FOR MANY of us, the only polite thing to say to 2018 is ... 'adieu' and we hope not to see your like again.

This is usually a reflective time of year, but rather than concentrate on the many negatives, let's look at the positives. Yes, there were some!

Positive one: Brexit has galvanised the industry. We have been hapless victims of political/legislative change for many years, but the Brexit issue has made many in the industry sit up and take note.

While we can admit that it is wearing our patience down, and that there is a feeling that we should 'jist get on with it', we should all admire the tenacity of NFUS, which quickly and implicitly set out its stall with its 'change' document. Would that our government had matched its clarity of thought.

Positive two: 'Resilience' is a factor most poignantly touched upon by Doug Avery, in his RHASS-sponsored tour of Scotland.

We heard that Doug had battled the scourge of drought in his home nation, New Zealand for some years – which he only later accepted cause him mental health issues – but I think even he was shocked by the immediacy of hearing how climatic chaos that in just a few days brought havoc to farmers in this country. The so-called Beast from the East will, perhaps, be downgraded in comparison to 1947 and 1963 by history, but for us, it was all too real.

So, the industry proved itself resilient. We coped.

Positive 3: This industry has a new generation of potential farmers waiting in the wings. They just need a chance ... or, for themselves, they need to take a chance?

I have been nothing but impressed by the calibre and imagination of the young people in our industry on various fronts and, no, I don't think this has had anything to do with the Scottish Year of Young People. I think it is a natural progression, which has been ongoing for some time.

My only word of caution would be that blue sky thinking, should be tempered by hard world reality, However, if you reach for the sky, then at least getting to the clouds is getting to first base!

Positive 4. We now know the calibre of the people we elected to serve us in office. While this might apply to Westminster in particular – given the shameful machinations of Brexit's 'will we, won't we' deal – there's a message, too, for our 'National' politicians.

There is definitely rising disgust amongst voters at the behaviour of 'politics' in general, which seems to make the most out of the banal, while forgetting to address the real issues that face us all in a manner which is beneficial for the national as a whole and not just for self interest – personal, or political.

At the risk of being trite, we can only hope that this manifests itself in all of us being a bit more critical of the people we choose to elect to power at the next election. It is within our gift to choose these people ... and recent times have shown that we should use it more wisely than we have. We can only live in hope.