THIS week marks not one but two significant anniversaries for us in the independence movement. Both give a reminder that even whilst we reflect on the past, we have a brighter future to look forward to.

The youngest anniversary marks 25 years since the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament on May 12, 1999.

I was in Kinross, having taken three weeks’ leave from my job in London to campaign and had been attached to George Reid’s campaign in Ochil, working with my great pal Bruce Crawford, himself elected that night for the Mid Scotland and Fife list.

It’s important to remember too that the Parliament was re-established, a point made by Madame Ecosse herself, who uttered the immortal words: “The Scottish Parliament, adjourned on the 25th day of March in the year 1707, is hereby reconvened.”

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The Scottish Parliament is not a new thing but the rebirth of an ancient institution.

The other anniversary also links Winnie Ewing to another institution that Scotland was formerly part of but hopefully will be again.

Just a few days before the 25th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament’s re-establishment, we have Europe Day tomorrow.

As I wrote in this paper last year, this date marks the day in 1950 when French foreign minister Robert Schuman produced the Schuman Declaration, which proposed placing French and West German production of coal and steel under a single authority.

The subsequent European Coal and Steel Community established the following year laid the foundations of today’s European Union.

Remembering where we’ve come from has two purposes. One is to tie ourselves to pay tribute to those who came before; the other is to remember what has happened so we can avoid the same mistakes.

These two anniversaries are worthy of celebration because of the achievements they have made to the lives of the people of Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament means that whilst Westminster barely gives any consideration to Scottish matters, our parliament in Edinburgh can.

The National: Holyrood chamber interiorInside the Holyrood building - Scottish Parliament

Whereas there may have been scarcely a few hours to discuss how matters of housing, employment, and education would affect Scotland before 1999, now we have entire departments, committees, and political parties working in these areas.

Where Westminster insists on an obsolete first-past-the-post system in which Scotland’s MPs are a minority, at Holyrood the proportional system means that Scots, old and new, across our land can have their voices heard in their parliament.

The Scottish Parliament has seen successful legislation such as the smoking ban in enclosed public places, free university tuition to enable Scots from all backgrounds to pursue further education or the Scottish Child Payment, which has lifted 100,000 children out of poverty.

These were policies produced by Scottish political parties, elected by the people of Scotland, for the people of Scotland.

Having fought so hard for decades to get a parliament, 25 years after its re-establishment we should all be proud of the successes that it has generated for all of us who choose to call Scotland home.

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Of course, as a Nat I think it is a work in progress – devolution was always going to be a halfway house, not a settled status.

But even as we work to complete the Parliament, we can still be glad of the powers we have and what we’ve done with them. Yes we could do more, that’s the point.

Across the water, the EU and its predecessors helped heal a continent torn apart by two world wars. It has fostered close ties and friendships amongst former enemies.

It has helped countries which were former dictatorships – including fascist and communist – to successfully transition to liberal democracy and remove the oppression of authoritarian systems.

In terms of policy, the EU has delivered vital funds to secure Europe’s food security through the Common Agricultural Policy.

Sovereign nations have pooled their resources together with the EU’s Structural Funds to address regional inequalities, something that we see the lasting infrastructure benefits of with roads, bridges, and causeways built in rural Scotland and the islands.

And of course, there is the single market, the Customs Union, and the four freedoms of people, capital, goods, and services, which have enabled Europeans to live and work together for the common good.

Both the Scottish Parliament and the EU have a history of achievements we should all be proud of and not take for granted.

Having reflected on the past though we must turn to the future.

The Scottish Parliament has more powers than it did at its establishment but it lacks the full levers to make changes that other independent countries can.

Having previously been part of the European project, the only realistic way for Scotland to get back into the EU is for it to become an independent country.

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We want Scotland to be a part of the world, not cut off from it in Brexit Britain.

As we gear up for the General Election then, we must consider not only the powers that we want an independent Scotland to have but how would we use them to benefit the people of Scotland.

Independence will give us the opportunity to do something different whether it comes to securing workers’ rights, improving economic prospects or ensuring our young people have the opportunity to live, work, and travel across our shared continent.

As our Parliament celebrates its 25th year, I look forward to the day when it celebrates not only its re-establishment or Europe Day, but our very own independence day.