a message for the New Year

Damian writes a regular column for the Petersfield Post and below is his 2018 New Year message: 


"There is no doubt that 2018 - our politics, news and indeed daily conversations - has been dominated by Brexit and that is unlikely to change as we head into the start of a new year.

From the hundreds of notes and letters I receive each week, the strength of feeling on both sides of the Brexit debate remains strong and well-argued. I believe constituents here in East Hampshire and elsewhere voted in good faith that the result of the referendum would be delivered, and that remains the priority for the Government and I believe most parliamentarians.

We need something that works for everyone, whichever way people voted, and a way forward around which people can come together. MPs will return in January and we must redouble our efforts to find a way through that honours the result, in a way which is good for people’s jobs and livelihoods.

But the past year has not just been about how we leave the European Union; there is much to be proud of as we look back on the last twelve months. The UK economy continues to grow, delivering levels of unemployment that we haven’t seen since the mid-1970s, with more people in work than ever before.

We’ve also seen wage growth outstrip inflation for the ninth month in a row, putting more cash into the pockets of millions of workers across the UK. So, despite the uncertain times, the UK remains competitive and the choice for thousands of businesses who rely on the talent and skills available here. This is as true in East Hampshire as it is in the rest of the UK, with an impressive range of innovative enterprises choosing to be based locally.

Back in July we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the NHS, and it remains our most loved and vital public service. Much has been said in recent months about the brilliant staff who deliver care through the NHS, and it is they who make the NHS what it is.

Just a few weeks ago we saw the centenary of the end of World War 1 - a moment that communities of all ages, faiths and nationalities came together in a universal thanksgiving for those who never returned from the battlefields, and for their sacrifices.

And this remembrance will remain an important part of our enduring relationship with our European neighbours, as we continue to honour our shared history and the democratic freedoms we enjoy today. I’m delighted that so many schools, both locally and elsewhere, took this unique opportunity to help students understand how our lives today are inextricably linked to the endeavours of our past.  

As ever, I remain optimistic about the future of our country and the challenges of Brexit. Christmas is a time for people to come together; a time to acknowledge our differences and to focus on what we have in common, as there is much to unite us.

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and happy New Year and to thank the hundreds of volunteers who I know will be out across East Hampshire, helping others over this festive period. Your efforts at this time, together with those of our emergency services and our armed services around the world, are truly inspiring."


Written by Damian Hinds and published in the Petersfield Post on Wednesday 26th December 2018