HATRED of the corruption in Spanish politics was a main driver for the Catalan independence movement, according to a new book by The National columnist George Kerevan and the author and Scottish activist Chris Bambery.

Entitled Catalonia Reborn: How Catalonia Took on the Corrupt Spanish State and the Legacy of Franco, the book is a sustained indictment of the Spanish government’s dealings with Catalonia, made all the more devastating by the detailed factual nature of the work.

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The book could not be more timely, given the collapse of the Spanish government led by Mariano Rajoy and his Partido Popular (PP), and the fact that nine Catalan leaders remain in Spanish jails while four colleagues are in exile fighting extradition to Spain, including Clara Ponsati here in Scotland.

Speaking just minutes after the King Felipe of Spain’s brother-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, was sent to jail for nearly six years following a fraud case, Kerevan said: “From the royals downward, I was amazed at the extent of the corruption in the most kleptomaniac state in Europe.

“The people with money needed Rajoy and the PP to stay in power to protect them and stop Catalonia rocking the boat, even though there was a lot of corruption in Catalonia too. While Spain did nothing, the Catalans threw out all the people who were corrupt locally and wanted to leave Spain so they could clean things up.”

Kerevan points to a key moment in recent Spanish history: “In 2006 there was an agreement with the then socialist government to have a new devolution settlement, which was passed by the Catalan and Spanish Governments and by a referendum in Catalonia. But then Rajoy and the PP challenged this settlement in the constitutional court, which was stacked with Francoist PP appointees, and it was thrown out after four years.

“It was only then that there was a swing to outright independence.”

The court then took back devolved powers “just like Westminster is trying to do to Scottish devolution just now.”

Kerevan and Bambery also lambast the major European Union countries for their hypocrisy in refusing to condemn Spain’s vicious crackdown on the Catalan government and people.

The former East Lothian MP said: “It’s two-faced. The Germans, for example, were quite prepared to break up the former Yugoslavia which got out of hand and degenerated into civil war.

“The argument that they cannot countenance the break-up of Spain is nonsense. When Czechoslovakia broke up, both the Czech Republic and Slovakia were welcomed into the EU and ditto the Baltic states breaking away from Russia.”

The book has already been lauded in the House of Commons where Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams put down an Early Day Motion “that this House congratulates Chris Bambery and George Kerevan on the publishing and launch of their book Catalonia Reborn; commends the authors for producing such a detailed and revealing book, given the subject’s complexity and importance to the future of Europe; believes that this is the key text for anyone concerned with the future of Catalonia, Spain and Europe; and hopes that the authors will continue in their work to shed light on developments in Catalonia in the future.”

As an early review, that motion has to be classed as five-star. The National will publish exclusive extracts from the book, which is published by Luath Press, soon.