Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

Catalonia

ballot-box

Yesterday I got back from a holiday – the only time of the year where I switch off from the world.  I turned on my phone to see with horror what was happening in #Catalonia.

The actions of the Spanish authorities were shocking. Images beamed around the world of police violence against young and old alike who simply wanted to cast a democratic vote.  I’m in awe of the voters who remained peaceful and dignified throughout. The image of a Catalan policeman in tears as he protected their rights will stay with me for a long time.

This isn’t about party politics. It isn’t about independence or nationalism in any form. It’s about democracy. Under the UN Charter, all peoples have the right to self-determination – the right to determine their own destiny. The right to vote should be something anyone who believes in democracy stands up for and defends.

But I am angry at the response from the UK Foreign Office:

“The referendum is a matter for the Spanish government and people. We want to see Spanish law and the Spanish constitution respected and the rule of law upheld. Spain is a close ally and a good friend, whose strength and unity matters to us.”

Really? No condemnation of the brutality and violence?  Simply you’re our pal so we support you. As Nicola Sturgeon responded last night - A true friend of Spain would tell them their actions are wrong.

And the EU has been worryingly silent. Given it is a union founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, surely there must now be a question mark over whether Spain is fulfilling its EU treaty obligations.

Ultimately these actions will only fuel the desire for autonomy in Catalonia. Today the Catalonian Government has declared that the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic. This isn’t over.

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Monday, 11 December 2017

Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
30 November 2017
My work for you in Edinburgh East
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I used my Evening News column this month to talk about fireworks following the extreme antisocial behaviour on bonfire night. I've also written to the Minister asking for the UK Government to toughen up licensing laws. And if they aren't willing to do that, devolve power over fireworks to the Scottish Parliament so they can act. Read the full article here.

 

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Media
All over Scotland last weekend families enjoyed watching the fireworks.  The spectacle of fire and colour brought happiness to many – young and old. The same was true in Edinburgh. All over the city – and especially at Meadowbank – majestic displays thrilled the crowds.But in a few parts of the city a tiny minority set out to cause havoc and intimidate local people. In a few places in north and ea...