AMIDST the chaos that is 21st century politics across these isles, it can be easy to lose perspective, or to forget that positions must be reasserted from time to time, to those outwith our political bubbles.

Not a single local authority area in Scotland voted to leave the European Union in 2016, yet Scotland was dragged out regardless. Two of the four nations in the United Kingdom – Scotland and Northern Ireland – voted to remain, England and Wales to leave.

In mainstream European politics, this would have necessitated a compromise between differing factions. Instead, one side was shut down, shut out – and told to shut up.

It can be draining for those on all sides of our constitutional woes, to rehearse the same points again and again. But some facts are timeless, and worth repeating for the record because our opponents are desperate for us to forget.

Often we look to the past for comfort in where it all went wrong – but I firmly believe, if Scotland is to regain its place in our European family of nations, then it’s to the future we must now focus our attention and efforts.

I was very proud to attend the march and rally on Tuesday evening, marking the third anniversary of Scotland’s forced departure from the EU. Hundreds of activists turned out on a bitterly cold January night.

Yet for a crowd who had their rights as European citizens stripped, it was a lively atmosphere with laughter and frustration demonstrated in equal measure.

The movements for Scotland’s return to Europe, and for Scotland to regain our independence, are deeply intertwined. Both campaign goals ultimately depend on progress in the other, now that Labour has fully committed to a project once confined to the Tory fringes.

Both campaigns have become mutually synonymous with a rejection of nostalgia and the nasty strains of exceptionalism and populism we’ve seen take root in other places across the UK.

Instead, they are internationalist to their very bones.

Scotland wants to rejoin the biggest partnership for peace, democracy and freedom history has ever known, and if the EU didn’t already exist then something like it would be forged from necessity – and Scots would want in from the get-go.

Tuesday’s event, organised by the fantastic Lesley Riddoch and Time for Scotland, was important for many reasons, but primarily it channelled the growing outrage and grit expressed by so many Scots at the current state of democracy in the UK.

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The economic damage caused by leaving the EU has been enormous – up to a hundred billion pounds a year according to fresh estimates. Yet the social and political forces it has unleashed are profound, and history will look back on this period in collective disbelief.

The UK is heading to a dark place, as draconian laws curtailing the right to strike and protest ultimately sail past genuine legislative scrutiny. Scotland’s parliament is increasingly under threat, our powers undermined, and democratic norms ignored.

You’d be forgiven some despair.

And yet, more and more Scots are growing disillusioned with Westminster’s circus act. The joke got old long ago, and as more and more households and businesses suffer from the UK Government’s chronic, inherent inability to handle fires on multiple fronts – Scots are turning to independence in Europe as the answer.

A Yes vote in 2014 was seen by some as a gamble, and many felt the risk of independence too great. Some voters I’ve spoken with said they felt they couldn’t afford independence on a personal level – their lives were stable, and they were reluctant to upset the apple cart.

Now, almost 10 years on from the first independence referendum, the tables truly have turned. Sticking with the status quo isn’t an option, and increasingly it is sticking with the UK which presents the most risk and instability for industry and communities.

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Independence is not a magic wand; Scotland faces deep structural and demographic challenges, just like any other developed economy. Yet we’ve got what it takes – the natural wealth and resources, we’re energy rich, we’re surrounded by allied nations and we’ve the European Union on our doorsteps.

Scotland is already an advanced, western democracy. We just need to complete our journey to full statehood, and rejoin the international community and European Union in our own right.

It will take time, there will be bumps along the road, but the alternative is stagnation and decline in a rapidly deteriorating UK.

Tuesday’s rally theme was “Lights On”, a homage to a recurring motif in Scotland’s journey back to the EU.

In my final speech in Strasbourg as one of Scotland’s MEPs, I urged our friends and allies to “leave a light on, so that we may find our way home”.

Those lights are on, those doors are open – and our partners are waiting for us.