Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Monday, 31 December 2012

2013 - SIMPLE AS!

A few months back one of the work experience people that I often have shadowing me for a day was keen to share with me all day long his dazzling solutions to all of the world's deepest challenges. Each pithy summary was delivered with utter conviction and every masterpiece was topped off with the words: Simple As.

He was not invited back.

As we look out on 2013, the one thing we know for sure is that it will not be: Simple As. It will be complicated and probably messy. The ever-globalising, inter-dependent world is beset with complex problems: a faltering global economy, the relative decline of the West, the seemingly insoluble euro-zone crisis, conflict in the Middle East, changing weather patterns, mass migration and debt mountains to name but a few.

In the UK our own economy walks a tightrope between growth and recession as the government does its best to get our deficit under control and struggles with a welfare state that we can no longer afford.

Closer to home, in addition to our usual challenges we must now add improved flood defences for our low-lying communities and greater resilience to our vital rail link to the list of campaigns for the New Year.  Financial challenge; engineering challenge; challenges on all sides.

But when have we ever started a New Year thinking: everything in the garden is rosy. I can't remember it. So we must also see the positives and opportunities. Many businesses are growing, creating new private sector jobs. Unemployment keeps on falling and apprenticeships are rising. We are transforming the welfare system so that it will be more unaffordable for the next generation and our reforms of health and education are beginning to bear fruit.

Plymouth is still a great place to live and full of potential. They may be a trifle damp but the south hams, our coastline and Dartmoor remain majestic.

In the end the global and national landscape is only the backdrop. Our lives are much more directly impacted by the faith we possess, the people we love and the choices we make.  I remember knocking on two doors in the same street as a councillor one night, years ago, to speak to two ladies who lived in almost identical circumstances. One was positive the other only negative. What a difference it made to their outcomes.

2013 may well be challenging, but we can still be positive.  Simple As.

posted by Gary @ 13:08