There is one factor that is new. This is the profound disillusionment of the young with mainstream politics all over Europe since the crisis
snapping up everything. Spain, like Ireland, and unlike most other EU countries, is culturally a home-owning society.
If you are young and can’t get a decent job that pays properly, plus your rent is going through the roof, what’s the status quo doing for you? Why not back the separatists?
By Monday the Catalan nationalists say they will declare independence. It’s impossible to know what happens next. However, there is an unfortunate mix of weak leadership in Madrid, a weakened economy in Spain, the legacy of the
Nationalism is here to stay in Europe, but Yugoslavia shows just how dangerous national disintegration can be. And the day you leave can be the high point.
For example in Croatia, since independence various nationalist narratives have taken over the public discourse. Wrapping yourself in the flag is still the way incompetent xenophobes camouflage economic and national inadequacies. Privately, many Croatian friends of mine lament the passing of the eccentric but reasonably successful federation that was Yugoslavia.
You wonder too whether the Catalans will in a few years look back nostalgically at old Spain if they decide to take the plunge now.