I’M delighted to report my role in the expanded Westminster group has been confirmed. I’m Shadow Foreign Affairs, working with the Westminster briefs of Europe, International Trade, Defence and International Development.

Our role at Westminster is to augment and support the work being undertaken by our Scottish Government led by Fiona Hyslop, Ben Macpherson and of course Nicola Sturgeon.

We’ve a real job of work to do, because there are more and more examples with every, it seems, passing day, where Westminster is out of step with Scotland. I said in my first speech (maiden speech seems a bit flummery for my taste, besides I got it done in record time barely two days in the door) that a Union can only be maintained by respect and consent.

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Scotland has as a matter of arithmetic fact not consented to our removal from the EU by a government we likewise rejected, and in ramming through his atrocious deal Boris Johnson and his Tory party are proving a lack of respect to Scotland.

The National: Boris Johnson

I stood to try and help stop Brexit, and it grieves me deeply that I have failed in that. But I have failed in that, and as I said in Strasbourg the best part of a year ago, if we are removed against our will then independence is our only route back. I’ve seen some elements of the continuing Remain campaign down south clutching at straws that it is somehow still reversible.

It is not. The LibDems bet the house on a Remain bounce that never came, and the UK Labour party is not going to advocate EU membership for the foreseeable future. In any event, the deal we had is not the deal we’d go back to after the past three years of heartbreak. I don’t see that the UK has the political maturity or self-awareness to negotiate that path.

We should not tilt at windmills. Instead we will work towards as close a relationship in as many fields for the UK and EU, as it will be in Scotland’s and the UK’s best interests.

But parallel to that, because that will be an uphill struggle while the Tories revel in the fact the transition period means the sky has not yet fallen, we need to build the case for independence and trumpet it to the world.

The fact is, we will do our best but the current leadership of the UK does not want a close relationship with the EU, in significant senses. Scotland does, and we will use that argument to honestly and transparently bring home to the people of Scotland what we’re losing in leaving the EU and what we will maintain, and additional things we will gain with independence by rejoining it.

Be in no doubt, Scotland is from now going to look and sound and act and prepare as an applicant state of the European Union. The world will want to get to know us before we join it.

So on so many fronts, the UK is not representing Scotland’s interests the way we would – look at the current heartache in Iran with the extra-judicial killing of Iranian General Qasem Suleimani.

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One of the few things that is clear is that the current incumbent of the US White House has scant regard for international law or due process, and the current incumbent of 10 Downing Street is feart to criticise him or be seen to disagree.

Contrast that with the reaction from Scotland – Nicola Sturgeon was clear, decent, measured and eminently sensible.

Hers was a statement that could have come from Copenhagen, Dublin, Berlin, remembering values, appealing for de-escalation and above all concern that it is our supposed special ally that has taken such a reckless step.

Smaller countries are instinctively better at internationalism and multilateralism because we lack the guns and tanks and bombs (and delusions) that we can go it alone. Scotland is an instinctive ally and a fierce friend, we’re not pacifists and we’re too strategically important to allow defence to be an afterthought.

But for the UK now, to meekly acquiesce in what could well become a ruinous US gamble is a dereliction of duty.

We’ll make our voices heard in the House of Commons, but I’m not sure the Tories are for listening. Well, the people of Scotland are.