January 8, 2013
The start of a new year always brings a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Like many readers, I try to conjure up a challenging (yet realistic!) list of resolutions in an attempt to build on the successes of the previous twelve months and ensure progress in the forthcoming year. On a personal level, some objectives seem destined to reappear unresolved each year – membership of the gym, for instance, has become an inevitable annual failure!
On a wider note, however, I think that putting aside some time for resolutions over the festive period is an important activity for any politician. Like the real world, the Westminster bubble is a frantic and fast-paced environment, unforgiving to those ill-prepared for a parliamentary term. Yet, it is politicians whose actions and votes impact the lives of hardworking people who should reflect most carefully on their actions in 2012 and their priorities for 2013.
Of course, reflecting upon 2012 is a particularly time consuming task given how many momentous events took place. Team Yorkshire’s golden haul in the Olympic Games, not to mention the Queen’s visit to York in her Jubilee Year, are just two examples of where we witnessed once in a lifetime events here in York.
In truth, the spirit, determination and remarkable success of our Team GB athletes will, I suspect, stay with many of us for the rest of our lives. Seeing the likes of Lizzie Armistead, Nicola Wilson and Jessica Ennis reaching for and grasping their dreams reminded me that anything is possible when work ethic is combined with aspiration.
Using the sporting example of the Olympics, athletes are perfectionists who take time out after a race or competition to carefully review their performance with their coaching team. Identifying mistakes, tweaking preparation and ensuring an additional focus on susceptible areas will all help to further improve future performance. In a similar fashion, whenever parliament breaks for a recess period, I always put aside some time to review my own performance as a Member of Parliament. In doing so, it is always humbling to remember that MPs are voted to Parliament in order to serve the public and that we are merely temporary holders of the positions and powers that politics offers.
Rather than being seduced by the Westminster village or the game of career politics, I find greater fulfilment and enjoyment far closer to home. Indeed, my top professional resolution in 2013 is to become even more focused on York Outer. Whether it is our local bus services, our vulnerability to flooding, the dangers of illegally tethered horses, the unacceptable increases in council tax or the need to lobby for improvements to our transport network, my work in 2013 will be unashamedly tailored towards meeting the needs of local people here in York.
A new year offers us all an opportunity to dream big dreams and to aspire for a successful, prosperous and healthy twelve months ahead. It is certainly my prayer that all residents do indeed experience such fulfilment and happiness in 2013 – happy New Year to you all.