I hope you all had a good Christmas and Hogmanay and are now rested for what promises to be a busy 2018. If we are to have a deal it must be concluded within the next ten months or there will not be sufficient time for the European Council and Parliament to ratify the deal before the March 2019 exit date. There is an awful lot to be done in that time and it is going to be a big ask to get the deal done.
These negotiations mean that Brexit is going to become far more real to people as the lies and wishful thinking of the Leave campaign collide with reality. Things are going to be unpredictable and fast moving. Even this week Nigel Farage and the Leave.eu campaign headed by Aaron Banks have called for a second EU referendum! Who would have bet on that last week?
Frankly, I am not sure we are there yet. If there was a feeling in England that the Brexit vote was somehow stolen, especially by a liberal elite aided and abetted by the Scots and the Irish, then it would put rocket boosters on the next iteration of UKIP – which would be more like Britain First – and we would be back here again in a few years’ time. I wrote more about this in response to a piece from Kirsty Hughes of the Scottish Centre for European Relations, you can read her piece here
I’ve always been clear that EU membership, ideally as an independent state but even as part of the UK, is in Scotland’s best interests. In the EU referendum, Scotland voted to remain. This is our starting point and our clear position. In 2018 I will continue to do everything possible to make that a reality.
PROPOSALS to prevent the ash clouds that blighted West Fife villages will be discussed next month.
In April and May last year, dust from the lagoons at Low Valleyfield was carried on the wind and hung over the area for weeks, sparking health warnings from NHS Fife and enforcement action from SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency).
Scottish Power apologised and have now come forward with proposals for engineering works and the final capping of the lagoons, with public exhibitions to be held in February.
The ash is a by-product of the coal burned at Longannet Power Station and when the plant was operational, the ash was mixed with water, transported and safely deposited in the lagoons.
Longannet closed in March 2016 and Scottish Power has no further need for the lagoons, which cover a vast area of more than 176 hectares – a full-size football pitch is typically just under one hectare.
After the disruption last year, the energy giant apologised and said the ash clouds had been caused by “exceptionally dry and windy” weather, adding that the dust was “not considered to be hazardous”.
However, SEPA served two enforcement notices on Scottish Power while school pupils were kept indoors at break times and NHS Fife issued several warnings.
This is an extract from the Dunfermline Press. To read the full article click here.
7.30 pm – 10.30 pm Adults £12. Children free. Pay at the door. Music by Dougie Smith.
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“So, that was the third round of negotiations. I must admit, even I thought this was the week when the UK would get serious. In reality, nothing has happened. As Michel Barnier, the lead EU negotiator, said at the end of the week “we made no decisive progress on the main subjects.