As we enter 2016 people often make new years resolutions and predictions for the year ahead. The world of politics is not immune from this so I will attempt to make my own predictions although given how unexpectedly 2015 turned out they will all almost certainly be wrong.
Just about everyone is predicting the long heralded referendum on our membership of the EU will take place this year. I am not so sure, but if it is, I expect that any changes negotiated by David Cameron prior to the referendum will be cosmetic and lead to uproar and division in the Tory party. I think we will vote to stay in though, but only just and we will shortly after be watching the start of the Leadership contest to replace Cameron as Prime Minister. Most people expect that to boil down to a two horse race between George Osborne and Boris Johnson but I am going to stick my neck out and say I am not convinced that Boris Johnson will actually make it to the final run off. As for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party’s fortunes, as one of those who didn’t see his stunning success coming, I am loathe to predict what will happen next but I hope that we see a period of consolidation with a focus on opposing the Government rather than the internal disputes we have had rather too much of lately.
Internationally I fear that ISIS will spread their terror further and that we will see an increasingly complicated and desperate situation in the Middle East. The refugee crisis will continue and we will see more refugees not just from ISIS but from climate change. Closer to home the impact of climate change will continue to be felt with wetter and warmer weather and the folly of cutting the funding for flood defences and our public services will be felt. Locally I expect the challenges we have had for the last few years of a lack of permanent, full time jobs being created, a lack of affordable homes being available and poor public transport to continue.
On a more positive note we had a fantastic Christmas Dinner at the Civic Hall just before Christmas. We asked local organisations and councillors to invite pensioners to the meal which was prepared free of charge by local businessman Brian Hannaway. The College, EPNAVCO, St John’s Ambulance, Councillors,Brio and plenty of local businesses such as CNS,Essar,Veolia, Wilko’s, Sainsburys, Old Hall Farm, CF Fertilisers, Vauxhall Motors, Marks & Spencer, Bargain Booze, Whitby, Dreams Hairdressing, Whitby, The Co-operative, Overpool Rd,Bellezza Beauty Salon, Whitby, Debbies Barbers Shop, Whitby have all contributed to the event as did Sally Griffiths, Disco Dave and Amy Nickson who put on the entertainment. What was particularly special though was the students from West Cheshire College who gave up their own time to wait on the pensioners. It was great to see one generation go out of their way to do something for another and I know the pensioners appreciated their contribution. I hope we can put on a similar event next Christmas and that some of those who weren’t able to go this time can.