All news is spin. And most of it is establishment spin at that.
So here we have the remarkable spectacle of various media outfits informing us that the nationalist parties in Catalonia failed to secure a mandate for a referendum on independence in the regional elections held on Sunday.
According to that purveyor of ignorance that is RTÉ:
“Separatists in Spain’s Catalonia won regional elections yesterday but failed to get a resounding mandate for a referendum on independence.
The referendum had threatened to pile political uncertainty on top of Spain’s economic woes.
Catalan President Artur Mas, who has implemented unpopular spending cuts, had called an early election to test support for his new drive for independence for Catalonia.
Catalonia was handed almost two-thirds of the 135-seat local parliament to four different separatist parties that all want to hold a referendum on secession from Spain.
But they punished the main separatist group, Mr Mas’s Convergence and Union alliance, or CiU, cutting back its seats to 50 from 62.
That will make it difficult for Mas to lead a united drive to hold a referendum in defiance of the constitution and the central government in Madrid.
The result will come as a relief for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.”
With a voter turn-out that was the highest seen in the country since 1998 (some 56.2% of the electorate) Catalan nationalist parties secured a clear majority in the 135-seat legislature of 87 seats. The conservative, centre-right nationalists/regionalists of the ruling CiU emerged as the biggest party again with some 50 seats, a lower figure than their previous record of 62 in a result widely interpreted as a general move in the pro-independence Catalonian electorate towards more avowedly socialist and separatist parties. This was reflected in the surprise doubling of the vote for the left-wing nationalists of the ERC which became the second largest party with 21 seats and a likely coalition partner for the CiU. In addition the pro-independence left-green alliance of the ICV-EUA increased its representation from 10 seats to 13 while the leftist separatist group CUP entered the parliament for the first time with 3 seats.
A total of 48 seats went to Spanish nationalist or “unionists” parties, with even centre-left parties like the once influential PSC loosing seats (down 8 to 20).
Does that sound like a defeat for Catalan nationalism?