ONE of the newest Olympic sports is skateboarding. Variously described as an action sport, skateboarding is also a recreational activity, some say an art form. But it’s more than that, it’s a potent symbol of youth. Stories of what our grandfathers did on the skatepark have yet to be written.

Skateboarding is a particular example of taking personal responsibility for your actions. Generally speaking it’s not possible to blame others if you fall. You have to operate within your own capabilities – if you overstretch yourself then there’s consequences and you’ll hurt yourself. But the rewards of elation, euphoria, a sense of freedom, self-expression are the return on the investment of effort, concentration and agility in an internalised battle. Winning that battle provides a keen sense of individual responsibility.

According to Wikipedia, “one-third of skateboarders with reported injuries are very new to the sport, having started skating within one week of the injury”. Those who come to the sport seeking thrills and spills come in the full knowledge of the need to learn quickly, and the diminishing incidence of scrapes, bruises and sprains are the indicators of progress towards increasing rewards and diminishing risk.

There are no risk-free routes to independence, but like skateboarding, learning quickly is the means to mitigate risk and reap the rewards.

I believe that Scotland should be independent because we have an obligation as adults to be a grown-up nation in order to protect the future of our generations as yet unborn.

Coming of age is an important rite of passage in most cultures and describes the transition between childhood and adulthood when parents hope that they’ve done a good job and feel confident that their young are prepared to confront “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.

The National: Campaigners wave Scottish Saltires at a 'Yes' campaign rally in Glasgow, Scotland September 17, 2014. The referendum on Scottish independence will take place on September 18, when Scotland will vote whether or not to end the 307-year-old union

Coming of age politically is what happened to me in the period leading up to indyref1, and as I waited expectantly for the favoured outcome of Scottish independence, I like so many others was full of hope and optimism for the future. Yet it wasn’t to be and 2,001,926 of my fellow Scots settled for the status quo and chose to surrender the absolute sovereignty they’d held in their hands for a mere 15 hours on Referendum Day.

However, not only have I overcome that crushing disappointment – I take heart from King Robert and his inspirational spider for undoubtedly the indyref process has given me confidence in my country’s abilities and to explode the “too wee, too poor, too stupid” myth. Standing on your own two national feet, making your own decisions and your own mistakes is an important part of being a grown-up nation.

Scotland doesn’t feature in the list of the world’s smallest countries: Vatican City, Monaco, Tuvalu, San Marino, Lichtenstein, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federation of St Christopher and Nevis, the Maldives and Malta.

It really is a medium-sized European country. Scotland sits between Slovakia and Norway in terms of population and between Austria and the Czech Republic and 10 places above Switzerland in area. However, when Scottish maritime waters (six times the land area) are taken into account and especially with all that implies for resources, clearly it is not too wee to exist as a separate entity. So exactly what size is it that matters?

And the too poor?

The Financial Times told me at the time of indyref: “The country has the ingredients to be a viable nation-state”, and that constituted my sandwich board which I took on to the streets.

Subsequently with the work of Believe In Scotland, it’s clear that we’re far from too poor.

Unfortunately, in this allegedly Union of Equals, we are obliged to pay a population share of bills generated elsewhere – nuclear weapons, Palace of Westminster refurbishment, HS2, Crossrail, the Thames Tideway super sewer, the London Olympics, illegal wars. Oh, and let’s not forget the debt-loading of the Public Sector Debt Interest item, particularly since the Scotland Act prohibits the Scottish Government from operating anything but a balanced budget.

Given our Parliament’s track record in managing and negotiating budgets, the economics of a sovereign currency and the principles of quantitative easing, it’s perfectly clear that without these debt burdens, not of our making, we certainly would be better off. So that’s dispensed with too poor.

Too stupid? We really do need to remind the metropolitan elite that that tag can’t apply to the country with three of the oldest universities in Europe, the Scottish Enlightenment and its contribution to European thinking, quite apart from the disproportionate collection of innovations our small nation has contributed to the world in the past two centuries.

What’s wrong with us that we need others to make the adult decisions in world affairs?

Our history all too often teaches about maiming and killing in battles glorious or otherwise. However, it also teaches that our forefathers were adventurers. Apart from headliners such as Alexander Mackenzie and the river of the same name and Jardine and Matheson in Hong Kong, there were lesser known mortals such as John Dundas Cochrane and his two travels across the length of Russia in the 1820s. John Hamilton born in Wick, emigrated to the Falklands as a farm labourer/shepherd and along with Jack MacLean (born Gairloch), and others he was a member of the famous El Gran Arreo which involved driving an estimated 2000 sheep and 500 horses from Buenos Aires Province to the Magellan Strait. Then there were the countless mercenaries, peddlers, small traders and merchants to be encountered anywhere between Danzig and La Rochelle in the 17th century.

