Spain’s government will not give way on Catalonia. The next step may ruin the province or boost the rebel cause

For years there were warnings of the impending “train crash” in Catalonia, but nothing was done to prevent it. As a result, horrified Spaniards have now spent three weeks watching a slow-motion collision that became dramatically worse with the decision to impose direct rule from Madrid.

While leaders on both sides blame each other, there is growing anger at the inability of either to swallow their pride and take a step back. “Now that we are at the cliff edge, it seems that there is no option but to step over it,” Fernando Garea, a veteran commentator at El Confidencial online newspaper, wrote. “We can then continue arguing from the bottom of the gorge.”

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