Basque prime minister Juan José Ibarretxe, in an act of stunning irresponsibility, declared today that the Basque Country would hold a referendum on a hypothetical "pact with the central government on the political normalization of Euskadi," to be held October 25, 2008. What Ibarretxe announced, therefore, is not a straight-out referendum on the question of self-determination, which would be anticonstitutional.
Rather, Ibarretxe proposes to negotiate bilaterally with Madrid in order to reach an agreement on "political normalization." Whatever that is. If an agreement is reached, then the referendum will serve to confirm the people's consent. However, of course, no agreement will be reached, since the more extreme wing of Ibarretxe's party, the PNV, has forced the moderate wing into submission, and Ibarretxe's demands will therefore be unacceptable to any central government, especially if the PP wins the general election coming up at the beginning of 2008.
If no agreement is reached, then the purpose of the referendum will be "to overcome the blockage." Uh, excuse me, no referendum held only in the Basque Country is valid for the rest of Spain, and it doesn't matter if they all vote to flap their arms and fly to the moon, it won't count for anything. Secession is not permitted by the Spanish Constitution.
Of course, we already know what the results of any referendum would be, anyway, since the Basques hold them every few years or so already. They're called elections. Never has there been a pro-independence majority.