SCOTS tourists long ago fell in love with the Canary Islands where the sun really does shine most of the year round.

From the rugged splendour of the interiors of Tenerife and Lanzarote to the relative sophistication of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Islas Canarias have a variety of places holidaymakers can enjoy.

There are also a variety of political opinions on the islands, the southernmost autonomous region of Spain that is just 70 miles from Africa, though almost all Canarians have a strong feeling of their distinct identity as a recognised nationality of Spain.

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Home to more than 2.1 million people, the Canaries has seen armed insurrections in the past, and nationalist campaigners also suffered under the dictatorship of Il Caudillo, Francisco Franco. Even after Franco died in 1975, Antonio Cubillo, credited as the founder of the modern Canaries’ independence movement, was tracked to Algiers and stabbed in the spine by hitmen hired by the Spanish secret service.

That followed Cubillo’s armed resistance movement crumbling in 1977 after it was blamed for the bomb that caused two jumbo jets to divert to the small Los Rodeos airport where they crashed, killing 583 people, still the world’s worst air accident – 9/11 was no accident.

The nationalist campaign for self-determination for the Canaries is very much a peaceful activity. As is common in many such movements, the Canaries are home to several nationalist parties operating across the political spectrum from left to right.

Nueva Canarias (New Canaries or NC) has been the most successful progressive nationalist party of late, and NC is now accorded Observer status by the European Free Alliance.

Its leader is Roman Rodriguez, a former president of the Canaries government who split from the rightist Canarian Coalition that wants greater autonomy but not independence, and which has run the Canaries, usually in a minority government, since 1993.

Like everyone else in Spain, the Canarian nationalists are awaiting developments in far away Catalonia.

The Spanish Government knows only too well that they may want to follow Catalonia’s lead, and while no one is suggesting that the independence movement on the islands is anywhere near as strong as that of Catalonia, it only takes one domino to topple and the rest may fall.

That is why everyone in Spain is awaiting October 1 – should it go ahead – even on islands at the opposite end of Spain from Catalonia.