We must all hope that 2010 is a better year than 2009

Contributed by editor on Jan 07, 2010 - 08:35 AM

Howard's Way.... a weekly column from the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC. MP.

7 January 2010

We must all hope that 2010 is a better year than 2009.

And to start with some cheerful news, the return of freed hostage Peter Moore after 946 days in captivity is extremely welcome. We can only imagine the kind of ordeal he has gone through. Perhaps we can’t even imagine it. But it would be good to think that his release marks the start of a better climate in international relations.

Yet we must not count our chickens before they’ve hatched.

The suggestion that there was Iranian involvement in Mr Moore’s captivity and that he may actually have spent part of it in Iran, rather than Iraq, reminds us how complicated and dangerous that part of the world remains.

And, unfortunately, there are many less cheerful omens as the year starts.

The attack on the plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit reminds us that the terrorists have not given up on their attempts to take innocent lives and cause maximum disruption.

That attempt failed but suicide bombings have, alas, succeeded in Iraq and Pakistan.

And the attack on the Danish cartoonist reminds us of the intensity of feelings which motivate some of those who are determined to do us harm.

So there is no shortage of challenges for those in positions of responsibility during the coming year.

And, of course, our economic future remains clouded in uncertainty.

Last year saw a catastrophic decline in the British economy and the state of the public finances is much worse than it has ever been in modern times. So very difficult decisions will have to be taken by the Government in the second half of the year – whoever forms that Government.

But I am sure that somehow we will win through. Our country has been faced with many difficulties before. The crisis usually brings the man or woman who can lead us through it.

In a few months time the country will have to decide who it thinks that man will be. It will be a momentous decision.

Happy New Year!