1. Exquisite Tweets from @JeremyCliffe

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    Some observations from Madrid on the Catalan crisis:

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    1/ The king's speech, made after close consultation with Rajoy, suggests govt will invoke Article 155 of the constitution imminently.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    2/ Puigdemont, centre-right Catalan president leading minority alliance with extreme nationalists, will speak in 1.5 hours. UDI impending.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    3/ On one hand he doesn't want to squander international goodwill created by Sunday's violence (amplified by anti-EU types like Farage...).

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    4/ On other hand, P is cowed by growing street bodies like the "national assembly", which increasingly call shots in nationalist movement.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    5/ Having opportunistically "othered" Spain & ridden roughshod over its pluralist, democratic constitution, P is reaping what he sowed...

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    6/ Here in Madrid, Rajoy is increasingly under attack from right-wing politicians and press for not confronting Puigdemont sooner.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    7/ Meanwhile ever more Spanish flags are going up at windows, balconies. Much anecdotal evidence of rising anti-Catalan mood.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    8/ A.155 should be followed by fresh Catalan elections & restoration of full home rule. But may intensify polarisation before that point.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    9/ This is already being called the biggest crisis for post-Franco Spain since "23F" (the attempted military coup in 1981).

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    10/ The king's constitutionally proper but politically provocative speech undermines him as mediator. 3 forces remain that could arbitrate:

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    11/ 1st: is non-secessionist left: PSOE & Podemos. Though former is caught between compromising instincts & keen loyalty to constitution.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    12/ Ada Colau, Podemos-backed Barcelona mayor, is performing delicate balancing act; wholly siding neither with nationalists nor Madrid.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    13/ 2nd force is EU. Has reasons not to wade into a domestic dispute with fault on both sides. But it might well need to.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    14/ 3rd force would be balanced team of domestic political & legal greybeards, as (persuasively) proposed here: amp.ft.com/content/159b2e…

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    15/ The tragedy: there's broad middle ground. Most Catalans don't want full secession. Most Spaniards could live with constitutional reform.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe

    16/16 Irresponsibility on both sides leaving that centre ground scandalously underrepresented. Things may get worse before they get better.

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    JeremyCliffe

    Jeremy Cliffe