LOOKING back, 2018 has been another in a series of challenging and demanding years.
The national debate about Brexit continues to rumble on, with all the division and emotion that comes with it.
The Government continues to teeter on the edge of collapse, with Theresa May struggling to preside over the civil war and chaos in her own party. In amidst all of this, so many other priorities for the country and our region are being lost from the Government’s attention.
Beyond the toing and froing of Brexit and politics, the reality for many individuals and families is a near-constant anxiety about insecure work, low pay, making ends meet, paying bills and putting food on the table. Sometimes it can feel to those people that Parliament and politicians don’t care. And when people see politicians endlessly arguing about Brexit and wall-to-wall news coverage of it, I can see how people are cynical or sceptical.
That is what happens when governments leave people behind and that is why I believe there needs to be a more coordinated approach and concerted effort from Government to address the issues facing families in our community and across the country. That means recognising the specific and unique challenges of certain areas and regions like ours, taking into account the voices and concerns of the very people that have a right to expect that we will both stand with them and stand up for them.
As a Labour MP, you may expect me to say these things. But these issues go beyond party, beyond Brexit and beyond ideology. They are about the kind of country in which we want the next generation to grow up.
It all requires the Government to change course in 2019 and a big change in the way politics works going forward.
That is the case I will continue to make in the course of the next year, in the hope of making 2019 a better one for all.
Wishing all of you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.