Listen to this article
Sir, Tony Barber correctly identifies the idea that corrupt elites are siphoning off prosperity, as one of the driving forces behind independence movements in Spain and the UK (“Scotland’s push for independence fuels separatists’ dreams”, September 15). Before voting, Scots and Catalans should closely study the experiences of other small countries that have achieved independence. My current home, Slovenia, is very homogeneous and has only 2m nationals. After being an unwilling part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Third Reich and socialist Yugoslavia, Slovenia finally got its coveted independence. Twenty years later, despite Nato and EU membership, the economy is stagnant and crippled by debt caused in part by crony capitalism. Everyone knows each other and connections often count for more than competence. Slovenia is now into its third government in as many years, because people feel – just like the Scots and Catalans – that prosperity is being siphoned off by corrupt elites.
Ms Lousewies van der Laan, Ljubljana, Slovenia