The price of free­dom.

The McLeod River Post - - Front Page - Ian McInnes

As I write this col­umn to­day the break­ing news is that the Cat­alo­nia Par­lia­ment has de­clared in­de­pen­dence from Spain. The Span­ish Gov­ern­ment had been looked set to im­pose di­rect rule on the re­gion but who knows where this Euro­pean cri­sis is go­ing now. The vote in the Cat­alo­nian Par­lia­ment was 70-10 in favour with op­po­si­tion members boy­cotting the vote.

The fi­nal count for the Cat­alo­nian in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum shows that of the over 2.2 mil­lion peo­ple that voted over two mil­lion of them backed in­de­pen­dence. The ref­er­en­dum was de­clared il­le­gal by the Span­ish Gov­ern­ment and po­lice did at­tempt to stop peo­ple vot­ing, re­port­edly in­jur­ing hun­dreds of peo­ple in the process.

This cri­sis in Spain is so stoked up now that a se­nior EU of­fi­cial bud­get com­mis­sioner Gun­ther Oet­tinger has been quoted has say­ing, “There is a civil war imag­in­able now in the mid­dle of Europe. One can only hope that a thread of con­ver­sa­tion will soon be recorded be­tween Madrid and Barcelona.”

I re­ally can’t see a peace­ful so­lu­tion for this un­less, given the will of peo­ple in an un­of­fi­cial bal­lot, that the Span­ish Gov­ern­ment backs off, al­lows a peace­ful ref­er­en­dum, abides by the re­sult and risks los­ing a very lu­cra­tive and pros­per­ous re­gion to the cen­tral econ­omy. The trou­ble is there are agen­das and faces to be saved. None­the­less, given the his­tory of Spain in the not too dis­tant past, bal­lots are bet­ter than bul­lets.

China’s Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping looks to have ce­mented his seat at the top for the next five years. Whether he will step down in 2022 re­mains to be seen. Xi Jin­ping’s tight­en­ing of con­trol ap­par­ently came a day af­ter his teach­ings and name were writ­ten into the con­sti­tu­tion. Xi Jin­ping was elected into power in 2012 and has not named a suc­ces­sor in a break from tra­di­tion.

China is not like a west­ern democ­racy and by keep­ing the same leader is able to fol­low di­rec­tional paths that wouldn’t or­di­nar­ily be pos­si­ble in our type of elec­tion cy­cle. Xi Jin­ping has vi­sions of the fu­ture for China, re­port­edly into the next 30 years; ma­jor west­ern news or­gan­i­sa­tions were ap­par­ently ex­cluded from the lead­er­ship cer­e­mony. You’ll un­der­stand this if you’re a Black­ad­der fan. I’ve al­ways thought that China has more cun­ning plans on the go than Baldric. And, I don’t think a lot of them are friendly to­wards the west.

An­other leader of a na­tion that is cool to­wards us, Pres­i­dent Putin of Rus­sia ap­par­ently pushed the but­ton to launch nu­clear ca­pa­ble mis­siles re­cently. The hap­pi­ness just keeps on com­ing. I have read that if a nu­clear mis­sile is fly­ing over­head you should duck and cover. Maybe car­ry­ing a trench shovel on one’s belt will be the new ac­ces­sory. How quick can you dig?

As promised, the John F Kennedy as­sas­si­na­tion files have been re­leased. As ex­pected, not all of them. At the last-minute U.S. agen­cies re­quested that some files be with­held. Rather than clear­ing up the con­spir­acy the­o­ries this has only prompted more ques­tions. Hope­fully, the re­main­ing files will be re­leased soon. One strange fact has emerged. Ap­par­ently about 25 min­utes be­fore the as­sas­si­na­tion a UK news­pa­per The Cam­bridge News re­ceived an anony­mous call about, “some big news,” that was go­ing to hap­pen in the U.S. The re­porter was ad­vised to con­tact the U.S. Em­bassy. The news­pa­per can’t con­firm that it hap­pened but is try­ing to track down peo­ple that were work­ing there in the 1960s. It’s weird be­ing a jour­nal­ist some­times.

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