We have every reason to be hopeful for 2019

CHRISTMAS and New Year is a time when we reflect on what we are making of our lives, what was good and not so good about the past year, and what we hope for in the New Year.

Some of us will have enjoyed a good 2018, while others will have encountered sadness, disappointment and shattered dreams.

From my standpoint as Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire, I see much that is good, but much that is not so good.

Fortunately for me, I’m usually optimistic about the future, and appreciative of the wonderful part of the world we live in. Comparatively speaking, Montgomeryshire is a place of peace, culturally rich and socially diverse, set in a lovely landscape.

One disappointing trend through 2018, was the dispiriting fall in the standards of public discourse.

There was much disrespect accorded to anyone with differing opinions.

Debate has become more strident and bullying. Both Her Majesty the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury based their Christmas Messages on this dangerous division in our society.

We find negativity around every corner. Much of this is down to the decision by a majority of British, Welsh and Powys voters deciding in 2016 that they wanted the UK to ‘leave’ the European Union, and many others not accepting that result.

I really hope we can find a way to bring people together as we leave the EU on March 29th.

When we lift up our eyes beyond the Brexit debate, we can see a reality where our world is becoming more prosperous and peaceful, which is the opposite of what we are reading, hearing and seeing in our media.

Despite desperate poverty still blighting some places in our world, including parts of our own country, the overall level of poverty, hunger and disease across the world is actually falling. Using our International Aid budget, the UK plays a key role is this. It’s in our national interest to do so.

There is much good news in Montgomeryshire. Very soon, the Newtown By-pass will open, improving access to the Llanidloes and Machynlleth areas as well as boosting Newtown itself. Employment is at record highs.

We can expect work to start soon on a massive reform to improve the hospital services we depend on in Shropshire.

We, in Montgomeryshire have every reason to look forward to a successful prosperous 2019 and beyond.