I was following this story over the weekend and my view has gone from "well it's a prosperous region, with a bit of autonomy, they aren't going to vote for disruption" to "Um, if the Spanish government wan't to boost the independence vote, they've gone the right way about it". I'm broadly of the view that if a region really doesn't want to be part of a bigger country they should be allowed to do their own thing and I don't see why national governments need to automatically oppose them. There are local factors at play here. I can't imagine the UK deploying battalions of riot police from Essex or Birmingham to go and smash their way into Scottish poling stations. I know that there is a history of riot police being drawn from one region to deal with trouble in another. A Basque friend did once describe the civil guard who were send in to crack heads after a local feast day as something like "Big lads from (some rural region, somewhere) who's mothers never hugged them" or something like that.... I'm also a bit worried that the EU may be seen to be taking a more deferential approach to the Spanish government than it would with the newer members from Central Europe when they take an illiberal approach at home.