On the ceiling of the Spanish Supreme Court Room there is a mural showing Justice delivering her punishment on odious looking villains- a murder, a rapist, a thief and a woman committing infanticide. Under that mural sat the accused, but they were not child killers or rapists, they were 12 Catalan political and civic leaders on trial for their part in organising the Catalan independence referendum. Two have been held in custody since that autumn awaiting a trial and a verdict. Behind the formal correctness of the court and the politeness with which we were received lay something almost surreal.
DAAD India | Website of the DAAD Regional Office in New Delhi
This is a political trial in a state which claims to have no political prisoners. A political problem, the relation between Spain and Catalonia, is being decided in a criminal court by judges including political appointees. Sitting on the prosecution benches are two legal representatives of the fascist Vox Party. On Thursday they said little but their presence is sinister. At the close of day as they left three bodyguards waited for them.
As we entered the court the defendants were already there.
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We exchanged waves, thumbs up and victory signs with old friends: Carme Forcadell, former Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Jordi Cuixart, President of Omnium, the mass cultural organisation, and former Catalan foreign affairs minister, Raul Romeva. Carme is as elegant as ever but looks drawn and fragile, that last is not true she is of stout Catalan peasant stock with all its rich history of resistance. He sits informally to the ire of court staff.
Romeva is dressed as sharply as always and looks fit. He has just been elected to the Spanish Senate.
The prosecution cannot seem to grasp that there was no cost attached to using publicly owned buildings like schools as polling stations. Advocates argue that these rules prevent politicians from doing favours for their buddies in the private sector, thus discriminating against other companies, whether they be at home or abroad. Land can be bought up not to use productively, but simply to prevent competitors getting hold of it. Furthermore, if we look at the economy through the lens of climate change, the idea that the state should not intervene strategically to control and direct key aspects of production and investment is positively deranged.
Looked at in that way, it is a major problem that state aid rules essentially forbid a Green New Deal, which is all about the state intervening selectively in the economy to overhaul infrastructure, make housing and transport energy efficient and so forth.
India in the World Order: Many Partners, No Allies
Lauren Dingsdale, a prospective Labour candidate in Middlesbrough and former lawyer specialising in European Competition Law, has argued on Twitter that this is exactly what the Tories are up to in the case of British Steel, with Business Secretary Greg Clark repeatedly referring to EU state aid rules to down-play his power over the future of the company. Many other EU countries intervene in their own economies to a far greater extent than Britain does but do not always fall foul of state aid rules, finding a way around them.
The company is still on the verge of closure if no new contracts can be found. But French energy giant EDF own the site, and it looks like they are going to give most of the contract to an Indonesian firm rather than Bifab.
Brave New Europe
There is much more to the UK University Strike than meets the eye. However, the conception of the world order which India seeks to assert in global politics is not necessarily congruent with the values and interests of the West. Hence, at present India is not a natural partner for the United States and Europe. However, the country has not simply abandoned the key reference points and principles of its foreign policy.
Chris Bambery – Spain’s Political Prisoners are the EU’s Ignominy
In particular, it opposes the Western hegemony in world politics and does not want to be merely co-opted into the Western-liberal world order, wishing instead to pursue its own world-order policy. Preserving the autonomy of its foreign and security policy remains a principal objective.
India wants to maintain its decision-making authority and avoid alliance-like relationships.
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It is therefore seeking strategic partnerships with all the relevant actors in international politics. At the same time, India is shying away from overly close or one-sided relations with other countries such as the United States. India conceives of itself as a bridging power in an increasingly pluralist international system.
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Despite its democracy and the economic opening-up after the end of the Cold War, India is not a natural partner of the West. Western industrialised states should thus be prepared for India to represent different interests and norms in various policy fields. Die Weltordnung befindet sich im Umbruch. Stuenkel Politik und Wissenschaft sind auf diesen Umbruch jedoch nur unzureichend vorbereitet.