The COVID crisis has reminded us as never before of our common humanity as countries across the world face the same huge challenge of keeping people safe. With the development of vaccines – in itself an astonishing collaborative international project – we can now look ahead to better days. And as we start the process of rebuilding our economies and societies, that same collective spirit will be more important than ever.
Unfortunately for those of us in Scotland we are, at the same time, at the sharp end of a very different project, driven by very different values: Brexit.
That’s not surprising. The founding values of the European Union – human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights – are Scotland’s values.
More than 230,000 people from across Europe have made Scotland their home. They are part of who we are, they are our friends and family and we really want them to stay.
And in turn I believe Scotland has contributed a great deal to wider European goals. Indeed, looking at the big challenges, aside from COVID, facing the EU, such as the climate emergency and building a much more inclusive “well-being” economy, Scotland has much to offer.