"The desire to see independence for your country is the most natural thing in the world and we are far from alone in it's pursuit."
When I was invited to attend South Tyrol’s national day as a member of a Scottish delegation I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I’d been invited fairly last minute so hadn’t found out much more other than that the Tyroleans had asked us to come along to celebrate their national day with them.
For a wee bit of background, Tirol was split into two after the end of World War 1 and the Southern half was parcelled off to Italy. Nowadays there is a campaign called “Iatz!”(Now! In English) which is campaigning for Tyrolean independence from Italy.
Scotland wasn’t the only country to send a delegation to Tyrol. We had the chance to meet some amazing people who were involved in the struggle for their own countries independence, from Catalonia and Basque to Flanders and Venice.
While the Tyrolleans and the visiting countries may not have agreed on all policies, there was one overarching desire they all shared, they all shared the desire to see their countries independent and they all believed in the right of self-determination. That those who live and work in a country should make the decisions that affect the country.
It shows that what we were saying in the Yes campaign was true. The desire to see independence for your country is the most natural thing in the world and we are far from alone in it's pursuit.
Not only that, the coming together of so many brilliant activists to show solidarity with another movement and peoples across a whole continent shows that the desire for independence is not the mythical inward-looking regressive nationalism espoused by champions of the status quo but rather civic and outward looking. It was clear in the conversations and it was clear in all the speeches, as nationalists we are not seeking to cut ourselves of from the world, we are seeking to join "the family of nations" in our own right.
On this note I'd like to thank the wonderful folk at the International Commission for European Citizens, a committee where all these independence seeking countries come together to advance their common goal, who helped organise the International precence and have campaigned tirelessly for independence since their formation.
SNP Youth gave me some of our swanky new boards and the privilege of kick starting the campaign to stay in Europe. The EU like much else in our world is far from perfect but it has also in a large part been a force for good, for example allowing small independent democracies to flourish and have a huge say under its institutions. It has also played no small part in fostering the culture of peace and co-operation we've seen between our European nations since its founding.
That is why I'm proud to call myself a Nationalist, internationalist and a Citizen of Europe.