How to save a Union

The situation in Catalonia has become troubling. The Spanish Government’s decision to suspend local autonomy and the response by the Catalonian Parliament to declare independence must be frightening for people living in a country that had a Civil War in the 20th Century. In these tense circumstances there is little that a British politician can say other than to hope that the two sides will be able to come together peacefully. It would be wrong to presume to offer solutions to so complex and sensitive a situation but it is interesting to consider how the United Kingdom avoided the same level of angst over its own separatist difficulty.

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Kurds and Catalans

The British have a long history of sympathizing with underdogs. The Hungarian revolutionary Laslo (or Louis) Kossuth was feted when he visited Britain in 1851. By contrast, furious brewery workers pursued his nemesis, the Austrian general Haynau, along Borough High Street when he came to London a few years later.

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