Over the past three months the level of concern among Spaniards about the proposed independence of Catalonia has tripled, but it is still only 9th on the list of people’s greatest worries.
Some surveys suggest that more than half of people in Spain are in favour of a mutually agreed referendum. But opinions vary considerably:
One man told us: “I’ve noticed that some customers won’t buy Catalan products.” And added: “I think there are a lot of people in Catalonia who feel Spanish and that should be the subject of dialogue, within the whole legal framework.”
But not everyone agrees. A Spanish woman explain: “I would be totally open to dialogue and sometimes when I say that, people on both sides get uncomfortable.” And she said she had a lot of sympathy with those who backed the referendum. “I may also want independence, I think if I were Catalan I would like it too, I’m not sure, but I really understand them,” she said.
Raphael Minder has been a correspondent of the New York Times in Spain for seven years and author of the book “The Struggle For Catalonia” and has considerable knowledge of the issues facing the country.
“I have met many people who have explained to me that they are really sad, sad just to see what is happening. Because they don’t really understand it and their daily lives aren’t about independence,” he said.
“They’re about concrete issues like finding a job, and good schools. At the moment we haven’t arrived at what I call the real fracture point and I hope we never get there. Where people not only refuse to talk to each other but actually want to hit each other. I really hope it doesn’t get to that.”