The price of freedom.
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.