THE past few weeks and months in politics have certainly not been quiet.

Looking back to the 2014 independence referendum, which is how I first got involved in politics and became a passionate Yesser, it feels like a world away.

A decade ago, Scotland was in the middle of its democratic spring, the Conservative UK government respected Scotland’s right to choose its future (despite going all out to spread falsities and flood us with broken promises), the UK was a member of the EU and a Trump presidency existed only in The Simpsons.

The National: Olaf Stando is international officer at Young Scots for IndependenceOlaf Stando is international officer at Young Scots for Independence

Since then, the UK has retreated from the world, broken international law, decimated its public services through heavy austerity and elected buffoons like Boris Johnson and Liz Truss (of lettuce fame) to highest office.

And contrary to the 2014 No campaign’s central promise, which for many was the difference between voting Yes and No, Scotland was taken out of the EU despite overwhelmingly voting against Brexit.

Brexit was, and still remains, a tragedy – for your communities, for workers, for our environment, for small businesses, for our economy, and most of all for Scotland’s young people.

READ MORE: Major European conference to reach out to parties 'abandoned' by Labour

Scotland never wanted it, Scotland never voted it, but contrary to the promises of being in a “union of equals”, we got thrown under Boris Johnson’s red Brexit bus.

While both the Tories and Labour now back this monumental act of self-harm, polls continue to show that the vast majority of people in Scotland want nothing to do with it.

We’re outward-looking, we’re internationalist, we’re European – and we know that as members of the EU, we can do much, much better.

Europe knows this, and they see it. Donald Tusk, former EU Council president and now the prime minister of Poland, said that “the EU would be enthusiastic if Scotland applied to rejoin”.

When Alyn Smith gave his final speech as an MEP before we were officially taken out of the EU, he asked the EU Parliament to “leave a light on” for Scotland – to a rapturous standing ovation.

Ultimately, it’s our job to keep generating the energy that will keep this “light on” for Scotland.

I’m confident that within the next decade, Scotland will choose to become an independent country and rejoin the EU in its own right – after all, independence is the only path to Europe that we have left.

But to get there, we need to put in the hard graft – stepping up Scotland’s international connections, building vital alliances with European parties that share our values and keeping Scotland on the European agenda.

That’s why, as young people in the SNP, we’ve been taking matters into our own hands and organising our International Conference – taking place in Stirling, on May 17 and 18.

READ MORE: Young Scots for Independence conference – everything you need to know

After successfully hosting our pilot conference last year and signing the “Edinburgh Pledge” committing us to internationalism and co-operation, we’re bringing international youth leaders to Stirling – from eight European countries – to share and develop ideas, learn from each other and build support for an independent Scotland in Europe.

Many of these youth leaders may be parliamentarians, MEPs or senior people in their parties in a few years’ time.

Fundamentally, our conference is a step to demonstrate that Scotland is a proudly internationalist country, the SNP is a proudly internationalist party, and that the future can be better than the current omnishambles of Brexit Britain.

After all, it’s us, young people, who have the biggest stake in building that future, and we cannot wait a moment longer.

But just as we’re taking the proactive initiative, the SNP must step up their efforts too – work harder and broader to build relationships with other parties, and create a steady trickle of support among European politicians who will back Scotland.

There’s still a huge amount of international sympathy for Scotland because of the way we were dragged out of the EU, and a huge amount of admiration for Scotland’s policy choices – whether it’s our world-leading approach to violence reduction, our minimum unit pricing for alcohol, our baby box or our moral leadership on Gaza.

There’s lots of great work already being done by SNP parliamentarians and the Scottish Government’s international hubs, but what we must do is strategically harness that international sympathy and co-ordinate our international work – which is why the SNP need to establish an international committee, and do it soon.

I hope that this International Conference is an important step towards this, demonstrating what can be done when we bring people from different European parties together, discuss shared values and show Scotland in the best light.

Instead of accepting the tragedy of Brexit and the bleak reality of Westminster control, we’re taking Scotland’s future firmly into our hands – and firmly laying down the stepping stones on our path to a brighter future in Europe.

Olaf Stando is international officer at Young Scots for Independence