After a year of seismic global events, many people will be pleased to have time during the Christmas break to take stock, look back over the past 12 months and consider what will come in the year ahead.
We end the year amid uncertainty over how the economic situation will develop in 2009. The downturn in the global economy has spread from the banking system to ordinary families and high streets.
Whether the current crisis is deeper than predicted or ultimately less harsh, the values that we share at Christmas are also the ones that will stand us in good stead through the economic downturn: family, community and goodwill to those in need.
A more positive note was struck with the election of Barack Obama as US President, which reminded us of Americans’ capacity to surprise and inspire as a people.
And it was a good year for British sport, with Team GB having its best Olympic Games for 100 years. Chris Hoy made Scots proud with his haul of three gold medals.
My foremost wish for 2009 is to see politicians of all colours putting aside party politics and pulling together as a country to make sure people’s jobs and homes are safeguarded through these difficult times.
Best wishes to everyone in East Dunbartonshire for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.