Star comment: Hope springs eternal, hopefully

It’s been a challenging year. The nation has been led by three different Prime Ministers, there is war in Europe for the first time in decades, while the cost of living crisis is hitting the vulnerable, those on middle incomes and people who wrongly imagined they would be immune to the pain.

Businesses are struggling with recession and as global debt grows ever higher, we may face a long, hard road back to any sort of prosperity. There are considerable challenges as the West’s relationships with such nations as China and Russia are de-coupled, while the consequences of such geo-political events play out in our communities as the price of goods and services rise.

Closer to home, strikes are having a profoundly negative effect on services ranging from the NHS to the railways, from the roads to our postal services. It seems that the services upon which all of us depend are going backwards.

Against that backdrop, hope springs eternal. There is considerable goodwill right here, in our communities, and the largesse of locals has been illustrated by the huge response to our Feed a Family campaign. That good work will continue all through Christmas, with many volunteers giving up time to help others.

New data on GDP shows that our economy continues to be weak. 2023 will be a difficult year but Britain’s collective spirit must be used to ensure that those who are vulnerable are helped. That means looking our for neighbours who may need help, especially in times of poor weather. It means helping food banks to keep stocks up.

The Government must play its part but it is also up to us to help ourselves and others.


Workers from National Highways are the latest to go on strike. Their industrial action means that for some time over Christmas and the New Year, our main roads and motorways will not be patrolled.

It goes without saying that we should all drive safely; keeping to speed limits, maintaining a safe distance and not hogging the middle lane. But that advice is even more relevant when those employed to help keep main routes safe are not there.

Our public services are in crisis and the Government must act across the board to find resolutions and obtain compromises with unions.

An unwillingness to engage is unhelpful and in order to resolve disputes, ministers should get across the table and listen. Both sides will need to engage.

Wherever motorists are travelling this Christmas, we hope that they arrive safely and we wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas.

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