Circumstances change constantly. There is no such thing as frozen time.

Every generation thinks that their crisis in the world is different from and worse than those experienced by their forefathers and our post-Brexit global economics is very different from the hegemony of our imperial past.

And this time it really is different. Stories of grandparents don’t resonate with life as it is experienced, it’s only context, it’s only background. The world hasn’t seen our kind of crisis before. It’s existential and we have no way of knowing how the combination of climate emergency and pandemic will impact on our humanity.

We need the ability to respond to the circumstances of your own time.

I'm not against the English, but I am vehemently against the undemocratic British establishment, their increasingly anti-democratic ways and their vandalism of a democracy for which the youth of preceding generations were sacrificed in two world wars. To deal with our 21st-century circumstances we have to articulate the issues for ourselves, we can’t sit back and let others articulate their views on our behalf.

They put bombs before bairns, they wring their hands over food banks for the working poor while vacillating over the inequities of unscrupulous bankers expecting to double their bonuses.

The Mother of Parliaments and a “doyen of democracy” is, as far as Scotland’s concerned, nothing but an inglorious travesty. Scotland has rejected the Tory party in 18 elections since 1959.

A new Scotland doesn’t want nuclear weapons parked in its waters. A new Scotland doesn’t want second-rate Australian food that threatens farming livelihoods in our own country, it doesn’t want our potential as a renewable powerhouse of Europe plundered again in the cause of an international agreement designed without our input. We merely want the right to make decisions that reflect our values. Being part of a faded imperial power is definitely not in our interests.

I want and voted to live in Europe, not a version of Singapore or an offshore American state. I want to have political choices that have meaning, compassionate governance with a social contract between the nation and its people. I want social democratic values to inform my politics with workers’ rights and consensus politics, an end to winner-takes-all. I want to live in a country where nuclear convoys no longer transit our largest city in the night. I want to be part of a society with a collaborative approach to tackling wars and displacement and that makes the protection of the environment a priority.

A fairer, more equal society is not one with an economic system where consumers of the essential commodity of water are being commoditised in a debt-driven market fed to Chinese and Middle East financial wide boys where instead of investing in essential infrastructure or services, a structure is set up merely to capitalise on a lifelong obligation to pay water charges. I want no part of such an Orwellian dystopia. I merely want the right to make decisions that reflect our values.

We must have democratic accountability to achieve that fairer, more equal society, and by way of contributing on the world stage, we should show a willingness to promote a Truth and Reconciliation Commission not just for Scotland’s prominent role in the slave trade but for all the iniquities perpetrated against aboriginal peoples wherever our forefathers pursued their “enterprise opportunities” while repudiating their Christian values in the process.

So let’s be clear: the English Parliament, with its absolute power of the Crown in Parliament, has the numbers to do what it likes in protecting England’s interests, no matter how self-righteous we get about our treasured Scots Law and the Claim of Right. The democratic deficit is just too great for Scotland to overcome: • Westminster ignores the 62% of the Scottish electorate who voted to remain in the EU and has now dragged us out of the European Union against our will.

• Westminster ignores Scotland's place in Europe and the alternative Brexit strategies tabled by the Scottish Government to suit our circumstances.

• The Sewel Convention enshrined in the Scotland Act is not worth the paper it’s written on, say the Supreme Court.

• Westminster ignores the SNP's 50 amendments to Article 50 and, oh, emboldened by what might well be seen as supine responses, Mundell carelessly screws up the timetable for the Clause 11 amendments but in the process ultimately makes transparent the power grab and the declaration of war on the devolution settlement.

• The Supreme Court “siding” where the Scottish Parliament’s Continuity Bill is held for scrutiny so that it can be overtaken and overruled by Westminster’s EU Withdrawal Bill.

Although we might not all be budding skateboarders, both collectively and individually we must weigh the balance of risk and reward of an independent Scotland. As adults with collective parental obligations, we must ensure it’s a future as a grown-up nation playing its full part in managing the slings and arrows of our world’s dynamics. To do that, Scotland should be independent.

This essay was published as part of our Yessay series – click here for more information. If you'd like to support The National in running more competitions like this, click here for information on how to support us with a digital subscription.