New year messages: a time to pause and reflect

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The festivities mean as many things to as many different people and I want to wish all readers of The Extra and everyone in our United Kingdom a very a Happy New Year however you choose to spend it.

It is a time to pause and reflect about the important things around us. For me, it is all about family and friends. I’m not particularly religious but the ability to spend time with sons who are away at university, old political chums and family now living across the United Kingdom for me makes Christmas.

With that in mind, I would like to pay particular tribute to members of our Armed Forces who will be spending their Christmas abroad and cannot be with their families over the Christmas and New Year period.

2014 has been an extra ordinary year for Scotland. We showed athletes from around the world the very best of Glasgow with a phenomenal Commonwealth Games. Team Europe’s decisive Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles was a showcase for Scotland.

One of the most important moments in our history occurred this year when we voted decisively to reaffirm Scotland’s position in the United Kingdom. The lengthy campaign saw the level of political engagement and participation reach an unprecedented level, with passions running high.

As we move into 2015 I hope that we can move towards a more united Scotland. Christmas is the ideal time for that beginning.