespread civil disobedience from the main civic groups behind the secessionist campaign failed to attract many followers. Public-sector workers such as teachers, firefighters and the police mostly started work as normal on Monday and there was no sign of widespread absenteeism.
The dream of Catalan separatists of creating Europe’s newest state appeared to crumble on Monday as Madrid moved swiftly to take control of the breakaway region following the decision by its parliament on Friday to declare independence from Spain…
Some former Catalan ministers had said that moves by the Spanish government to assume control would be met with rebellion on the streets and a campaign of civil disobedience. But that failed to materialise, and Spain re-established its authority over the region with ease.
Some readers had argued vociferously that the results of a referendum in which the balloting was not reliable due to a lack of ballot controls plus boycotting by those opposed to independence should nevertheless be treated as valid. The majority it showed was suspect by virtue of the fact that the regional government’s own polls, pre-election, showed only 41% support for independence.
Some argued that the thuggish crackdown on the day of the polling would increase support for the separatists. But as I had indicated, there was good reason to doubt this would have much impact. People are very attached to their prior beliefs. Secession is a hotly and regularly debated issue in Catalonia. Only those who did not have an established position would be move by the spectacle of Guardia Civil head-breaking. How many would that be? Only at most a small percentage of undecides, which would be too few to shift the majority view into the pro-independence camp..
Moreover, as the possibility of independence came closer to being enacted, the divided interests of the forces supporting it became more evident. The main players were anarcho-syncicalists and rich bourgeios Catalans. The latter weren’t all that committed to secession, particularly since their main beef was economic, the taxes they paid to poorer regions. The costs of breaking away would greatly exceed any benefits of autonomy. Catalonia was in no way, shape, or form ready to operate as an independent state, even before you get to the huge difficulties posed by lack of EU support and widespread indications that no (or at least no country that counted) would recognize them.
Recent poll results also showed support for secession to be fading. Again from Reuters:
Two opinion polls showed support for independence may have started to wane. A Sigma Dos survey published in El Mundo showed 33.5 percent of Catalans were in favor of independence, while a Metroscopia poll published by El Pais put that number at 29 percent.
And before readers start complaining about El Pais, the accuracy of the poll is a function of the polling organization. If Metroscopia is a reputable pollster, there is no reason to doubt the results, particularly since it’s within range of the Sigma Dos results. And we see the sentiment shown in both polls confirmed by the lack of rebellion, or even much friction, in Catalonia on Monday.
Greece had good reason to persist in what was nevertheless certain to be a doomed fight with the Trokia in 2015. The country had been abused for no reason that made any economic sense, as Yanis Varoufakis tried explaining to European leaders. But in their political calculus, it was far more attractive to keep kicking the can down the road, and that mean continuing to squeeze the Greek people. Despite lacking its own currency and being dependent on ECB support of its banking system, two fatal weaknesses, Greece was nevertheless vastly more capable of going it alone that Catalonia every would have been by having a fuller government apparatus and vastly greater support of its people. The Greek fight in 2015 was noble even though at the same time painfully naive to watch, since its failure was predestined. By contrast, it was hard to muster much sympathy for Catalonia, when it was only a minority, albeit a large one that wanted to break free of Spain, and then too often for reasons that, when the veneer was stripped away, were simply selfish: a rich region didn’t want to send its tax dollars to poorer ones. This was not a serious enough set of grievances to support the backbreaking work and hard economic costs that rupture from Spain would entail. Enough Catalans recognized it to meekly accept the humiliation of direct rule by Madrid.