I HAVEN’T spoken at an independence rally in Glasgow’s George Square for many years (which I’m doing this afternoon). Would I have chosen this Saturday, with the benefit of hindsight?

But I’ve just entered my seventh decade, having spent nearly five of them as an ardent indy supporter. And though I find myself today with somewhat different priorities, I am even more thirled to the outcome. Damn the transient headlines!

I asked our editor if I could do a back-to-basics list. From my age and stage, here’s why independence is still an excellent and necessary idea. Eight clear reasons that rise to the top of my head, and overbrim my heart:

1. Independence brings a message of peace and sanity

IN a world gearing up for an era of major wars, an independent Scotland has a very specific and urgent role to play. We should never underestimate the world-historical importance of removing nuclear weapons from Scotland’s territory.

The American author Annie Jacobsen reminded us recently that we are a single accident or misreading of signals away from armageddon – with six minutes for a US president to decide to retaliate.

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This revolting, nihilistic situation has pertained to every minute, of every day, for the last 60 years.

Someone has to stand up against this collective madness. Opposing nuclear weapons remains the moral core of the case for Scottish independence. And we should pursue this end, whether it disqualifies us for Nato membership – or not.

2. Independence should prepare us for an ecological civilisation

WE all know the natural bounty of renewable energy that Scotland enjoys. And many have opinions on the details of how it has been managed so far, and how we have (and haven’t) met our goals. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the biggest prize of all – that we can use a zero-carbon society to pursue radically better lives.

There’s no point in clean electricity if it just fuels the same materially wasteful, status-obsessed, rampantly consumerist society that it always did.

An ecological civilisation – which uses human ingenuity to restore, renew and regenerate the planet we want to flourish on – is unavoidably coming. The climate science tells us that major changes are baked in, no matter how sharply we slam the brakes. These conditions will change the way we work, play, purchase, be citizens, come together. Everything.

The establishment of a Scottish nation-state is exactly the moment to figure out how to start contributing to this eco-civilisation. It’s a time for the biggest plans and the biggest ambitions. No-one will thank a Scots indy for playing small.

3. Independence can help us handle our radical technological future

AS well as the limits of the biosphere, we are facing unlimited revolutions in relation to our minds and bodies. Artificial intelligences will be able to do almost all routine human work and may take even greater leaps forward in ability. Biotech could increase the human lifespan by decades, and open up other enhancements to our human biology.

If Scotland has nation-state control over our jurisdiction, our laws and regulations, we can shape how these technologies come into – or stay out of – our everyday lives.

And we can try out social arrangements, like universal basic income or job guarantees, that begin to address what humans will do with their lives and purposes, under these transformative conditions.

4. Independence can help us set better universal standards for all

WHAT policies are we proudest of, under devolution? Those which raise the floor of entitlements and support for everyone – free tuition fees in university, free prescriptions, free personal services for the elderly, a more supportive welfare system.

It's not always easy to raise this floor: gender recognition and hate crime demonstrate how difficult it is to bring everyone forward at the same time. But with the full powers of independence, we can extend our standards-setting into other substantive areas, like energy, industrial strategy, media regulation, immigration, pensions and more.

5. To become independent, we also need to BE more independent, among ourselves

LET’S concede that party politics, of all stripes and colours, doesn’t have the greatest reputation at the moment … but it should be a helpful reminder, to an independence movement, what its first loyalty should be.

I suggest it’s towards what the late Stephen Maxwell called “radical democracy”. We need a new vision of a Scotland profoundly empowered at the community level – leading legislation by its own actions, not waiting on legislation to let them act.

The best way to clean out the political classes, in readiness for national independence, is for there to be as much “independence from beneath” as possible.

The National: Indy

Land politics, and much more subsidiary local government, are the leading forces in this vision.

But we need original autonomous forces as well, asking for forgiveness not permission.

Cosmolocal groups, citizen action networks and assemblies, urban commons … the world is currently brewing up a diversity of democratic innovations.

We don’t need “Team Scotland”, we need “Teem, Scotland”. That is, if we’re going to develop the “independence of mind” needed to bear the responsibilities of a nation-state.

6. Independence can be a platform upon which the talent and creativity of Scotland can shine

OUR nearest independent neighbour, Ireland, has hundreds

of outposts, on most continents, promoting their singular contributions in arts, design, food and drink, technology and science. Scotland currently has a mere handful of these.

There is a vast global appetite, even an expectation, for Scotland’s inventiveness. Independence would take standard diplomacy and trade networks, and turn them into a conduit for Scottish creativity, across many sectors.

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What we’re working out internally, to progress a post-independence Scotland, would be communicated and displayed globally.

Our public media institutions would let Hollywood (and Shepperton) do what they do best. Instead, they would devote themselves to disseminating the “genius” of Scotland across the planet, in whatever form it manifests – from ethical journalism and research findings to challenging stories and startling artworks.

7. Independence can address Scotland’s psychological traumas and historical debts

A SCOTTISH nation-state won’t come into the world as some kind of historical innocent.

Scotland has played its full part in industrial and imperial modernity. We bear considerable responsibility for a system that has brought us to the very precipice of the planet’s ecological boundaries. This system has also left billions in unbearable living conditions they will have to flee.

Taking full responsibility for our affairs in the world will have an immediate psychological benefit – especially if it is the “settled will” of the Scottish population. We will all walk a little taller, shoulders back.

Bur we must use that confidence to address – and even lead – the global conversation on how Scotland must respond to its debts of ecology and modernity. Whether that involves a proportion of national resources devoted to “reparations” under various criteria, or an explicit welcoming of climate refugees.

Our independence will mean exercising our “response-ability” to answer the fates those who have not benefitted from our pursuit of “progress”.

8. Independence will be an opportunity for an emotional reset

DO we want to proceed into the rest of the century at each others’ throats? Must we submit to the polarisations that social and digital media generate, and exacerbate? When we know we can agree differences, and sometimes even transcend them, if we give ourselves enough space and time to do so?

All the way through an independence process – before, during, and after – those supporting the outcome must “be the Scotland they wish to see”, to paraphrase Gandhi.

Meaning that if a friendly, conversational and convivial indy Scotland is what they want, then they should make that manifest in all their behaviours and responses.

Ok, that’s it. From both left and right perspectives, I’m aware that I’ve left out some issues. But I’ll expect this redoubtable readership to take that on – and be happy to respond.

Last words to the Big Mac: “Scotland small? Our multiform, our infinite Scotland small?” The ultimate case for independence, of course.