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.


Friday, 21 December 2012


We all know that what you believe governs the way you live. If you believe that the sky is about to fall in you will remain indoors or wear a helmet when outside!

If you believe that climate change is caused by man you will take steps to control your own carbon footprint and lobby government to make sure the nations do likewise. If you remain more sceptical you might (or might not) support good stewardship of the planet's finite resources but be hesitant about more draconian action.

If you believe that people should stand on their own two feet unless there is a genuine and very good reason why not, you might support a series of measures that seeks to tackle the welfare dependency that now blights most western nations including our own.

If you believe that the country should not go on spending more than it can afford you might support a deficit reduction programme even though reductions in public spending come with real pain for real people. If however you believe that government should simply go on borrowing you might support a more expansive programme and leave the consequences to the next generation.

The most important thing, it seems, in politics is not policy, but belief.

But what do we believe about Christmas? If it is simply a time of year for partying, then a-partying we will go. If it is a special time for family gatherings then the mother-in-law will soon be firmly ensconced in your favourite chair directing operations in military fashion. If you believe that it is mainly a time for giving and receiving presents the credit card is in for another huge hit.

What if you really believe that Christmas is actually a celebration of the birth of Jesus? What if the main focus of the festive season is to celebrate that fact and give space for reflection and gratitude that 2000 years ago our Creator intervened in human history to begin a process that would end in our redemption?

Then this time of year takes on a whole new meaning. Partying and family gatherings; the giving and receiving of presents all make it a special day. But underneath all of this, for those who believe, it is about a baby born in a manger in some dingy old stable; a baby who grew to be the most impressive person who ever lived.

Merry Christmas from Jan and I to all.

posted by Gary @ 09:06