Turnout: ~42% of those counted (2,262,424), ~56% if including the confiscated ballot boxes (~770,000) out of 5,343,358 registered voters.
Assuming that the vote in “repressed” polling stations was similar, you can turnout * YES = ~51% support for independence, which tallies exactly with the last poll on the basis of which turnout was expected at 62% * expected 83% for YES = ~51%.
The police violence must have merely lowered turnout by around 7% points while raising the YES share of the vote by an analogous amount. That is, it accomplished precisely nothing, while generating horrific headlines and almost certainly hardening Catalan attitudes towards Madrid (which will be expressed soon enough).
Though the competition is certainly stiff, could Rajoy be the single most feckless Western leader?
I will defend Rajoy’s widely-panned “tone-deaf” speech. While the heavy-handed response to the referendum was a very bad idea, his speech, with its clear and unequivocal expression of support for the Guardia Civil, was not.
50% of all Catalan voters were already going to vote Yes, and after today’s events, they must have gained another 10% or 20% points. The local police refuse to obey central commands. They are for all intents and purposes now “lost” to Spain, at least for the time being.
Very soon the time will come when the Catalonian parliament declares independence. At that point, if Spain wishes to remain whole, there will have to be mass arrests of their government and replacement with a caretaker administration. The security forces tasked with carrying this out must be absolutely loyal for the operation to be successful. The sense that the political elites have their backs is a prerequisite of police loyalty. If they feel that they are going to be stabbed in the back by weak politicians concerned at the first signs of pressure, then they are not going to be able to fulfill their orders with the requisite degree of decisiveness and ruthlessness. They are instead going to fold once their encounter serious resistance and Madrid will have no choice but to make its peace with an independent Catalonia.
This is what happened with Yanukovych in the Ukraine in 2013-14, who stabbed the security men charged with keeping his regime in power in the back by refusing to provide them support once things got too hot. This totally demoralized them and ensured the triumph of the Euromaidan.
In opinion polls, Spaniards consistently tie with Swedes for the most liberal positions in areas like LGBT and immigration in Europe. But today it’s as if they’ve all gone hardcore Falangist on Catalan separatism, at least judging from the Spanish responses to the Catalonia discussion on /r/europe. Not really much to say here, just an observation. I assume there remain “triggers” such as seeing the prospect of rebellion that awaken primal reflexes in even the most derooted peoples.
So far as Western countries go, I suppose Spain deserves this far less than most. It was the only major Western country not to recognize Kosovo, even though in most other respects it toed the American line on bombing Serbia, the embargo, no-fly zone, etc. Still, credit where it’s due.
Eurocrats and Globalism Inc. are predictably unanimous in opposing Catalan separatism. This is perfectly understandable. Spain is part of NATO. The loss of Spain’s biggest donor region will hit its revenues and perhaps reignite its simmering debt crisis.
Curiously, the Alt Right (Spencer wing) is also skeptical about Catalonia. As with their opposition to Brexit, they decry the indulgence of petty nationalisms as obstacles to global white unity; besides, as they point out, Catalonia is liberal-leftist even by Spanish standards, so why should nationalists support them anyway? So that they can invite in refugees even faster? This is, of course, in their eyes buttressed by Catalonia’s historical role as the heartland of the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War.
Leaving aside the merits of their ideological slant, this begs a couple of counter-arguments. First, does this mean that only “based” nations should have a right to national self-determination? Because there are very few such European countries left, anyway. Second, as Alt Left points out, getting rid of political dead weight (e.g. California in the US) would actually raise the ability of the rest of the country to push forwards the sort of political change that the Alt Right advocates.
At a formal level, it need hardly be said that Russia needs to maintain the principle of absolute state sovereignty with respect to Madrid. However, it is also evidently in its interests for its soft power interests to approach the Catalan referendum with “understanding.” After all, if the Catalonia referendum does carry a certain legitimacy, then how are the repeated referendums for greater autonomy and/or independence any less so? Who are Westerners who shut down a peaceful vote with rubber bullets to lecture Russia about democracy anyway?
Besides, the one certitude in our age of Russian Hackers and Fake News is that Russia is going to be held responsible anyway. Putin is no longer just the God of the Ukraine, responsible for all its mishaps and zradas; he is now Lord and Master of the American Empire and its satellites, puppetting everything and everyone from Drumpf and the Alt Right to BLM and Take the Knee and Catalan separatists. Since it’s doing time anyway, Russia might as well start doing the crime.