As I write this column I have just finished signing the final batch of Christmas cards ready to catch the last post in order to (hopefully) make it before Christmas. The tradition of Christmas cards plays a vital role in keeping in touch with old friends and family. As we go through life, there are always old friends who we are in danger of losing touch with. Sometimes because they have moved away, changed their job or are preoccupied with family priorities. The annual Christmas card is often the final thread that prevents you from losing touch altogether, so time writing cards is time well spent.
This year, as in previous years, I enlisted the help of local primary schools in the area to design my Christmas card. Eleven schools entered and their work was outstanding. A few weeks ago, I met the three town mayors who together made up a judging panel. It was a really tough decision with so many strong entries. We certainly have many talented artists in this part of Cornwall!
The overall winner was 10 year old Willoe Miners from Gwinear Primary School for her colourful drawing of two robins hopping towards one another along a branch underneath some mistletoe. However, because the standard was so high we also had awards for some highly commended runner-ups: Fletcher Allen from Treleigh; Gemma Stevens from Rosemellin; Mae Jordan from Bodriggy; Keira Green from Penponds; Sophie Gollop from Trewirgie; Tallulah Halford from Constantine; Abigail Williams from Kennal Vale; Amber Gunn from Pennoweth and Megan Roberts from St John’s.
At this time of year we should also acknowledge the extra work we create for the Royal Mail with many millions of extra items of post to process in just a few short weeks in December and our postmen go out in the worst weather that a Cornish winter can throw at them in order to make sure that families and friends keep in touch and receive their Christmas cards on time.
2012 has been a bumpy year for the government and, as parliament prepares to close for Christmas, it is a chance to take stock. One of the challenges that every government faces is that bad news tends to float to the top while good news often sinks without trace. There have been successes: the deficit has been cut by a quarter with spending on wasteful consultants slashed; there have been important reforms to give schools more independence; the lowest paid have been taken out of tax altogether and unemployment has started to fall. But there is also no doubt that some mistakes were made and there is more to do. Next year, the government must build on its successes and prioritise the economy.
George Eustice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.