The National:

HOW welcome it was to see a resolution at SNP conference entitled "Scotland in the World". Casting an eye across the content and discussion generated as well as the overwhelming vote in favour, it’s so encouraging to see the belief confirmed that our nation’s international task at hand should be underpinned by a strong commitment to progressive values on the world stage.  

As I know all too well from responses to my columns in this newspaper and its sister Sunday edition, there will of course be some who will dismiss such a resolution as being irrelevant.  

From the Unionists such a denigration of Scotland’s international ambitions as mere posturing is to be expected. Unionists have always been of the mindset that Scotland should not or never will be in the position to play its part in global affairs alongside other nations.  

But sometimes a degree of dismissiveness too comes from within the ranks of those very much desirous of independence that believe - misguidedly in my view- that attention given to Scotland’s place in the world, is putting the cart before the horse when it comes to achieving sovereignty.  

Apologies to those already familiar with my view on this, but for those who are not, quite simply I believe that fighting here and now for independence goes hand in glove with preparations for the future when Scotland has full control of its own affairs.  

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Far from it being wasted time and energy, the mapping out of Scotland’s political direction of travel on global affairs helps strengthen the case for independence.  

As one conference delegate said, it's an important platform on which to share SNP policy. This too especially at a time when there’s no doubt the world is waking up like never before to Scotland’s hopes of independence.  

This past week from The New York Times to Der Spiegel in Germany and France’s Le Monde newspaper, the spotlight has fallen on Scotland. In other words the world is aware of the growing support for independence and we would be fools not to nurture that awareness and garner allies across the world where and when we can.  

The more overseas support and confidence gained in Scotland’s ability to be an able and worthy global citizen, the more those here at home on the cusp of saying Yes to independence will feel they are on the right side of history.  

As SNP foreign affairs spokesperson Alyn Smith said in his speech, what this shows is that Scotland far from being "separatist" instead seeks to join the world and independence is what will allow us to do that on our own terms.   

He’s right too that we can have Nato membership but shun nuclear weapons and that the only thing that prevents us from being a fully-fledged member of that alliance on our own terms should we chose to do so is being stuck as part of the UK.  

Likewise it’s the same story with other global bodies like the UN and especially the EU.  

As the resolution makes clear, Brexit and the end of freedom of movement and barrier-free trade all stand in the way of Scotland’s capacity to attract talent, boost trade and inward investment.  

Scotland too, as pointed out by delegates, needs to tap into its far flung and often influential diaspora especially within the business community. 

As one speaker rightly highlighted it’s all very well us thinking of ourselves as outward-looking but many within the business diaspora and beyond often view Scots as “overly cautious, risk averse and inward looking”.  

It was great to see such a measure of realpolitik within this resolution sitting alongside the moral and ideological compass that points Scotland on the right course to good global citizenship. Scotland’s capacity in the global renewables sector for example, or the proposed initiative to consider ferry and port operators to run a daily passenger and freights service between Rosyth and mainland Europe to facilitate ongoing trade and tourist activity, are prime examples.  

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Climate change issues, a fair migration policy, human rights, conflict resolutions roles - there is so much here for Scotland to engage with that would enhance our global standing and our arguments for independence.  

That the resolution too insisted on the creation and implementation of such an international policy framework being the work of now - even under devolution - and not be contingent on a "wait till after indy approach" was also, I believe, a real step in the right direction.  

Right now the world is undoubtedly waking up to Scotland’s call for independence. The signs from the SNP conference are positive and show that Scotland in turn is waking up to the world. Let’s continue giving our global neighbours every reason to continue watching and listening as well as winning over their approval on what we do next.