It is impossible not to look back at the past year with very mixed feelings.
Terrorism has raised its head yet again with the suffering it engenders. Our politics continue to be dominated by the challenges of implementing the result of the EU referendum. As I could see from the consequences of the vote in Parliament last week, this has the capacity of provoking the expression of extreme and even violent views on social media, which reflect deeply held differences of opinion on how best to proceed. Internationally, the storm clouds in the Middle East are as present as ever and the threats to our security are growing. The ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar is an appalling reflection on the capacity of human are sad reflection on There are also plenty of problems closer to home that need our attention, as the Grenfell Tower fire showed. My mailbag brings to my attention a constant stream of failings that we need to work together to address.
But for all this we are also blessed with overall levels of security in our lives that the majority of people with whom we share our planet do not have, the fruit of the efforts of previous generations to leave us a better legacy than they inherited themselves. We have the capacity to improve our lives and those of others if we listen to each other’s point of view and strive to serve the common good.
The Christmas message is about the possibility of redemption despite our shortcomings, an offer open to all people of goodwill. At a dark time of the year it is the light that can shine for all of us and I would like to wish all my constituents a merry and peaceful Christmastide.