THEY say the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
Judging by the way the rain fell in Barcelona today perhaps the old rules no longer apply to the breakaway Catalan state.
Joe Wallen headed out to the Plaza del Rey to speak with Barcelonians on the eve of their historic referendum to understand the mood on the streets before we enter the electoral home straight.
The opinions below demonstrate the fascinating cross section of attitudes in what is potentially Europe’s youngest capital city.
Cesar Zamarillo, 38. ‘We (me and my wife) were not going to vote because frankly we think the whole thing has been organised in an illegal way. While I sympathise with the Catalonian independence movement and are strong in our Catalan identities it is not the right time or the right method. However, we have changed our minds completely the last week. This is totally because of the way that the Madrid government has treated Catalonia. We may well vote Si now.’
Herman Diaz, 27. ‘I am from Valladolid in the West of Spain and so I am not a Catalan. I have many friends here too who are not Catalan. We are worried about our future in Catalonia if it is independent, if the identity will increase and there will not be a place for us. I don’t speak Catalan but more now I feel I have to. I hope Spain stays one.’
Maria Bucher Varroso, 34. ‘We have waited long enough for this day. To be honest with you it is very difficult because we have never had this before, this freedom from Spain, not for many hundreds of years before. My mother is Swiss and they have always been independent but we never have been, it is unknown this future. I will be voting Si though. The reason? Because I want more control over how we spend our money, the rest of Spain benefits too much from our wealth. If we are independent I think there will be more money for Catalans.’
Luisa Morracon, 46. ‘I am a Catalan always. I have lived here all my life and for me we are already independent. When people ask me where are you from, I say Catalonia not Spain. My children they are Catalan not Spanish. This vote lets me show this properly to the whole world, this is who I am and these are our people here.’
Montserrat Capucho Gonzalez, 19. ‘No, no, no. It is easy to get involved with voting yes. All my friends say they will vote yes but really I think many feel they must say this you know, or else people will look down on them. There is definitely pressure on young people to vote Si but for me I think we are doing fine as it is. Why do we need to change that, we can work with Madrid on our own terms.’
James Christiansen, 52. ‘I totally oppose the Catalonian referendum. I’m British and I live in Barcelona with my wife who is French. Our kids at school are taught in Catalan and are not encouraged to speak traditional Spanish. This is only going to cause problems for them in the future. I know many other expats hold the same view. It’s a narrow language and my children will struggle to find work in other parts of Spain. It’s gone too far, it’s for the sake of it now.’
Estel and Josep Almaguer Terres, 78 and 83. ‘For us we will be voting yes. We think Madrid has too much control of our money. The rest of Spain they are lazy, they do not work like we do here but they get the benefits. We deserve more, a better life even though we are old.’
Jordi Felipe, 24. ‘For me the way the Spanish have treated us since this has happened has made me feel sick, it shows to me that they think we are different than them, worse than them, even though we give much more. I have a friend of mine, he works in the police here and he says he has been treated like he is a second class by police from outside of here since it all happened. I think it will be a shame to break up you know, but we are being forced to have no choice but to want this.’
Regardless of the outcome of the vote tomorrow, it is clear for both the Si and No voters there are clear issues that need to be resolved whether as one nation or as neighbouring states. Over to you Prime Minister Rajoy…