Scientists use maths to measure chances of Scottish independence

Mathematical equations
Image caption The researchers used mathematics to identify where new nations were likely to be born

An international study has found that Scotland is one of the parts of Europe most likely to become independent.

Researchers from Spain, France and the US used economic and genetic data to find which countries were most stable - and those most likely to break up.

The team, based at Carlos III University in Madrid, have built, in effect, a mathematical model of Europe.

It uses factors such as GDP, inequality, culture and genetics to measure stability.

The aim is to identify where new nations are most likely to be born.

To test the model, they put in old data from the former Yugoslavia.

The results accurately stated the order in which new states including Slovenia and Croatia came into being.

Looking at present-day data, the research has found the two entities most likely to become independent are the Basque Country and Scotland.

But the team has stressed the numbers do not prove Scottish independence is inevitable.

The researchers said that would be a matter of politics, not mathematics.

You can see more on this story on Sunday Politics Scotland on BBC 1 Scotland at 12:00.

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