CNN – Scotland leads charge as Europe’s separatists push for change
Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, is fond of saying that when the United Nations was first formed in 1945, it had just 50 members. Today, he adds, that figure has risen to almost 200. It’s a nice line, although in reality the emergence of a new nation remains relatively rare.
But there does seem to be a pattern emerging, in Europe and beyond. In Spain (Catalonia) and Belgium (Flanders), as well as the United Kingdom (Scotland), secessionist movements appear to be on the rise. All three have existed for decades, yet they seem particularly lively in the second decade of the 21st century.
Thus Salmond, who this weekend addresses delegates at the Scottish National Party’s annual conference in the Scottish city of Perth, likes to talk of Scotland’s “home rule journey” being part of a bigger international trend. His point is clear: “independence,” far from being dangerous or unusual, is a natural state of affairs.
Professor Robert Young, an expert in secession, says all three countries have a history of regional — or devolved — government (relatively recently in the case of the UK). “I was considering the old question,” he says, “about whether regional government structures aid or inhibit secessionist movements.
Read @ CNN