The scenes from Barcelona on the news this morning were incredibly distressing. Seeing images of women being pulled from voting stations by their hair and people desperately trying to hold onto ballot boxes which are literally being ripped from their arms by riot police is something which cannot and must not be ignored by the rest of Europe. Article Seven of the European Union treaty suggests that any member state found to be using violence against its own people should be suspended. It has never yet been triggered, although Poland and Hungary have sailed fairly close to that particular wind, the latter for its treatment of migrants.
Of course the issue of Catalonia is a complicated one. I'm sure many Catalonians want to remain a part of Spain, and an independence referendum with a turn out of considerably fewer than 50% needs to be treated with caution. But the Spanish government's brutal response to the referendum is an absolute own goal. If I were Catalan and in two minds about whether independence was the right thing, I would almost certainly think it was now. The Spanish leaders, probably out of fear, have shown complete contempt for their own people, and a flagrant disregard for the democratic process.
...And then there's what happened in Las Vegas last night. A group of young people at a country music festival simply mown down. No doubt it will do nothing to encourage the Americans to tighten gun controls. I am astounded that they appear to be so collectively incapable of seeing the irony here. Americans are utterly obsessed with terrorism but apparently happy to equip their own people with the tools to tear each other apart, seemingly without the excuse of a religious ideology.
In other news, I started recording Em in the studio today. We're working at Julian's wife's vicarage in Crouch End which I can walk to. It's actually a most agreeable walk. We both live within a stone's throw of Parkland Walk, a fabulous nature reserve which follows the route of an abandoned railway line which once ran from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace via Highgate.