A Labor leadership candidate has claimed that the United Kingdom should “look at Catalonia” to get lessons on how to defeat Scottish nationalism.
Lisa Nandy made the comments when she argued that a “social justice agenda” could defeat “divisive nationalism.”
Hundreds of people were injured when the Spanish authorities used force to try to stop the disputed referendum of independence in Catalonia in 2017.
Nicola Sturgeon said people would be “mortified” by Nandy’s comments.
And the only Labor deputy from Scotland, Ian Murray, warned all candidates in the party leadership contest that they should not “come to Scotland and talk about things you’re not sure of.”
In an interview with Andrew Neil Show of the BBC, Nandy said that socialists around the world had been “beaten again and again” by the nationalists.
She added: “We should look out to other countries and other parts of the world where they have had to deal with divisive nationalism and try to discover the lessons where, in these brief moments of history in places like Catalonia and Quebec, we have managed to go and beat narrow divisive nationalism with a social justice agenda. “
- Catalonia’s dispute with Spain explained
The Wigan deputy was challenged by Neil, who told him that the SNP nationalism mark is not “extreme right” and instead goes “hand in hand with social justice.”
Ms. Nandy responded by arguing that it is in the best interest of the SNP to maintain the discussion about independence because that meant that no one in Scotland was “paying attention to her record, which is frankly frightening.”
And he said he doesn’t want another vote on independence, since “I think this country has had enough referendums.”
In a referendum on October 1, 2017, which was declared illegal by the Constitutional Court of Spain, approximately 90% of the voters supported Catalan independence, although the majority of independence opponents boycotted the vote, and the participation was only 43%.
The referendum was marred by violent clashes when police used batons and fired rubber bullets in an attempt to prevent them from moving forward.
Nine Catalan independence leaders were subsequently imprisoned between nine and 13 years for their role in organizing the vote, and the sentences prompted further violent clashes between police and protesters.
In a blog post published after the interview, Nandy said that the Socialists in Catalonia have “peacefully resisted the advance of the separatists there for years.”
And he argued that “recent indications suggest that his democratic efforts may be successful” and that there are “hopeful signs of his approach to socialism and solidarity, which contrasts with the unjustified violence we saw of the Spanish police operating under the instruction of The then right-wing prime minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, can still win. “
Ms. Nandy’s comments were raised in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, and Ms. Sturgeon said she assumed that the Labor deputy “has not paid attention to what has really happened in Catalonia in recent times.”
The prime minister added: “If I had, I surely would not have suggested that there are positive lessons to learn from that.”
“Maybe Lisa Nandy should take the opportunity to clarify exactly what she meant, acknowledge the concern she has caused and maybe even apologize for that.”
Meanwhile, Murray indicated his dissatisfaction over Ms. Nandy’s intervention when he formally launched his campaign for deputy party leadership.
The deputy from southern Edinburgh told reporters: “I say this to all the leadership candidates and vice president: please do not come to Scotland and talk about things you are not sure about.”
Ms. Nandy is one of five candidates who remain in the contest to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labor leader, and the winner will be announced on April 4.