Eight years ago support for independence in Catalonia stood at just 12 per cent. These days the figure has risen to about 48 per cent. The simple answer is that there has been a breakdown of dialogue which will have important consequences for the future. Some believe that there is no way back, and almost half the population, including the regional government, support a split from Spain. But things could have been very different if the Spanish government had acted in a different way. Instead of using bully-boy tactics and trying to end the push for independence by force through the judiciary and the police, the Spanish government should have sat down with the independence movement and had a fluid dialogue. The government could have given them a referendum on independence which the stay camp would probably have won. But no. And now what does the Spanish government do?

Yes, there can be more dialogue but the stakes are much higher. The independence movement has grown dramatically and will continue to do so unless the government takes action in the form of greater home rule for Catalonia or even a referendum. Prime Minister Sanchez appears to have a more relaxed attitude towards Catalonia but so far he has failed to stop the independence movement. The crisis in Catalonia is affecting the Spanish economy so something must be done. It is such a shame because things could have been very different.