The recent prediction by Spain’s Foreign Minister may be based on a more general dislike of the UK, rather than any rational analysis but is there, possibly, more to it than there seems to be, at first sight? In particular, might a federal solution as an alternative to full separation, favoured by many on the left, be a plausible future for Spain, even after the conflict in Catalunya, but not for the UK?
A prerequisite for an effective federal system is the inability of one group or region to completely dominate the others. This is true of the USA with its multiple power and economic centres including those in New York (North-East), in Texas (South) and in Los Angeles (West). It’s true of Germany too with its power and economic activity dispersed in numerous centres including Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich. It’s not, as we will see, true of the UK.
The population of Spain is relatively dispersed across the country with no one region dominating in the way that England does the UK. The same is true of Germany and the USA with strong federal systems.
Each of Spain’s regions has its own political centre and area of urban concentration. Though Madrid and Barcelona are bigger than most, no one city or region completely dominates in the way that London and South-East England do. Indeed, the centralisation of power, influence and wealth around London is one of the most extreme examples to be found globally, is thus a major obstacle to the federal solution and may well be spinning the other parts of the UK off into independent status of a kind, like that of Ireland, relatively secure, within the EU.