‘We, who are as good as you, swear to you, who are no better than us, to

accept you as our king and sovereign lord, provided you observe all our

liberties and laws - but if not, not.’

Oath of allegience sworn by Catalans and Aragonese to the Spanish monarch

in Madrid in the 15th century.

We were in Barcelona last weekend and witnessed the other side of the argument. On Saturday the streets were filled with people wearing white shirts and saying one thing; ‘let’s talk.’ No flags, no chanting but the quiet and dignified appeal for a civilised discourse.

Sunday was different. Friends had driven up from Madrid to join those who wish to stay part of Spain. Flags were very much in evidence but normally dual - both Catalan and Spanish waved from the same pole emphasising that to be Spanish does not diminish the sense of being Catalan. The demonstrations were noisy but good humoured. 

It does give hope that this can be settled amicably - despite the headbangers at both extreme.

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