In English Voices From Spain

Tales and Accounting – Part III: Conclusions

Excerpts from the book: “Las cuentas y los cuentos de la independencia”. Josep Borrell and Joan Llorach. Ed Catarata. 2015 


« […] We have analyzed these issues using verifiable data and arguments that we believe convincing, when not unarguable, that show none of this is true. We have done it because we were painfully tired of listening to the many errors and falsehoods that are the foundation for the arguments that sell this no-cost independence as feasible. There is no such thing. It is presented to us wrapped in false data to calculate the benefits and in the fiction of zero estimated costs.

We have seen how Catalan society has been lied to with a made-up comparison with Germany, the story about the non-existent German fiscal balances. They have told it all over the world in the search for supporters for their cause, without getting anything else than de discredit deserved by someone so poorly informed or with such intention to lie.

[…] Junqueras is deeply mistaken (or maybe lies blatantly?) when he proclaims that Catalans see half of their tax money disappear for the benefit of Spain. His tales about how rich Catalonia would be if it had become independent 25 years ago do not stand a minimal arithmetic analysis.

[…] The sale of this tale to pubic opinion has been a political communication success for secessionists, particularly due to the absence of an opposing voice. But it is a lie as big as that of the German fiscal balances that never existed.

We have seen that, in reality, no central government does such a calculation, and the cited examples are not systematic, they are outdated and in no way validate the method used by the Generalitat, which is how they inflate the fiscal benefits of independence.

[…] We have argued that the fiscal deficit calculated as an approximation to those fiscal benefits is much closer to 5.5% than to the 8.5% claimed by Mas and Junqueras. And we have showed that the real costs that Catalonia would have to asume as an independent state are widely underestimated.

It is also not true that an international comparison justify the affirmation that Catalonia suffers a fiscal pillage. […] the difference is, in the worst case, around 1.5% of GDP; not 8.5%, not €16billion but €3billion. And to correct a problem of that magnitude we need an unilateral declaration of independence?

We have shown that it is false that the “ordinality principle”, as established by the statute of autonomy, is broken. And this is not a matter of opinion but elementary math, as Junqueras demands.

[…] Up to here, the limited analysis that we set up to perform with this book. For lack of space, we have not been able to include all the relevant issues, among them the topic of pensions. But a “Catalan social security” would not be in a better condition than the Spanish one to improve them significantly. We’re afraid that the promise to raise pensions by 10% is based in the same imaginative accounting than the tale of those €16billion […]

We haven’t either considered the positive effects or remaining in Spain for Catalonia. We are aware that secessionist propaganda, and some textbooks used by Catalan kids in their schools, describe Spain as a failed state to be kept away and Catalonia as something different. Certainly, Spain is no panacea. It is a country with problems that were made worse by the crisis, just like in Catalonia. But we believe there too many ties: personal, affective, economic and commercial, for a separation not to be traumatic.

[…] Let us finish the long collection of quotes that we have used to illustrate this book with one from Santiago Roncagliolo, a Peruvian writer living in Barcelona: […]

For decades, its perfect bilingualism was the mark of a cultivated society, proud of itself and open to dialogue at the same time. The protection of Catalan in education was an example for American vernacular languages, before turning into the opposite: an effort to erase the other.

Based on an elevated regard for their own cosmopolitanism, nationalists are building a more parochial society. No matter how big the flags in their squares and stadiums, no matter how loud they shout in Catalan and English. No matter how many embassies they want to open. Their only cultural project is to proudly precipitate Catalonia towards irrelevance. [166]

[The article by Mr. Roncagiolo quoted above was translated by Voices from Spain and it’s available in English and Italian -TN]

[166] El País

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