I wanted to find some good standalone stories to start this blog, but it’s hard – a lot of the articles I’ve read over the last few days give the latest developments in narratives that run back a long way.
The lead in today’s (21 July) edition of El País is the publication of the latest in a series of opinion polls that appears to show a continued fall in public support for Catalan independence, some two months ahead of the referendum (due to take place on 1 October but contested by Spain’s national government). The figures for and against independence now stand at 41% and and 49% respectively. The same poll has been tracking opinion against a wider range of options, and shows quite a lot of support for a federal-type future for Catalonia, as an alternative to outright independence and continuation of the status-quo. We shall see.
El País has also been covering the funeral of Miguel Blesa, the disgraced former President of Caja Madrid, one of Spain’s oldest savings banks, whose body was found near a hunting lodge on Wednesday. The paper reports that family members seem to be coming to terms with the suicide verdict confirmed by authorities after an autopsy yesterday. Blesa was facing a six-year prison sentence for his role in an expenses scandal at the bank, although he had, controversially, been released pending an appeal. This is another story which is likely to run and run, given the seriousness of the case (the paper describes it as the worst financial scandal in recent times).