The long-gone referendum on the British exit from the European Union has recently become a subject of very active discussion. It would seem that there is nothing to talk about here, since the results of the referendum have long been summed up, the Brexit supporters have already celebrated their victory, and the British willing to remain in the European Union, having reconciled themselves with the results of the vote, can slowly plan their future in a changed country or think about moving to one from almost three dozen nearby states that are not going to leave the EU. However, in this case, a simple and understandable democratic procedure gave rise to a development of events, not expected by the laws of logic.
It started a long dispute into which all the new participants are being drawn. Suffice it to say that in the subreddit, devoted to Brexit, that is the section on the reddit.com discussion site, from about the middle of summer many new participants have appeared, and their number continues to grow rapidly, promising to exceed four thousand by the New Year. Today there are 3842 of them, which is a sign of the increased interest of the society towards what will be Britain after March 29, 2019, when it parts with many familiar and comfortable living conditions within the framework of one big country, which the EU in many ways has actually already become and what it is, apparently, is striving to become more definitively in the foreseeable future.
Surprisingly, in resonance with Brexit Catalonia's desire to exit from Spain was proclaimed. This is no longer a way out from the political European Union, which has so far been perceived more as a conditionality than as a historical reality, but the real reshaping of the borders of a European country. The steam of separation from Spain has long been accumulating under the cover of the Catalan boiler, but for some reason burst out as a referendum on independence precisely this autumn. More than 90 percent of those who came to vote answered "yes" to the question of whether they want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic. 7.83 percent voted against such a development, which allows speaking of the almost unanimous desire of the Catalans to become citizens of a country separate from Spain. This is not nearly the same number of those who voted in favor of Brexit and those who voted against it - there are no any doubts in the opinions` ratio here - Catalonia simply does not want to be Spain.
As often happens in such cases, Spain also does not want Catalonia to be not Spain. Alas, the results of the referendum did not persuade the Spanish authorities that they were already out of the way with the Catalans, and the movement for secession came up against the police force's resistance. It would seem that there is nothing easier than to part civilized, as the famous European subtle customs require, while maintaining trade and business relations, and continue to live together, not in the common borders, but in a neighborly way. This simplest and most natural solution for some reason was not accepted by the Spanish ruling elite. Seeing with what persistence they suppress the common desire of the Catalans to become residents of an independent country, one can very likely expect that this action will cause outrage and no less opposition, and therefore even those Catalans who have not yet decided on their territorial and administrative preferences at sight of the police coming out on the historical stage will surely change their mind in favor of an independent Catalonia.
It can be said that in Europe, which for a long time has been represented by propagandists as a single and indivisible political organism, acting under the guidance of one for all its countries idea of economic prosperity and the rule of democracy, tendencies of separation and isolation were manifested. The British are not satisfied with the policy of the "center" in matters of immigration, the Catalans are not satisfied with the idea of being citizens of Spain further on. These significant for the modern political life phenomena may seem somewhat strange to an observer devoid of sentiments. After all, neither Britain nor Catalonia will be able to physically separate and move away from the European Union and Spain - they will still be in their eternal geographical places, which probably occupied before the appearance of the first homo sapiens on Earth. These are not compartments of the space station, which can, if necessary, undock and go their own way into the vast Universe. Britain will still have to adjoin the mainland, and Catalonia - to be a neighbor of Spain unwilling to let it go.
Outwardly everything will remain as before, however, the relations between these subjects will change, which, as both referendums showed, went into a dead end at best, and at worst worsened up to the emergence of insurmountable contradictions. And it is difficult to say hearing snide talk that wanting to preserve the benefits of membership in the European Union during the transition period, Britain "wants to have a cake and eat it at the same time", as well as seeing Catalans beaten by the Spanish police, that Europe is an example of a civilized society, which should be an example to the rest of the world, or at least to its unreasonable and "junior" representatives from the camp of developing countries. Europe is not united, and its subjects are striving for isolation. It has different ideas on how to live on, and opponents do not show an ardent desire to quickly find a compromise, so as not to offend each other and lay the foundation for mutually beneficial relations within the new political reality. Europe is not a showcase of a democratic social order since representatives of its ruling circles are using force to suppress socially and politically motivated movements that do not suit them.
As Brexit procedure and Madrid's reaction to the Catalan referendum showed, Europe is a tangle of contradictions, and not always they are resolved in a democratic way. Beautiful words about extremely civilized and socially oriented Europe came across reality in the form of the stubbornness of European politicians who do not want to meet requests to give Britain the opportunity to make a soft exit from the European Union, allowing to simplify significantly the terms of cooperation between post-Brexit Britain and EU member states. Even though Britain remains an important trading partner of the European Union after March 29, 2019, and even after March 29, 2119, Brussels` politicians are slow to lay the foundation for the relationship that will quickly and easily solve numerous future problems of political and trade-economic interaction.
In a sharper form, Madrid is equally reluctant to negotiate, although Catalonia, in any form of its political structure, will remain an important business and trade partner of Spain. So, it was not true what propaganda speeches told that Europe has become almost the new center of the civilized world, the legislator of political morality, the standard of democratic relations. In fact, Europe consists of rather self-interested political actors who, conducting negotiations, are slow to make concessions that promise future benefits, but prefer to defend their current interests, using brute physical force, arrests of opposition politicians, ignoring the results of an almost unanimous referendum. It does not bode well for Europe. On the contrary, this phenomenon serves as a basis for assuming that Europe will enter an era of internal struggle, sometimes ruthless, for both economic and political interests.