AS readers will be more than aware, the governments of Spain and Catalonia are on a collision course in the run-up to the independence referendum tomorrow. Catalonia says the vote will go ahead, Madrid is doing everything in its power to prevent it, short of putting tanks on the streets.

Catalan national feeling is like that in Scotland in that it is “civic” and non-violent, wanting to be an active participant in the new global world. As with Scotland and its relationship with the rest of the UK, if it became independent, Catalonia would remain intimately linked with Spain. Not just through economic interdependence, as Catalonia is currently responsible for one-fifth of Spanish GDP, but through the countless ties of family and the Spanish language and culture.

Those involved in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum will be familiar with the concept of the “social union” that would survive intact when the political union vanished.

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If a government in Barcelona does declare independence, it would be scarcely credible that other Europeans would deny EU membership to Catalonia, one of its wealthiest regions.
Alex Orr