Scotland and the wider world: should we know our place?

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by Bill Kidd

Too wee, too poor, too stupid.  Is that how you see our country?  Is that how we should bring up our children to think of themselves and their communities?  It’s how the British Establishment, both north and south of the Border, depict us, like Alice through a concave mirror.  Therefore it’s vital that we take every opportunity to promote Scotland’s right to participate in the wider world through international organisations and on platforms of particular interest to us here.

A couple of months after election to the Scottish Parliament in 2007 I joined PNND (Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament) which operates in the parliaments of over 70 countries and has over 800 members.  I am now the first Scot to sit on the 15 Member Global Council of PNND and this has afforded me the opportunity to speak at international gatherings at the UN on four separate occasions and a chance to question NATO politicians and diplomats on the future of Trident at Partnership for Peace in Geneva.

Having been a member of a delegation which met with Ban-Ki Moon to discuss his Five-Point-Plan for a World Without Nuclear Weapons and had a personal interview with Ambassador Cabactulan, President of the NPT Review Conference 2010, it has been made abundantly clear to me that Scotland’s place in the world and our popular and parliamentary opposition to Trident is known and understood at the highest levels.  We need to make this awareness known to the Scottish people in order that they can gain the self-confidence that comes from being taken seriously by high-profile people of integrity on the world-stage.

I have to say that not only is it unquestioned by politicians and diplomats from across the world that Scots should appear at conferences and speak on behalf of delegations at international convocations but, to be fair to them, it is also accepted by ambassador level staff of the British state and we should not be shy to make ourselves known in those circles.  For example, H.E. John Duncan the U.K. Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva is a career diplomat who hails from Rhu and a genuine gentleman.  Although he is very precise in his promotion of Trident as a deterrent and of its use in multilateral negotiations he well understands my belief in unilateral nuclear disarmament but has still been very helpful in introductions to other attendees at nuclear disarmament conferences.  If we take ourselves seriously then others will too.

Scotland needs the full powers of a sovereign nation over defence and foreign affairs and to take our place on the world-stage in the promotion of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament as well as in peace-keeping and serving as an honest broker in international disputes.  Until that approaching day arrives we must as a matter of importance promote our nation as one which has something to say and to contribute on the matters of state which affect all existing members of the United Nations and the peoples of the world.

Published with thanks to the Scottish Independence Convention