TUESDAY marked three years since Brexit. It also marked the publication of a number of reports confirming that Brexit was an act of self-harm.

Bloomberg economists concluded: “The main takeaway is that the rupture from the single market may have impacted the British economy faster than we or most other forecasters expected.”

My SNP MP colleague Stephen Flynn summed it up nicely at Prime Minister’s Questions when he said that on the third anniversary of Brexit we had learned three things – the UK’s trade deficit has grown; the UK’s economy has been hit to the tune of £100 billion each year; and the UK economy is expected to be the worst-performing of all in the G7, even worse than sanction-hit Russia.

No wonder Rishi Sunak was met with a wall of laughter when he said Brexit had nothing to do with the cost of living crisis.

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But it is not a laughing matter – research suggests Scotland has lost £3.2bn in tax revenues to Brexit calculated as a fraction of the £40bn lost by the UK as a whole. This paper has done an excellent job of investigating and reporting on the damage done to Scotland by Brexit as we approached the anniversary.

And all despite the fact Scotland voted Remain by a hefty margin. Support for EU membership in Scotland has since increased but sadly the promise that Scotland would not be taken out of the EU against our will proved to be hot air.

We know the economic picture but three years on where are we politically? Where stands the cause of independence in the light of the Brexit disaster? And what of devolved Scotland’s approach to Europe and the EU? How do we turn platitudes and promises into reality?

Recent polls have shown that support for rejoining the EU in Scotland stands around 72%. That’s a very healthy majority reminiscent of the consensus support for devolution in the 1997 referendum.

Unfortunately support for independence remains hovering around the 50% mark. Yet given Labour’s craven acceptance of the Brexit disaster, the only realistic route for Scotland to rejoin the EU is to become an independent nation. So how do we get support for independence up?

Like others, I have often argued in this column that if we are really serious about delivering a vote for independence, we need a bit less focus on process and a bit more on how we get support for independence above the 60% mark and on towards the sort of levels of support devolution garnered during the 1990s, so that by the time there was a referendum in 1997 the result was a foregone conclusion.

This will mean a laser-like focus on the economic questions and the questions about EU membership and cross-border trade that trouble those not yet convinced of the case for independence.

To be frank, the Building a New Scotland policy papers published to date by the Scottish Government have not yet delivered the flesh required on the bones of these issues. The planned paper on EU strategy is a chance to put that right.

In addition to emoting about the cost of Brexit we need a concrete strategy for alignment with the EU linked into our socio-economic case for independence. Commentators with an expertise in the EU have been critical of Scotland’s approach to EU relations which they say is too disconnected from the debates currently going on within the EU.

Scotland, they say, needs an effective strategy for its post-Brexit EU relations and action to maintain strategic connectivity with the EU. For example, there is disappointment that to date the Scottish Government has not been able to fulfil its commitment to keep laws in devolved areas aligned with EU law.

That is not to decry what has been achieved. Scotland has offices in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Dublin and Copenhagen with staff working hard to engage positively with the EU.

However, the impacts of the sort of paradiplomacy to which a devolved government is confined are limited.

Protests took place across Scotland on Tuesday. Lesley Riddoch and Time for Scotland are to be commended for organising the rally outside the Scottish Parliament and I’d like to acknowledge the contribution made by staff from my office, who in their free time helped with the logistics – particularly the organisation of the torchlit procession.

Speeches were made at that rally by some pro-indy parliamentarians, but, on the third anniversary, I would have liked to have seen a set-piece speech from the FM, or perhaps our Constitution Secretary, in a European capital, looking to the future.

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The high-level speech setting out Scotland’s future European strategy which I would have liked to see this week would inevitably have linked to our independence strategy.

The speech the FM gave three years ago on Brexit Day promised a Constitutional Convention. Since then, we have had a global pandemic followed by a cost of living crisis and the Scottish Government currently faces a number of policy challenges.

It’s past time that that Constitutional Convention was got off the ground. Perhaps the SNP special conference on March 19 could be a launch pad?

The decision SNP delegates need to take there is one of process. I am currently enjoying discussions with branches in my constituency and beyond and with Westminster colleagues and I look forward to setting out my concluded thoughts in this column in the weeks to come.