DAVID Pratt’s insightful article on an independent Scotland’s future contribution on the international stage, and in anticipation of Steven Gethins MP’s House of Commons debate on Monday on Scotland’s foreign policy footprint, echoes Winnie Ewing’s “stop the world, Scotland wants to get on” strap line used in may of her speeches (Scotland’s foreign policy: How should we interact with the wider world, November 30).

Last week, in my day-job capacity, I attended a conference of European teacher trade unionists in Athens. Recognition of Scotland’s distinct education system means that Scotland has long had full “independent” recognition and with it representation.

The Athens conference was organised by the European Division of Education International, whose membership goes well beyond EU states and includes many post-Soviet states as well as Turkey. Readers of The National’s international reportage will therefore immediately grasp the cultural and political diversity of such a convocation. In the same room last week, for instance, were delegates from Russia and the Ukraine.

Notwithstanding live and recent clashes between these two states, their concerns relating to the provision of public education are no different to those of teachers from other jurisdictions: issues around public service erosion, pay, privatisation. Another feature of the conference was the growing global corrosive influence of the far right in classrooms and beyond.

What I find particularly interesting about these international get-togethers of teachers is the obvious high regard for Scottish education. The Scottish education system is, even this side of independence, part of Scotland’s international footprint. We in the independence movement tend to look to the Nordic countries for institutional and cultural inspiration and role models. Yet in matters educational they sometimes

look to us.

I was struck by the comments of a Norwegian colleague who felt that, in the context of the worrying significant rise of the right internationally, teachers worldwide need “ethical platforms” to defend their professional integrity.

As it happens, we here in Scotland have a pre-existing and continually developing “ethical platform”, the General Teaching Council For Scotland (GTCS). It’s perceived as a world leader, and other countries continue to look to developing their own version.

One cannot teach in Scotland’s public schools without being a member of the GTCS. All Scottish teachers are bound by its code

of ethics and professional standards, which include Social Justice, Integrity, Trust and Respect as well as Professional Commitment.

Which brings me back to David Pratt’s Friday article, where he pointed towards the same values being promoted by a re-emergent Scottish state on a wider global canvas. Nowhere are these values better displayed than in the independence movement’s commitment to nuclear disarmament. Developing a Trident Removal Roadmap will in and of itself help underpin an ideal ethical framework on

which the foreign and defence policies of an independent Scotland can be built.

It’s for this reason that SNP CND is promoting the idea of developing a Trident Removal Roadmap that we hope SNP branches might consider as a theme for a motion for the new revamped SNP National Conference that takes place on April 26-28 in Edinburgh.

A template for a Trident Removal Roadmap motion, along with briefing note on the model motion that branches may wish to consider, can be accessed on the SNP CND website. SNP CND can also provide speakers who can attend branches and explain the roadmap concept and the work of SNP CND more generally.

Bill Ramsay

Convener, SNP CND