What the editorials said
By declaring independence, Catalonia’s separatists “indulged in a futile, reckless gesture of defiance against the legal and constitutional order of Spanish democracy”, said the FT. It was “as indefensible as the shambolic, illegal referendum” on 1 October – in which 90% backed independence, but in chaotic conditions and with a turnout of only 42%. There is no doubt that the secessionists have “acted illegally”, said The Guardian. The EU, the US, Britain, France and Germany have all rightly refused to recognise the independence declaration. But it’s also true that Madrid’s “inept and tone-deaf response”, culminating in the use of police violence to stop people voting in the referendum, “has inflamed the cause, not dampened the fire. Matters should never have got to this stage.”
“Political problems need political solutions,” said The Times. This impasse “will not be resolved with legal textbooks” or riot police. So it is welcome that both sides have said they will accept the result of elections on 21 December. It would be “best for Catalonia and Spain” if the region’s voters decisively rejected the separatist parties (the last election was finely balanced). But if Catalans rally to Puigdemont’s cause, Madrid will have to allow a legal referendum “in due course”.