WHY bother getting active on January 31 – the third anniversary of Brexit – just to mark three years since Scotland was yanked out of the European Union? It’s a reasonable question.

After all, Brexit is clearly a done deal – for Britain at least.

Even though a shock poll commissioned by the Eurosceptic GB News found a majority of Brits now want to rejoin, the Remain-voting Sir Keir Starmer is firmly committed to ignoring them. Anyway, it’s questionable if the 27 actually want the troublesome UK back in the gang. And as for rumours that a Swiss-style deal could offer UK access to the single market without membership of those troublesome EU institutions, it took our Alpine friends almost 10 years to clinch the deal and there’s been constant friction ever since over compliance with EU regulations.

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Certainly, many Yessers don’t feel particularly passionate about EU membership. The EU is a cumbersome, hyper-bureaucratic institution, which proved to be no friend to Catalonia or Greece and is run largely in the interests of the Germans and French.

But it also serves to keep neighbours talking and negotiating where once they fought wars. It came to the immediate support of Ireland when Boris Johnson tried to push our Celtic cousins around.

Its environmental standards have helped prevent pollution and sharp practice here and its directives on workers’ rights meant Scots got overtime and paid holidays.

Such “perks” didn’t happen before Britain joined the EEC and had to grudgingly accept the broadly social democratic thinking of countries which had long since jettisoned “us v them” in favour of proportional voting systems, patience, compromise and negotiation. No wonder archaic, first-past-the-post, might-is-right Westminster cannae thole them – too damn lefty.

The National: Palace of Westminster and Elizabeth Tower – stock

Hell, most European Tories are left of the Labour Party. But left-leaning, PR-based, outward-looking, negotiation-friendly Scotland fits in just fine, as the wheen of pay settlements agreed north (but not south) of the Border kinda demonstrates.

Negotiation is always better than the clunking fist.

But such is the Tory horror of being told what to do by foreigners/attention-seeking First Ministers and union barons that they simply refuse to talk, engage or negotiate. Because treating other people with respect and other leaders as equals means losing total and absolute control. And for posturing Tories and flag-hugging Labour leaders, that’s all that seems to matter these days. So, Westminster politicians can’t do sharing, won’t submit to external authority and can’t abide by rules (including their own).

For folk with such a mindset, Brexit was natural and inevitable. Even if the illusion of retrieved control also meant economic calamity, as every industrial, business, service and public sector has suffered staff shortages since the end of free movement (with which Scots had no problem); 4% has been wiped off GDP and trade levels have cowped.

Who cares – it’s all worthwhile for charlatans like Jacob Rees-Mogg (below) who shifted his own business to the safety of Dublin and the cursed Eurozone.

The National: Jacob Rees-Mogg

Scots can do better than this internationally because we lack delusions of grandeur, lack any long-standing enmity with the French, understand the art of negotiation and have friends in high places. Like EU leaders who can clearly see the logic of membership by a progressive energy-rich, geo-politically important North Atlantic state.

Of course, their competitors in the EFTA halfway house probably feel the same. Scotland is that tasty a proposition as a new trading partner and member of any small nations club. Heck, we might be the only country ever to seek independence just to formally become part of Europe again. That fact is not lost on our neighbours, their citizens, journalists and politicians, and it contrasts nicely with the self-harming Europe-hating of the heid-bangers down south.

Several journalists since the Supreme Court rally have raised the same question – surely the craziness and unfairness of Brexit will be the final nail in the Union’s coffin?

Well, it would be great if that came to pass. But for that to happen, Scots have to care.

It’s strange. Maybe we’ve got so used to things being done against our will (try almost everything since 1955) that we hardly rated the affront of Brexit.

But it was an affront. And the rest of the world noticed.

Indeed, Brexit has become talismanic for many folk furth of Scotland who previously didn’t understand the drive for independence at all because that vote was the most recent, concise, precisely measured and most graphic illustration of Scottish democracy denied.

Glance at the Brexit voting map – which changes colour like a cliff-face at the border – and you see Scotland’s dilemma writ large and colourful, on an issue that’s meaningful for the rest of the UK and Europe.

Brexit is relatable. And that means it has transformed understanding of Scotland’s stuckness in a way no issue has ever done before, with the possible exception of “Scotland’s Oil”.

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Of course, Scots who voted Yes in 2014 don’t need a proxy issue, don’t need a prism, don’t really want our political culture measured by a vote we never called for in the first place. But others see it differently. Professionals who voted No, Remain voters in rUK, and European citizens have all come to understand the case for Scottish independence through the Brexit referendum vote. And that’s why we must get off our backsides in the cold, dark and inevitable rain – again. To reclaim the narrative, tell the Brexit story our way and stay defiant and visible.

The aim of Time for Scotland rallies on January 31 at Holyrood and elsewhere is very simple.

We want to remind everyone that Brexit expressed the will of (mostly) English voters, whereas Remain-voting Scots in every council area managed not to fall for the shabby Boris business of scapegoating Europeans and therein demonstrated considerable political maturity.

So, let’s turn out to say we still feel European, still have a sizeable majority in favour of EU membership and still want Europeans to make Scotland their home too.

The National: Demonstrators waves EU flags at a protest by Pro EU campaigners outside the Scottish Parliament ahead of a debate on the EU Referendum result and the implications for Scotland, in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 28, 2016..Scottish First Minister Nicola

It will be a 5.30pm start so everyone coming should bring a light. We hope the Edinburgh event will be a central point for the organisers who held rallies around Scotland and Europe and Indy Live will once again stream proceedings across Scotland and Europe.

Our message: Scots should decide the issue of our EU membership and no-one else. And although we’ve been cut out of the European family by an English Brexit, Scots will always value and celebrate cultural ties with European neighbours.

That’s why the Lights On event will feature music from European citizens who’ve chosen to make Scotland their home.

If that floats your boat, please register via www.timeforscotland.scot so we can send the latest information. And mark Brexit Day on your calendar.

It’s become a day of shame for the rest of Britain – but one of unexpected pride for Scots, whose Remain vote defined our nation as another country in the eyes of a watching world.

January 31, 2023 – another Time for Scotland.