HAPPY New Year and I wish all Tele readers a prosperous 2017.
Hogmanay and the New Year brings a huge sense of anticipation and hope and this year is not any different.
This Hogmanay I spent piping at The Beacon at the Alan and Polly Beck Hogmanay Show as well as piping once again for my neighbours.
I have always enjoyed Hogmanay as I reminisce about the previous 12 months and look forward to the year ahead.
2017 certainly will bring forward challenges aplenty. We know that Article 50 taking Britain out of the EU will be triggered by the end of March.
Just before Christmas, the First Minister published the Scottish Government paper keeping Scotland in the UK whilst maintaining some aspects of the EU.
The paper is a compromise to maintain economic opportunity for Scotland. This ‘differentiation’ option is not new as they already exist in Europe.
The Faroe Islands are a non EU semi-autonomous country which is part of Denmark.
The Aland Islands are a Swedish speaking part of Finland and are situated between Finland and Sweden.
Although Aland is in the EU, they are exempt from paying any VAT. The Channel Islands also have a differentiated status.
Both Jersey and Guernsey are Crown Dependencies which have signed up to the EU freedom of goods but not people, services or capital.
Furthermore, they don’t pay VAT but are in the Customs Union.
There really is no reason why the UK Prime Minister should reject the Scottish Government opportunity.