As long as the UK remains a fully paid-up member of the 28-member European Union it seems fair that the government should have a position on Catalonia’s recent move toward greater autonomy. Which in recent weeks, has grown beyond simple autonomy within the Spanish federal government architecture to seeking full independence, but the attempt has since been knocked down by the Spanish authorities.
Had the UK passed the Brexit threshold by now, it would be difficult indeed for the British government to have any public opinion at all as it then becomes a very different thing. It’s fair comment to opine on the internal politics of a fellow EU member state, but it is quite another for a non-member to criticize the goings-on in a foreign country.
For that reason, it’s well within Theresa May’s purview as the Prime Minister of a paid-up member of the European Union to comment on issues Catalonia.
Nigel Farage MEP certainly didn’t hold back from informing his viewers about his opinions on the Catalonian situation and it’s difficult to find flaws in his argument. See video here.
Certainly, it was a tragedy that 900 mainly peaceful protesters were injured and/or arrested by Spanish federal police, although many of those charges against protesters may be dropped in exchange for the much more serious charges against the police being dropped.
Look for this to happen on a case-by-case basis. Many of the police are reputed to have used excessive force against the (most probably annoying, but otherwise peaceful) protesters.
Until such times as Britain is no longer an EU member state, the UK and its citizens have every right to comment on the unfortunate Catalonian situation, but after Brexit I hope the UK government feels constrained about commenting, as it will then be a comment on the internal affairs of a political bloc (the EU) a sovereign nation within the EU (Spain) and a state within that nation (Catalonia)
“What Goes Around, Comes Around”
This has been true since the universe began and were the British government to attempt to unduly affect the outcome (either way) in Catalonia, eventually it could work against the United Kingdom and conceivably against the Commonwealth as there are rumours from time to time about disaffection among jurisdictions in either entity.
Therefore, it’s best for the UK government to comment in good form only and avoid trying to make political hay against the EU bloc simply because some in the UK may have other frustrations with them.
Hey, they’re frustrated too. It isn’t a one-way street. Let’s just get the Brexit done and not unduly antagonize the EU Parliament or its individual member states in the meantime, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because that works better for the UK in the long run.