Looking forward to 2015 with optimism

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And so the year 2014 comes to a close, leaving me with a host of memories, some of them memorable, while others are better confined to history.

But rather than look backwards with regret, always a dangerous and unproductive idea, I prefer to look forward with optimism, even daring to make some predictions for 2015 in the hope that our society will learn from the mistakes of the outgoing year.

It would of course be pointless to ask that our national politicians take aboard the issues thrown up during the year, leading to another election in which the divisive referendum will again arise, particularly here in Gordon where Alex Salmond has decided to stand for Westminster in May.

It will certainly be a competitive campaign in which I expect the former first minister to overturn a 6000 plus majority held by the Lib-Dems. I even expect there to be a bumper response from the electorate as was the case on September 18, not that I expect the rest of the UK to go anywhere near an 85% turnout.

I am not going to say there will be much enjoyment in the run up to the day, but it will certainly be interesting.

I would, however, caution all the winners on the day to take a more positive stance when they reach Westminster.

For far too long politicians of all hues have been playing the consensus game, leaving the country in a state of flux, and scarcely helpful when promoting strong government.

Just get on with it, looking over your shoulder for responses is not what the electorate wants or expects.

On the other hand it would be helpful if local politicians did pay some heed to local decision-making, while shrugging off the manipulative officials who are proving to be the scourge of local government all over Scotland, including here in Aberdeenshire.

At the other end of the political scale, I hope our community councils will finally stand up and let us know what they stand for, if indeed anything. The partnership among all three tiers which should exist seems not to have any impact, though at the end of the day I will settle for strong leadership, sadly lacking in the so-called three main parties. On this one I suspect we shall have another hung parliament, although I am not sure which party will be the broker in London.

Finally, in the world of local sport I wish for a more co-ordinated approach will see our young hopefuls getting a better deal. The weaknesses of local sport being worth a column of its own. In the meantime I will settle for Aberdeen FC retaining the League Cup before going on to win the league. And why not?