Violence may not lead to independence, research reveals


COUNTRIES that have a past of peaceful struggles are more likely to gain independence, new research has revealed.

A study carried out at the University of St Andrews examines the effects of politics around Europe following the Scottish independence referendum last year.

The report, titled Scotland and Separatism: Reverberations of the Scottish Independence Referendum on Separatist Politics, found interesting parallels between violence and independence.

The research was carried out at the University of St Andrews
The research was carried out at the University of St Andrews


Author Dr Kieran McConaghy, of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, found that areas such as Northern Ireland and the Basque Country, where terrorism had been used in the fight for independence, were actually further away from their goal than Scotland and Catalonia.

His research found that the independence movements in Catalonia and Scotland, as well as being overwhelmingly non-violent, had also moved to embrace a broader notion of what it means to be Scottish or Catalan, centred on civic identity rather than one purely based on language or ethnicity.

Dr McConaghy also concluded that despite the upsurge in interest and support for Scottish nationalism, it has not encouraged the Welsh to similarly seek secession.

Dr McConaghy said: “It is important to separate speculation around referendum time from the tangible effects on politics in the clear light of day.

“Despite considerable attention given to Welsh nationalists, Plaid Cymru, at the time of the Scottish referendum and before the general election in May, this did not translate into votes for the party.

“The party appears to have failed to connect with voters. What we are seeing in Scotland and Catalonia are invigorated, positive independence campaigns, with broad understandings of national identity.

“These are the independence movements that are generating support, rather than exclusivist and violent independence movements.”

The research also found that voters tend to be most interested in the socioeconomic factors over any other factor when deciding whether or not to support independence.