Spanish champion

Alejo Vidal-Quadras has been making a lot of noise about Catalonia

For many Europeans, Alejo Vidal-Quadras was a nobody until last September. Then, overnight, this veteran Spanish politician, and vice-president of the European Parliament, achieved international notoriety by urging military intervention to quell secessionist tendencies in Spain’s autonomous region of Catalonia. His pronouncement would have had less resonance had it not been for the memories it aroused of a moustachioed lieutenant-colonel in a tricorn hat, holding the entire lower house of the Spanish parliament hostage in 1981. That image of Antonio Tejero with his pistol pointed at the elected government retains its power in Spain, and has acquired almost iconic status around the world as a reminder of the fragility of democracy.

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