Friday, 27 April 2012

A tea party, or café para todos ...

... (coffee for everyone), and a hat tip to "labour uncut", the full story here.

The story of Spanish devolution is not well known outwith Europe and those organisations that would separate its regions into countries via independence.  It's that well trodden path of small fish needing its own pond, couple it with left wing economic models, then the use of smoke and mirrors (it's very rare for a separatist movement to be anything other than left wing, could there be a principle in there somewhere);  and of course, that ancient mantra of the separatist agenda everywhere - "the grass is greener over there.........".

The origins of Spanish, and devolution throughout the world, is that "local needs" should be addressed through "local channels", on the face of it a reasonable aspiration, in reality it has been the lazy way out, an admission that centralised government can often fail those citizens that are remote from the seat of government, or who have peculiar traits that are ignored as unimportant in the grand scheme, language variation being a prime candidate.
If the time-line of the European separatist movement is examined its start date coincided with today in 1773 the British Government passed the Tea Act followed by "The Boston Tea Party", the origins of the separatist movement.  This event is remarkable in that it demonstrates to the world the only legitimate reason why separatism should be enacted, it is when government, deliberately, gives an advantage to one section of society to the detriment of another.  footnote .... the argument that the act was to counter smuggling is superficial to say the least.
So where might Spain go from here, it seems that one regional government leader is proposing a winding back of its devolved administrations to gain economies of scale by streamlined regional spending, the spokesperson of this proposal is the leader of the seat of government for Madrid region, which by coincidence is also holds the capital the Spanish capital city of Madrid.  It might be prudent to ask how many jobs would be lost to Madrid if the regions relinquished their various administrations to central government, and how many jobs would migrate to the centre of government.

The Spanish crisis is an opportunity to re-model the governance of this ancient country, an opportunity to present a level of fairness through less government, to allow the seventeen autonomous communities of Spain to determine exactly which "Café para nosotros" is appropriate.  No longer are the words "you can have anything you want, as long as I want to give it" appropriate in the 21st century, regions should be allowed to make their own mistakes, they should be allowed to fail (just make sure the other regions are not underwriting their borrowings).

The crisis could also be the catalyst for other countries throughout the world with distinct regions to create a form of devolved governance that conjoins "separate" with "together", my guess is it closer to the USA model than to the China model.  There might also be a recognition that occasionally a separatist movement might gain a critical mass of such magnitude that mutual separation is the better course of action, Belgium is a prime candidate in this 21st century Europe, Scotland has become a close candidate, as do one or two Spanish regions, China has a peculiar problem with Tibet; a common cause of dissent seems to be a perception of unfairness ........ I am sure this particular hot potato is not beyond the wit of humankind to solve.

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