Tele column – 23rd December 2016

The last year has seen many momentous events including terrorist attacks across the globe, the resignation of the then Prime Minster David Cameron and natural disasters ranging from earthquakes to famine and pestilence. The biggest political event in the UK and the one that will have the biggest ramifications, for years to come, was the decision to leave the E.U. While England and Wales voted to leave, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar all voted to remain. That outcome has put the UK in a difficult but not unattainable position. Before Theresa May became Prime Minister she set out her views of a UK “in which Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England continue to flourish side by side as equal partners.”   So it should come as no surprise that the Scottish government has vowed to fight to protect both the interests and the political will of the Scottish people. In Scotland there remains a strong desire to be a full and active member of the European family of nations.

The Scottish government has vowed to protect Scotland’s national interests and ensure Scotland’s voice is heard, and acted upon. The Scottish Government argues that the UK as a whole should remain within the European Single Market – through the European Economic Area – and within the EU Customs Union.

A few months ago via the Greenock Telegraph I shared with you the views of leading academics on the Brexit issue and they said that we were heading for a hard and painful Brexit. If the UK Government continues in its unwieldly way then those predictions shall come true.

It stands to reason that the proposals put forward by the Scottish Government fall short of what we consider to be the best status for Scotland and the UK – full membership of the EU. However, they are designed to mitigate – as far as possible – the real and serious risks for Scotland caused by being taken out of the EU against our will.

Once article 50 is triggered then and only then will the separation begin. It would be of great comfort if, before that event, the UK Government had published their plan. So far we have seen nothing to indicate that they have one.

2017 shall be nothing if not interesting. I wish you all peace, love and understanding in these uncertain times ahead.