Here is my New Year message which I have written for the Halesowen News:
Each year I write a New Year’s column and I think about the many interesting, and extraordinary, events that have happened over the previous twelve months. Each year seems to pass quicker, and more recently even more interesting. 2017 has been a roller coaster ride like no other, and will be remembered for its many ups and downs. It would be difficult to reflect on this year in a single column, but I want... to try and see what lessons we can draw from it.
Firstly, nothing is ever certain. We can all make assumptions, listen to commentators, follow opinion polls and think we know what is going on. But nothing can ever be taken for granted and no matter what it is, you have to work hard and not be complacent. The Conservative Party has learnt this valuable lesson this year. The election in Halesowen & Rowley Regis saw an increased majority, and me polling over 50% of the vote, however nationally it was difficult and bruising. I think the Party has learnt the lessons from this, and we need to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
Secondly, there is a very clear appetite for change. When I say this, I don’t just mean Brexit. It is important, it will happen, and there are many opportunities to take advantage of. We need to reshape our role in the world, but we can’t forget issues at home. Many people feel let down, left out and frustrated. We need to take bold action on issues such as housing, skills, mental health and jobs to ensure that our country is firing on all cylinders to face up to the challenges of the modern world.
Lastly, that there has been an unpleasant undercurrent of politics which has come to the surface. Not just Twitter Trolls, but those who think it’s perfectly fine to be abusive and rude, and more often than not hide behind a keyboard. However, it’s not all gloomy. The best thing about being an MP is meeting people who go out, volunteer, make a difference and contribute what they can to their community. In my seven years as an MP here, 2017 has been no different in meeting new people who go above and beyond.
2018 can only be quieter and less interesting than 2017! I wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.