I MIGHT as well put my cards on the table right from the outset. Even before the war in Ukraine, I was of the view that an independent Scotland should seek Nato membership. Now, I’m even more convinced.

It’s not that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reinforced my position so much that I see Scotland’s declared intention to seek membership of the alliance as a canny, pragmatic, and effective way of reassuring – perhaps even convincing – doubters of independence that those of us desirous of sovereignty are ready and able to address concerns they might have.

For let’s be frank here, many Scots remain mistakenly of the belief that we are not up to the challenges independence would present us with and our own security, defence and questions like Nato membership are among these.

Among the most common arguments put forward by those opposed to sovereignty is that Scotland is “too small” “insignificant” “lacking in ambition” or capacity to see and understand the big picture when it comes to the likes of “lofty” things like foreign policy, geopolitics, or Europe’s security architecture.

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Who does Scotland think it is to consider taking on such things when it has neither the talent, abilities nor skill set within the diplomatic, defence or global affairs front to accuse such doubters? Scotland is nothing without the Union, not least when it comes to the question of defence capability the most ardent of such detractors insist.

On all of this they are wrong, for within Scotland there are plenty of those more than capable of holding their own at the top level in such roles. Such arguments also fail to understand that were Scotland a member of Nato then just like the many other smaller nations comprising the alliance it would still have the capacity to shape its own relationship.

As the SNP rightly points out, Finland and Sweden, both countries that have tendered applications for membership, neither possess nor have the intention of acquiring nuclear weapons.

Then again Scotland’s position is admittedly quite different given that it already harbours such weapons and talk of removing them would only make for Nato wariness.

That said, we are where we are, and it’s not beyond the realms of negotiation that a compromise could be struck much of which would likely revolve around the “permanent” or “periodic” status of such weapons in Scotland.

As the straight-talking and incisive Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at St Andrews University, told the BBC this week: “It all depends how Scotland would define anti-nuclear”.

“If it defined anti-nuclear as ‘at no time will nuclear weapons ever be allowed on a naval ship in Scottish waters’, then that indeed would probably make Scotland not eligible for Nato but I don’t think they’re defining it that rigidly,” O’Brien observed.

And therein lies the political rub, a controversial and still to be resolved issue that will doubtlessly be debated and argued over even more in the future than it has in the past whenever the internal battle over Nato membership has raised its head within the SNP.

Over the decades there has been no shortage of dissenting voices on Scotland joining. Most readers will well remember the resolution introduced back at the 2012 party conference stating that an independent Scotland would remain a Nato member.

Since then, pro-Nato membership would appear to be the SNP line even if there remains a number of those within the party and wider movement who will steadfastly refuse to identify with an independent Scotland being part of the alliance.

Some, understandably, will say that in seeking to join Nato then far from doing things our own way, an independent Scotland would only be a rehashing of what the UK Government has already done. We desire to be something different, better, they attest. On that last point at least, you will find no argument from me.

We should never lose sight of the fact that Scotland has the capacity to seek Nato membership while coming from a markedly different position from that of the UK Government. Given such an opportunity post-independence I believe not only would we do so but need to do so.

In going about that it’s also important to remember that even with the best will in the world a post-independent Scotland is never going to start with an entirely clean sheet and that includes issues like security alliances.

I’ve heard some argue that Scotland would be “selling out” to a global military industrial complex or that membership would be a sign of drifting inexorably toward a more Atlanticist foreign policy orientation.

Admittedly, we must be wary – not least considering lessons learned from the Trump presidency and the potential fickleness any future US government might again be capable of.

BUT cutting ourselves off from organisations like Nato in today’s world would I believe leave us vulnerable and any viable security alliance alternatives so far at least are thin on the ground in an increasingly volatile geopolitical landscape.

That, I genuinely believe, was the point First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was highlighting this week during her address at the Brookings Institution in the US when she described Nato membership as “vital” and a “cornerstone” of any future security policy in an independent Scotland.

By stressing this the FM was also to some extent putting minds at rest in Washington and among other Nato members that Scotland will not undermine the existing alliance should it become independent.

In moving towards indyref2 Scotland needs powerful friends in many places, friends more likely to support our ambitions for sovereignty if they know their own interests are not adversely affected.

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Just turn things around for a moment and try imagining what must be going through the minds of those in Washington’s corridors of power seeking a long-term security strategy but faced with the prospect of the breakup of the UK.

Can you really see the US endorsing Scotland’s independence ambitions, if all such sovereignty achieves is a weakening of America’s own position and that of Nato at a time of near unprecedented threat?

Scotland doesn’t need the endorsement of America you might rightly argue and that’s fair enough. But surely it wouldn’t do any harm to have it anyway.

Today, I remain more convinced than ever the SNP made the right decision when it voted to support an independent Scotland’s Nato membership. All we need now is independence itself of course.