Local elections in Catalonia, which could lead to an independence referendum, put the region in a race with Scotland to be the world’s next new nation. Some other contenders:

NEW CALEDONIA A collectivity of France governed by a high commissioner and a 54-seat territorial congress. Rejected independence in a referendum in 1987 but will hold another one in 2015.

MTHWAKAZI A kingdom until the late 19th century, now part of  Zimbabwe. A MTHWAKAZI independence party was founded earlier this year.

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CABINDA Former Portuguese Congo, now a province of Angola. Detached from the rest of Angola by strip of the Congo.

BIAFRA Breakaway republic from Nigeria which existed between 1967 and 1970 before being reabsorbed. But there is still a Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, which claims to be a government in exile and issues passports to exiles.

After care

A couple of foster carers in Rotherham had two children removed from them because they were members of Ukip. What happens to children in care?

Fostered with relative or friend 11%
Foster carer chosen by council 41%
Foster carer provided by agency 23%
Placed for adoption 3%
Placed with own parents 5%
Living independently 3%
In secure units, children’s homes, or hostels 9%
Residential schools 1%

Against the tide

The government warns that flooding will become more commonplace thanks to global warming. How much public money is spent on defences?

Budget in 2012/13
Flood defences(down from £521m in 2011/12 and £629m in 2010/11) £510m
Green energy subsidies(due to rise to £7.6bn in 2020) £2.35bn

Still rolling along

The Rolling Stones (average age 69) played their latest comeback concert. How many Britons are still working at their age?

% in full-time work % in part-time work
4.6% Male over 65 7.3%
3.6% Female over 65 8.9%

Source: ONS

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated