Well here we are in 2019 – I hope the festive period brought you at least some of what you wanted. It is said of course that we should “be careful for what we wish for”.
In my case that was certainly true – I wished for rest and sleep and ended up in bed with that awful lurgy that afflicted so many over the festive period. Serves me right.
So, hopes for the New Year? Certainly that East Kilbride prospers, with recognition given to the town’s potential to forge a new path in technology and environmental excellence: For Scotland, that we are able to forge our own path towards our aspirations for our own and our children’s futures.
Scotland’s future. I do have concerns about this year, the year we may well end up out of the European Union – with a deal, or without a deal. Either way is against what Scotland voted for back in June 2016 when we overwhelmingly voted to remain with our European Union partners, protecting the single market and customs union; when we voted to maintain the relationships that have been built up in health, in business, in education, in academia and research across a whole range of disciplines, in travel and cultural experience.
So here, at the beginning of 2019, hurtling towards the 29th March deadline for leaving the European Union, where exactly are we at?
Well, the UK Prime Minister has negotiated a deal with the other 27 countries that are members of the European Union.
That deal, by common consent including her own Conservative Party, has no credibility at all so may well be voted down in the House of Commons next week.
What then? The UK Government rhetoric seems to be that this would result in a catastrophic ‘no deal’ with the UK having to leave the EU, with or without a deal by 29th March. That contention is disingenuous –the UK Government could put it to the Parliament that the notice of withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50) could be deferred or revoked: As confirmed legally.
The Prime Minister’s deal could then be put to the people in a further referendum, with voters now having a much clearer perspective on the implications of leaving the European Union. If this is the case then surely Scotland’s position must be respected this time, along with that of the other devolved nations. You may remember that as well as Scotland, Northern Ireland voted ‘remain’.
I certainly believe that in a partnership of nations, which the United Kingdom purports to be, then each component part should have to vote ‘leave’ before that would apply.
That seems only democratic and fair to me.
Of course Scotland could decide that we should protect our own economic and social interests and remain in the European Union as an independent nation, like all of the others from Austria to Sweden, from Malta to Germany.
Interesting that we were told during the lwast Independence campaign that voting to leave the UK would mean we couldn’t remain in the European Union, and here we are now being dragged out against our will!
Yet another General Election? Well, if the UK Government has such little support, even amongst their own MPs, Party Members and voters, then that may well happen!
Mind you, I am not convinced that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has a clear position on Brexit either – they seem very confused too.
It really is time that the Westminster parties sorted out their internal difficulties and recognised that at this crucial point it is the ‘bigger picture’ that must take precedence. The long term interests of all of the British isles are of prime importance.
Whatever the next few weeks brings, whether it’s the Prime Minister’s deal, no deal, further referendum or General Election, one thing you can be sure of is that the Scottish Government and representatives of the SNP in both Holyrood and Westminster will always act in the best interests of Scotland.
As is said, “we live in interesting times”. All the best for 2019.
You may remember, as well as Scotland, Northern Ireland voted to ‘remain’ as well...