Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: quebec

Immigration and the mongrel nation

With reference to my previous post, and with the Scottish referendum on independence fast approaching it is fascinating to look at the moves of the Yes side. For me, part of my research involves an analysis of parties’ attitude towards immigrants, who may be well crucial for the outcome of the vote.

Nationalist parties in Scotland seems to be fairly enlightened in this sense. Since 1994, SNP leader and current Prime Minister Alex Salmon has repeatedly pointed to the positive contribution brought by newcomers and to the fact that diversity is not a problem. “We are proud to be part of what Willie McIlvanney called our ‘mongrel nation’. In fact, our biggest problem is not immigration, but emigration. Every year we lose talented Scots and we welcome any talented replacements from wherever they come.”

These developments are interesting if compared with other cases. In Québec’s 1995 referendum for independence, for instance, the Parti Québécois initially appealed to a broad cultural identity that included immigrants; and then, in the weeks before the vote, it shifted to a much narrower ethnic conception of collective identity. In that context, the party “increasingly made emotional appeals to ‘old-stock’ Québecers, whilst placing immigrant groups onto the ‘them’ side of the ‘us versus them’ (or French versus English) fence” (Hepburn, 2009: 520).

Una sintesi delle mie ricerche recenti

Il mio primo articolo da Bruxelles per Unimondo é stato pubblicato una decina di giorni fa, ma mi ero dimenticato di linkarlo. Lo faccio adesso: si tratta di un articolo più personale dei precedenti e credo, spero, che possa interessarvi.

Dall’inizio della crisi abbiamo assistito a una costante ricerca di un nuovo equilibrio nei tradizionali meccanismi di rappresentanza nazionale. Uno dei principali effetti, fino ad ora, è stato il drammatico crollo di fiducia nei tradizionali meccanismi democratici, che ha avuto effetti diversi nel continente. In molti stati europei i candidati uscenti sono stati spesso sconfitti alle urne, mentre a vincere sono stati soprattutto i partiti nazionalisti e fascisti capaci di trasformare la disaffezione in odio: il Fronte Nazionale in Francia e Alba Dorata in Grecia, per esempio. Leggi tutto.

Intanto, in questi sette giorni Unimondo pubblicherà due miei approfondimenti sull’economia e la politica estera del Canada.

Calls for independence gain momentum in Europe

My last article on secessionist movements around Europe has been published yesterday on the IPF.

Early in 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron surprised everybody by agreeing to hold a referendum for Scottish independence before the end of his mandate. A few weeks ago, Alexander Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party and a long-standing Prime Minister of the nation, confirmed that the vote will take place in 2014. The referendum will mark an historic moment for the country: it will be the first time Scottish voters will be presented with the possibility of breaking the political union between England and Scotland that dates back to the 18th century.

Everyone is watching Scotland

I bother people a lot with my keenly developed interest for minority nationalism in Quebec, Scotland, Catalonia, South Tyrol, Flanders and Basque Countries. If you have such an interest too, then the referendum that will be hold in Scotland in 2014 is an incredibly interesting argument for discussion. This is a 10-minute video of Michael Ignatieff commenting on the issue. It is a hugely interesting video, not only for minority nationalism geeks as I am, but also for anybody with an even marginal interest in international politics.


Ignatieff is a Canadian historian, academic at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, Harvard University and the University of Toronto and former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition from 2008 until 2011. But if you do not to watch the video for Ignatieff’s analysis, then watch it for the beautiful Scottish accent of the interviewer at least.

No easy game to play

My article on small nations, nationalism and the Olympics has been published today on The International Political Forum.

Nationalism still plays a fundamental role in several fields of international relations, from war to politics – it is not by chance that “war made the state and the state made war”[1]; and then, war was substituted by politics, which were merely “its continuation by other means”[2]. Looking back at the last 50 years, however, I would dare to add a third field where the essence of nationalist feelings have tended to emerge quite clearly: sport. In 1945 already, George Orwell (certainly not the kind of academic one would expect to join Charles Tilly and Carl Von Clausewitz in their debates) put it very simply: sport is “war minus the shooting: […] At the international level sport is frankly mimic warfare”[3].