To be honest, 2011 was pretty awful for me. I’m glad it’s over. In addition to my fall, the three subsequent operations on my arm and the time it took to recover, I lost my Mum. Her death was sudden and unexpected and it shook me to my very core. My Mum was a wonderful woman, and a good friend. I miss her so much.
Traditionally, my whole family gathered together to celebrate Christmas, so this Christmas and New Year have been difficult to face.
For too many people, 2011 has been hard, with families struggling financially, jobs being lost or hours reduced. Many more people contact me about debt. Mothers say they are forced to give up work, because reduced Government support makes childcare unaffordable.
Our young people are so anxious. Some tell me they can’t go to college. Their families can’t afford to support them. They are on the dole, angry and fearful.
I listen as people tell me about the problems they face. I get angry. Frankly, this Government's economic policies make bad things worse.
Cutting too deep and too fast, they destroyed business confidence and are suffocating the economy. Our economy is weaker than need be. Pundits say 2012 could be even tougher.
Meanwhile, prices keep rising.
The outlook is bleak, with this Government made impotent by its inept political choices.
This column is gloomy, but I do know we have things to look forward to. In a few short months, there’s the Olympic opening ceremony, and a great East End party.
Let’s hope it marks the start of better things for us all.
My very best wishes to you and yours. Have a Happy and Peaceful New Year.