This is my last entry of 2011 to conclude another interesting year.
The coalition government is generally on the right path. We are seeing more liberal democrat policies coming in – raising the tax threshold, the pupil premium, political reform, green investment etc – as well as maintaining our interests in other areas such as the NHS where we were able to make some, but not many, modifications to the Conservative programme.
No single politician has ever been so hated by the media, but Nick Clegg stands firm. They will never forgive him for winning the first debate, nor for getting in the way of a right-wing Tory agenda – but he deserves admiration for sticking it out whereas lesser men would have crumbled under the daily pressure.
I think David Cameron also deserves some credit for, most of the year, keeping his more ‘loony’ segment of the party at bay. For example, he has so far resisted the usual Tory desire to cut taxes for the wealthy. However, the black mark is his blunder at the European talks recently and the choice to isolate Britain within the EU. I fear we will see the repercussions of this throughout 2012.
There have been other mistakes, of course. The tuition fee blunder rumbles on, the attack on public sector pensions was petty, and I would like to see more to encourage growth within the private sector. Unemployment is far too high, especially youth unemployment, and I hope we see more to address this most major of issues.
We got an expected bashing in May, losing nearly 700 councillors, including both our Sittingbourne representatives, and the AV referendum resulted in a convincing defeat. My second attempt to join Swale council saw me come last - a poor reward, I felt, for my hundreds of hours work in Murston over the last two years. We must be prepared for similar bashings in the next few years while we remain in government.
Blog-wise I was delighted to make my debut in the Total Politics top blogs lists. OK, it was only Number 54 in the Lib Dem blogs, and 62nd Lib Dem blogger, but I was pleased with my first appearance.
Two of my entries made the weekly Lib Dem Voice Top of the Blogs list. One was my last entry ‘Welcome to the year – 2030’, in which I told of a gloomy future for England following an isolationist policy. The other ‘We need a different ‘Lib Dem Voice’' from April where I criticised the lack of debate within the party – this was my mostly-read article of the year.
I would like to give an honorary mention to ‘Human Rights for Pot Plants’ in October which was my response to Theresa May’s daft use of a cat to promote repealing one of the most important pieces of legislation. I enjoyed putting that one together.
The personal low of the year has been the situation with my best friend of 23 years, who has been seriously ill with liver disease, and in and out of hospital throughout the last few months. As I type he is once again in intensive care. There is also my cousin, and a friend at work, who have both been having treatment for cancer, although thankfully both seem to be on the mend. And I have a minor eye operation coming up which promises not to be much fun.
In 2012, we have the Olympics, the diamond jubilee and the European football championships – and doubtless more news stories and political events to keep us all occupied. Much to look forward to.
So I conclude by thanking you all for reading my blog – and, whatever your party, whoever you support, I wish you all a happy Christmas and a good new year.