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Sardinia and Scotland: Challenges and opportunities for stateless nations

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On the 16th of November 2013 in London, an important meeting has taken place that brought together ProgReS (Project Republic of Sardinia party), Sardegna Possibile, the pro-independence Sardinian coalition, and the Scottish National Party (SNP).
It was the chance to highlight how much the Sardinian independence movement has progressed in the last decades.
Like many other stateless nations, Sardinia has a long history of nationalist and independentist movements. Despite this long history, and despite the fact that Sardinia has a distinct identity compared to Italy, Sardinian nationalist parties since the end of WWII have seldom enjoyed success.
However, many observers anticipate a breakthrough of the pro-independence movement in the coming elections for the renewal of the Sardinian Parliament, due on 16 February 2014. In fact, many of the Italian parties that traditionally take most of the votes in Sardinia are facing a severe crisis of credibility. But most of all, the pro-independence movement has found a credible candidate in Michela Murgia, a successful novelist and writer, and has been able to put together a convincing proposal that embodies a clear set of social values and a vision for the future of the Sardinian nation.
The credibility of this proposal was endorsed by Cllr Joan Campbell of the SNP. Mrs Campbell stated that she believed that ProgReS and Sardegna Possibile were on the same path that SNP started some decades ago, and that there was much in common between ProgReS and SNP.
During the conference, Michela Murgia, who talked in Sardinian, emphasised the key novelties of the proposal laid out by Sardegna Possibile. These are:

  1. The leading candidate and the main party in the coalition are independentists. While other nationalist movements are scattered across other coalitions, they are not the key players. Conversely, in Sardegna Possibile the independentists are pivotal in ensuring that Sardegna Possible will represent the interests of Sardinia.
  2. Although Sardegna Possibile coalition is clearly pro-independence, many people in Sardinia are more concerned about jobs, the failing education system, and so on. Sardegna Possibile has developed coherent progressive proposals to address the needs of Sardinians, embodying a vision of a nation of equal opportunities.
  3. A key difference with other nationalist parties lies in the method used by Sardegna Possible to develop  policies. Sardegna Possibile has favoured participatory methods, involving citizens and allowing them to put forward proposals based on their experience and expertise. Sardegna Possibile also plans to keep using participatory methods while in government. This is somewhat revolutionary in Sardinia because for decades the island has been ruled by top-down policies, often laid out outside Sardinia by élites and applied without the involvement of local actors. This has often resulted in policy failures, e.g. the failed Sardinian industrialisation. While several local actors in Sardinia display the competencies to run successful businesses and enterprises, they have seldom been given the instruments to influence policies, which created an environment adverse to innovation and with fewer opportunities for all. The use of participatory methods is therefore a great novelty that may change the way of thinking about politics in Sardinia.


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Articoli | by Dr. Radut