Having enjoyed a few days to rest (when not busy helping the children with their bumper crop of Christmas homework), I hope that your festive break brought some relaxation with family and friends.
I’m grateful for the warm hospitality shown by members of the Wilton Hunt, whom I was delighted to join on Boxing Day at Odstock Manor, honouring the tradition observed every year by Salisbury’s MP.
2011 has been a tough year and we cannot pretend that there will not be more difficult decisions to take and sacrifices to make in 2012.
The world economy is in a grave state and we are not isolated from the implications of our own debt burden and those of countries with which we trade.
Taking steps to curb the legacy of systemic overspending and reduce the deficit is undeniably painful and will continue to be so. If the experience of some Eurozone countries teaches us anything, it is surely that the alternative – allowing the economy to collapse, precipitating mandatory and indiscriminate cuts on a massive scale – is not just irresponsible, it is unconscionable.
Nevertheless, 2012 brings much to look forward to – not least the Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics. I am hopeful that the games will provide a timely boost to the nation’s spirits and revenues and I share the excitement of many constituents about the visit of the Olympic torch to Salisbury.
I am becoming more and more aware that being an MP is not so much a job as a way of life. It continues to be a privilege to gain an insight into the concerns of constituents from all walks of life and to do my best to seek to resolve their problems and represent their views in Parliament.
My surgeries resume again on January 6 and appointments are available via my constituency office. I am looking forward to bookending the day with the opening of Wiltshire College’s STEM Centre in the morning and addressing St Mark’s Church’s exciting new series of discussions on how politics and religion fit together in the lives of parishioners.