Alistair Burt’s monthly column: Only time will tell us what the impact has been of 2011

IT is hard to believe we have reached the end of the year again.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 5th December 2011, 3:00 pm

2011 will perhaps not go down as a vintage year politically; no general election, just the hard working efforts of a new government coping with the day to day business of running a country.

In the last couple of weeks I have been seeing a range of people to listen to them saying where we are heading in the New Year. Three schools, the chief constable, the chief executive of Bedford Hospital, an international but locally-based company, volunteers in a variety of agencies and a range of constituents at advice centres have given me an honest appraisal of their hopes and concerns for next year.

Although public finances are difficult, the determination of people locally to meet the challenges comes through, and so many people have new ideas, from local area policing, to fresh ideas in education, and to health reforms.

Outside the UK 2011 has been rather more unusual. The crisis in the Eurozone is yet to be fully resolved, and the impact upon us has been plain to see.

But the government’s policies designed to keep interest rates low, and encourage investment, are still judged by international commentators as those most likely to succeed in 2012.

My own Foreign Office work this year has been dominated by the so-called Arab Spring where once again its impact on the UK and the world will take time to become fully visible.

These events do affect us. From trade, to security, to migration – what is going on overseas impacts us from Sharnbrook to Stotfold. The UK will continue to promote the values and ideas which we believe will help bring security and stability to a region where people have made clear their desire for the democratic processes we take for granted. There is no one model to suit every country, but where we can offer support and assistance to countries in transition, it is in all our interest to do so.

May I thank all constituents for their support and engagement in my work, and wish everyone, if it is not too early, the very best for Christmas and the New Year.