The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known simply as The Commonwealth, is a global association of 54 member states, all but two of which were parts of the former British Empire.
The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organisation in which countries with diverse social, political and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status, with decision making by consensus. Membership by independent Scotland would be as good as automatic.
The many practical advantages of participation with the Commonwealth include membership, educational, youth, sport and other programmes, and for small nations like Scotland consular representation in non-Commonwealth countries.
Scotland’s centuries-old economic links with the Commonwealth countries were severely damaged by the UK’s entry into the European Economic Community in 1973, but membership still offers substantial economic opportunities in a market with considerable scope for expansion as development proceeds.
In this connection, the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), set up in 1997, aims to utilise the global network of the Commonwealth more effectively for the promotion of trade and investment for shared prosperity. In short, the Commonwealth offers Scotland more opportunities for enterprise today than it ever did in imperial times.
As the major Commonwealth Games events in Glasgow (2014) demonstrate, Scotland has no difficulty in identifying with the Commonwealth as a community as an equal member.
As our nation reverts inexorably to its former status of equality within the interdependent global community at large, active participation in the Commonwealth of Nations will be only one of the goals Scotland will be pursuing.