A Scottish court has had the good sense and common decency to free Clara Ponsatí on bail while she fights the extradition order brought against her by the Spanish government seeking to prosecute her on politically motivated charges which could potentially result in the former Catalan education minister facing up to 30 years in a Spanish prison. Scotland’s courts have in this instance proven themselves to be more humane and to have a greater respect for human rights than the German court which refused bail to Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.
Despite the fact that senior figures in Labour in Scotland like Ian Murray MP have tweeted that they support the arrest and extradition of Clara Ponsatí, some in that party are, gob-smackingly hypocritcally but entirely predictably, trying to use her arrest as an excuse to indulge in some SNPbaddery. Some in Labour, like Labour Youth, are trying to claim that the SNP supports the repressive measures of the Spanish government because the Scottish government has said that it cannot interfere in a legal process. Can you imagine the outrage from that same Labour party if the SNP had indeed said it was going to interfere in a legal process? Exactly. Labour in Scotland has two faces, both are covered in egg, and each one is supported by a brass neck.
Given the hypocrisy of the Labour party in Scotland who are keen to tell us what they think people in Catalonia think about the SNP, it’s worthwhile to have a look at what people in Catalonia are saying about the response of the Scottish government and the people of Scotland to Clara’s arrest. Why listen to Labour’s monkeys when we can listen to the Catalans themselves.
Clara’s arrest and her fight against extradition is the lead story today in the leading Catalan language pro-independence digital news site Vilaweb.cat. The newspaper reported that through her lawyer Aamer Anwar, Clara had released a statement thanking the people of Scotland for their support saying, “Scotland is a true friend of Catalonia in these dark hours.” The newspaper also highlighted the support given to Clara by various members of the SNP, reporting that they had condemned the persecution that she was facing. It went on to report that the Scottish government has written to the Spanish embassy in the UK to complain about the European extradition orders against Puigdemont, his ministers, and members of the Catalan parliament. It reported that Scottish justice secretary Michael Matheson had spoken in the Scottish parliament to criticise the failure of the Spanish government.
Meanwhile the Spanish language Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia is reporting that Clara has been freed on bail, and the story is the most commented on and most liked on the paper’s website today. La Vanguardia is a right wing newspaper, which is fiercely anti-independence, it’s sort of like the Hootsmon but with ageing Francoists, but many of the comments under the article express thanks and appreciation to Scotland.
The pro-independence left wing daily El Punt Avui also carries the story on its front page, as it does with the story that the Scottish government has written to the Spanish embassy in London to complain about the use of European arrest warrants against members of the Catalan government.
El Punt Avui carries a far more detailed story about the protests of the Scottish government than anything you will read in the traditional Scottish media, with of course the honourable exception of The National, which gets a mention in El Punt Avui’s article. The paper reports in full on the comments in parliament of Michael Matheson, and talks about the letter written by the SNP’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Fiona Hyslop to the Spanish embassy. The paper also reports on the call from Alex Salmond published in The National saying why we should all be speaking out about the Spanish government’s treatment of Catalonia, and gives a link to the video published by our only pro-independence Scottish daily newspaper.
The pro-independence Ara.cat has likewise made the Clara Ponsatí story its leading article, and also reports on the incredible success of Clara’s fundraiser.
The support being given to the fundraiser by ordinary people in Scotland is being seen and heard in Catalonia. It is being perceived, rightly, as a sign that the people of Scotland are giving their backing to our sisters and brothers in Catalonia, that their struggle for self-determination is our struggle.
What absolutely no one in Catalonia is paying the slightest bit of attention to today is what the Labour party in Scotland is saying, and neither should we. On the other hand, they are talking about the support that Scotland is demonstrating for Catalonia. It has been noticed, and it is appreciated. They know that many people in Scotland and the Scottish government are on their side, whatever nonsense Labour in Scotland hacks might put out on social media. Their views are not being reported in Catalonia, the support that Catalonia is receiving from Scotland is very much in the Catalan news.
The above article on Vilaweb.cat has now been replaced as the lead story by the news that Clara had been released on bail and that her lawyer is saying that it’s the Spanish police who ought to be answering for the brutality and violence of their actions. Meanwhile the paper is also reporting that the crowdfunder to raise money to fight her extradition had wildly exceeded all expectations. The original target was £40,000, but that was smashed through within a few hours. At the time of writing this blog article, the crowdfunder had exceeded £176,000.
We need to show our support for Catalonia in its hour of need, because if Scotland doesn’t stand up for Catalonia, we cannot complain if no one stands up for Scotland when we’re the ones needing support. Their struggle is our struggle too.
You can donate to the fundraiser here – https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/defendclara/
I am off to the USA for two weeks on Friday as it’s my partner’s birthday and we’re going on holiday together. Sam (Macart) will do his usual sterling job of looking after the blog in my absence.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
Wee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements
Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.