Remember when we had our own guerrillas?

Europe's independence movements have, thankfully, gone 'soft'.

On the 18th of September the Scots will vote in a referendum to decide whether they wish to remain part of Great Britain. The outcome is uncertain, but if they decide to go it alone, then Britain will no longer, at least formally, be 'Great' at all. The appellative came into use 300 years ago to describe the "Glorious Union" resulting from the unification of the crowns of Scotland and England.

On November 9th, Catalonia is expected to vote in its own referendum on independence from Spain, a country it has been part of in one way or another since the 15th Century, when the marriage of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile united the two realms.

Whether and exactly how this will take place is still not clear since, while Catalan President Artur Mas is determined to go ahead, as East goes to press the Spanish Government itself is still refusing to recognise the validity of the vote or even the existence of a Catalan right to selfdetermination.

Whatever happens, a violent civil war is not a likely outcome.

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