By Gideon Rachman
Some years ago, I made a futile attempt to persuade a Chinese diplomat that Taiwan should be allowed to declare independence – if that is what its people want. “If Scotland voted to be a separate nation,” I argued, “England would not stop it.” The diplomat smiled sceptically, like a man recognising a particularly crude falsehood. “I know that’s not true,” he said. “England would never accept Scottish independence. It would invade.”

The UK, Belgium, Spain and other countries that contain restive national minorities and regions are not about to disappear in a puff of smoke, argues Tony Barber in a post for The World blog.  Read more