Today saw something historically unusual, the expulsion of a member party from one of the European political groupings, as PdeCAT (the Catalan European Democratic Party) were the subject of an extraordinary ALDE Party Council meeting in Brussels.
As I’m no longer one of the Party’s Council delegation due to not being Welsh (it’s a long story...), I wasn’t there, but there is an element of sadness to what was an overwhelming vote to expel them. There seems to be little suggestion that they have become anyone other than a liberal grouping, but the links to their discredited predecessor movement, accused of serious corruption in office, were seemingly too great to be ignored.
I’m not an expert on the politics of Spain, although there were always thought to be issues retaining Ciudadanos and any pro-Catalan independence group in the same organisation. And, if forced to choose, big picture politics would tend towards favouring the bigger of the two. I’m not suggesting that there was any pressure to choose a side, and suspect that, had there been any, the vote to expel would have been rather closer.
But the crossover between its predecessor, CDC, and the new grouping, with key figures in common, meant trouble as soon as accusations of corruptions became prosecutions. No wider political grouping wants to be tainted by association, and excision became the obvious outcome.
So, no more Catalans, and a marker sent out to any member parties who might have issues amongst their senior leadership. Let’s hope that ALDE doesn’t have to do such a thing again too soon...