Catalonia and the king’s speech


Sir, – Spain’s King Felipe, in response to recent events in Catalonia, addressed the nation in a televised speech on Tuesday night. As head of state, it should have been taken as an opportunity to defuse some tension in an increasingly worrying situation. However, instead of building bridges, the king has erected a wall which will foster tension further not only within Catalonia but Spain also.

Millions of people have mobilised in Barcelona to demand self-determination. Some 80 per cent of Catalan society support a vote on their future. Many left-wing politicians, not only in Catalonia but across Spain, including Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau, support the right to self-determination but are against independence.

However, the king has ignored this and instead has chosen to speak about the “disloyalty” of the Catalan separatists. He has reiterated the position of Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, that the referendum was illegal and not in compliance with the Spanish constitution. This argument is wearing thin. Trying to impose a judicial solution to a political problem will not work. All the king has done is lay the groundwork for the Madrid government to continue with its hardline stance against Catalonia. Madrid has repeatedly refused to engage with the Catalan government on reforms to its statute of autonomy since 2011.

Spain needs to face the political reality, and deal with the many issues concerning not only Catalonia but other autonomous regions like the Basque Country. In order for this to happen, a change of government is needed and a more empathetic attitude from the king towards all Spanish citizens. – Yours, etc,


Santander, Spain.

Sir, – If there is one silver lining to the debacle in Catalonia, it is the declarations of support for independence from innumerable Sinn Féin representatives.

That we have moved on to the point where they will publicly advocate for the right of statehood of an ethically distinct region, despite the wishes of the national majority, shows the incredible advances made in the peace process.

Perhaps next the DUP will call for North and South Korea to merge. – Yours, etc,


Foxrock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Now that the referendum is over, no doubt we can expect Nato to intervene in order to ensure independence for Catalonia as it did in Kosovo. The precedent exists. – Yours, etc,


Seaford East,

Sussex, England.