Saturday, December 19, 2009

Catalan Democracy

In Catalonia the regional Parliament has taken a step towards banning the bullfight in the region. They have approved for Parliamentary process a private initiative with 180,000 signatures. It still has a long way to go, and may not make it. Fan though I am of bullfighting, I am a much bigger fan of democracy, and if the elected representatives of the people are genuinely responding to the popular will then I would accord it a cautious welcome. But...

They probably aren't responding to anything of the kind, in fact. They are responding to a pressure group which has been very active in getting forms signed, but it is true that bullfighting has never been popular in Catalonia. Now there is only one active bullring in the whole region, a magnificent one, it's true, and it is only used a few times a year, but there has never been serious opposition, just lack of interest.

That this is all political manouevring and points-scoring is shown by the fact that it is the 'corridas' they are trying to ban, which, as I say, have little support in the region, and not the 'correbous', a local tradition involving bulls on ropes in the streets, goaded and attacked by the people, or thrown into the sea. That is a popular custom at festival time, and they daren't touch it, despite being at times genuinely cruel, which the bullfight really isn't.

No, the cause of this little rant is not the possible demise of bullfighting in Catalonia, but the disturbing fact that the Parliamentary vote was held in secret. That tells you all you need to know about democracy in Catalonia.

3 comments:

mistiparnell said...
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Perry de Havilland said...

I am not a great fan of unfettered democracy myself really, on the basis that a tyranny of the majority is still a tyranny. Democracy works well as long as it is bound hand and foot by a constitution that prevents people actually voting to impose their wishes on anyone else.

The only justifiable 'vote' against bullfighting is 'voting' to not attend bullfights if you don't like the damn things. People need to get past thinking they have some right to force people to act the way they want to act and associate with people they want to associate with on walled-off property (at a bullfight, for example)

CIngram said...

@Perry de Havilland

Thanks for dropping by. The reason I like democracy is that it seems to give the best results of any system that is actually realizable. Fot it is written: Where two or three are gathered together in the name of equality and freedom, one will soon start bossing the others around.

A libertarian utopia, nice though it sounds, is not, I fear, on offer. But the problem of how to stop a majority (of legislators, if not of the public) from abusing their temporary power to tyrannize the minority is indeed a serious one. It isn't helped here by having a closed list system for elections, meaning that MP's are even less answerable to the public than they are in Britain.

Your second paragraph exresses perfectly a simple truth that many people completely fail to understand.