BY the time you likely read this, we will all know the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case brought before it to establish the legal ground rules of Scotland’s right to choose. I daresay it will be the subject of next week’s column!

The ruling, however it has gone, will help give a little more clarity about what the path ahead will be for all of us.

We’re agreed on the destination – independence in Europe – but in the meantime, I believe we must continue making the case for why independence will be better than being part of the UK’s Brexit nightmare. By building that support to a sustainable and insurmountable “why” to independence, the “how” will follow.

So the biggest thing we can all do collectively to bring a massive majority over the line is to demonstrate how an independent Scotland will do things differently. Yesterday, the SNP foreign affairs team at Westminster published a paper on improving the protection of civilians, which I believe allows us to critique what the UK is not doing as well as it could and what an independent Scotland can do better.

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Civilians are far too often the victims of violent conflict, wherever it takes place in the world. The UN and organisations like Airwars do a lot of vital impact in monitoring the impact on civilians. However, legislators also have a part to play.

The UK’s approach to protecting civilians is far too often focused on firefighting. As any firefighter can tell you, though, it is far easier to prevent the fire from occurring than for it to take hold and consume everything in its path. And when it’s the case that children living in Syria are now seven times more likely to be killed by explosive weapons than the combatants directly involved in the conflict, it is clear that more needs to be done.

Our 14-page report, A Good Global Citizen: A Scottish Approach To The Protection of Civilians in Conflict, aims to help address these issues. The paper, put forward by Stewart McDonald MP as defence spokesperson, Chris Law MP as international development spokesperson and myself as foreign affairs spokesperson, sets out a comprehensive and coherent set of proposals on atrocity prevention: increased funding for international development and climate change mitigation; a presumption against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas; as well as parliamentary scrutiny of arms exports.

The launch was also well attended, with representatives from civil society and other organisations participating. There was a strong feeling that, for those involved in this sort of stuff, it was a landmark moment.

The paper has been in the pipeline for many months, and we are indebted to the excellent work of NGOs, researchers and staff who helped pull it together. We sought a wide range of expert voices on this issue to make sure that we can get it right – and we listened. The NGO Airwars deserves a particular shout-out for their work in engaging with civil society and putting forward recommendations.

The launch of our paper also came at quite an opportune time in international affairs. Last week saw a landmark conference in Dublin where more than 80 countries signed up to the Political Declaration On Strengthening The Protection Of Civilians From The Humanitarian Consequences Arising From The Use Of Explosive Weapons In Populated Areas. A lengthy title but a declaration which is well-needed as we continue to see the carnage Russia inflicts on civilians in Ukraine.

We had even called for the UK to sign up to the declaration way back in the spring, when my friend Stewart McDonald spoke in favour of it at UN negotiations in Geneva. To the Government’s credit, it finally listened, and the UK, amongst other Nato countries, signed it.

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That is a step in the right direction for the world at large and it’s something that Scotland took the lead on ahead of the UK. Imagine, then, how much more of a positive influence an independent Scotland back in the EU can have! And that’s the crucial part of independence. It’s about delivering the best for the people of Scotland and helping others elsewhere where we can.

We want to chart a different course away from the Brexit shipwreck, and we will succeed in this endeavour by demonstrating what we will do differently.

Surely, baking into the DNA of an independent Scotland an international law-based foreign policy that prioritises the protection of civilians is an appealing prospect, especially when set against a UK that still pays more attention to arms exports than human rights or development.

I’m confident in our proposition that Scotland can do better, at home and abroad in the world, and I am proud to have played my part in fleshing that out.