Never heard of it? Me neither. Only 4% of Andalusian Spaniards think of themselves as a “nation”, and another seven as a “historic nationality”, the quite inaccurate term used in the current regional statute. (Al-Andalús was simply the name of Moslem Spain, whatever its area; as it shrank during the Reconquest, it corresponded roughly to present-day Andalusia only for a few decades around 1220 CE.) The overwhelming majority of Andalusians (63%) are content with the name and status of “autonomous region”. (Data from an editorial in the May 25 English-language edition of “El Pais”, no link I can find.). But the proposal on the table for the regional statute is to upgrade from “historic nationality” to “national reality”, only a semantic whisker away from “nation”.
The depressing competition to give the Andalusians something they don’t want or need results from two things. One is an accident of regional coalition politics. The Socialists (with 61 seats) are bidding for the support of two splinter parties, the far left (7 seats) and regional nationalists (6 seats); it’s unclear why, since they have a working majority over the PP (37 seats) anyway. The other, and more significant, factor is jealousy of the ever greater privileges won by the Catalans and Basques, many of whom really do aim at ultimate independence. It could only ever be a Disneyland independence. The assumption of the regionalists, who have succeeded in breaking up Belgium, is that real policy – on defence, envrironment, immigration, the economy – will be made in Brussels.