IN this age of uncertainty, convention seems to have ever less resonance. Many countries around the world now have political figures intent on demagoguery and revisionism.

We are fortunate that Scottish politics does not accommodate demagogues or populists. In contrast, most European nations do find populist parties in parliament or government.

Our greatest defence against such threats, at national, European or international levels, is history.

The past does not define the present, but it gives vital context and debunks myths.

Last week’s 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath was a testament to Scotland’s long history. Such occasions are opportune moments to consider the nation’s course.

READ MORE: What lack of Arbroath anniversary events tells Yes movement

While the coronavirus curtailed planned commemorations, we can still reflect on Scotland’s current pathway and the future of Scottish society.

The Declaration made a clarion commitment to Scotland’s independence.

Today, the modern call is grounded in the pursuit of democracy, social justice and internationalism. Brexit is the epitome of populism.

It is the triumph of easy slogans over geopolitical reality.

Scotland never chose that option, nor the dysfunctional politics associated with it.

The National:

In the chapter of a newly published book, Scotland and Arbroath 1320-2020, I explore how Brexit led to the creation of new arguments for independence.

Independence is now the means of rejoining the European Union. It would be a multi-year process, but Scotland is well positioned to develop into a successful EU member state.

As an independent state, Scotland would make its own constitutional decisions and no longer suffer Brexit-style overrides of its democratic will.

These post-2014 realities provide compelling arguments. Yet the case for independence should not become defined predominantly by grievance.

READ MORE: Why Wee Ginger Dug is wrong about a lack of Declaration of Arbroath events

Instead, the conversation should continue to showcase the multitude of positive reasons for Scotland to become a state, in the pursuit of a more equal society.

What are our aspirations for an independent Scotland?

What will Scotland look like on the 750th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, in 2070?

I can imagine Scotland being a progressive European republic, which is a leading and influential member of the European Union (itself over 100 years old by then).

It is a beacon of thought, invention and commerce. A nation renowned for innovation, equality and social progress, with world-leading civic participation and democratic structures.

Scotland is a respected member the international community, valued for its contributions to global peace, climate stability and multilateral institutions.

That is just one vision for an independent Scotland, among many others.

READ MORE: Coronavirus forces Declaration of Arbroath celebrations to go virtual

The point is that any vision like this is much more galvanising than the inequities of Brexit, or dysfunction of the UK state.

Delivering a new independence referendum has been the greatest point of focus over the past few years, and that emphasis is logical. Nevertheless, inspiration matters as well.

Inspiration comes from the vision of an independent Scotland, which is in turn enhanced by substantive reflection on how to build a successful Scottish state.

The route to a significant and sustainable majority for independence surely rests in the combination of vision and substance.

Seven centuries later, the legacy of the Declaration of Arbroath is to remind us of the importance of having and developing the vision for Scotland’s independence.

We all have a role to play in building the Scotland, Europe and world which we want to see. Together we can achieve our common aspirations for them.

Anthony Salamone’s book: Scotland and Arbroath 1320-2020: 700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence (Peter Lang, 2020), edited by Klaus Peter Muller is available at

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