THE pressure organisation Europe for Scotland, which is made up of Europeans who wish to express solidarity with Scotland and to see it return to the EU as an independent nation, has launched a new campaign which calls for Scotland to be part of the conversation around EU enlargement ahead of the European elections which are due in May next year.

Elections in which Scotland will not be represented thanks to the Brexit which Scotland opposed.

The centrepiece of the campaign is a petition entitled "Would You Like Scotland To Be Part Of The Conversation On EU Enlargement?"

The petition, which you can sign HERE, asks European citizens and MEPs in the next Parliament to "remember us, consider our clear desire to rejoin the EU as an independent country and to keep Scotland part of the conversation on a democratic, open and fair EU enlargement".

There are eight recognised candidates for membership of the European Union: Turkey (since 1999), North Macedonia (2005), Montenegro (2010), Serbia (2012), Albania (2014), Moldova (2022), Ukraine (2022), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2022). In addition, Georgia is recognised as a future candidate as is Kosovo.

Scotland cannot currently be recognised as a candidate for EU membership because it is not yet an independent state. 

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However, should Scotland become independent it is widely accepted that its accession would be relatively rapid.

Contrary to the propaganda of the anti-independence parties there is no "queue" for membership with candidate states only being admitted in the order of application. Some anti-independence campaigners have asserted that Scotland would have to go to the back of the queue behind Turkey.

Although Turkey has been a candidate for membership since 1999, its candidacy is currently frozen due to concerns about the authoritarian nature of the Turkish government. Other candidate states can be expected to join before Turkey does.

Indeed, Croatia became a candidate for EU membership in 2004, five years after Turkey, and joined the bloc in 2013.

Although Scotland would have to go through the accession process like any other candidate, there are many reasons to expect that an independent Scotland would complete the necessary steps more quickly than other candidate states. Scotland is not a post-communist or post-Soviet state, which are typically burdened with a legacy of rampant corruption and immature democratic institutions.

Neither does Scotland have active territorial disputes such as Serbia's dispute about the independence of Kosovo or Moldova's dispute with the breakaway unrecognised authoritarian statelet of Transnistria.

Scotland also has the immense advantage of having previously been a part of the EU and already being in compliance with most of the EU acquis, the set of conditions necessary for membership.

The Scottish Government is already aiming to keep pace with EU law in areas of devolved legislative competence and has recently passed legislation to facilitate this in order to minimise post-Brexit divergence from the EU.

All that Scotland lacks is independence, but it is highly likely that the EU will look very favourably on a state which has sought independence in part so that it can make a bid for membership and as a rejection of the anti-EU Brexit of exceptionalist British nationalism.

Alistair Darling

Alistair Darling (below), the former head of the Better Together campaign in 2014 and Chancellor of the Exchequer under Gordon Brown from 2007 to 2010, has passed away aged 70 following a battle with cancer

The National: Alistair Darling has died aged 70

He first entered politics as a councillor on Lothian Regional Council in 1982 where he gained a reputation as a firebrand socialist, he was later elected as an MP for Edinburgh Central in 1987. His political career was characterised by a rightwards trend, mirroring that of the Labour party.

He served as the Scottish secretary under Tony Blair from 2003 to 2006. He also served as secretary of state for social security under Tony Blair from 1998 to 2003 (the post was renamed to secretary of state for work and pensions in 2001).

In 1999, he was responsible for pushing through a controversial welfare reform bill that cut entitlement to incapacity benefit despite warnings from disability rights groups about the damage it would cause to disabled and chronically ill people.

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Darling's legacy is keeping Scotland a part of the UK, and serving as the figurehead of a Better Together campaign whose promises to the people of Scotland have - to put it kindly - not stood the test of time.

Alba Party

MSP Ash Regan (below), who defected to the Alba Party a few months after after coming a very distant third in the SNP leadership contest, has announced that she intends to present a bill to Holyrood calling for a referendum on the 10th anniversary of the independence referendum of  September 18, 2014.

The National:

Her proposed referendum would ask the people of Scotland whether they supported giving the Scottish Parliament the powers to legislate for and negotiate independence.

The MSP said she believes the plan would be within the competence of the Scottish Parliament although the UK Supreme Court ruled that the constitution was reserved.

This is because instead of legislation for a referendum on independence, Scots would be polled on whether or not to extend Holyrood's powers.

It would remain up to the Westminster Parliament to act on the result of the poll should it produce a majority for Yes.

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Alba Party leader Alex Salmond has said the move was his back up plan if David Cameron had refused to grant a Section 30 order, which allowed the 2014 independence referendum to go ahead.

Although polls suggest that Scots remain pretty evenly divided on the question of independence, evidence from polling also shows a consistent pattern of clear majorities in Scotland who believe that it should be for the Scottish Parliament to decide on whether there should be an independence referendum.

As such, proponents believe that their referendum which have a good chance of passing should it be held. The real question is whether the government at Westminster would pay it any heed.