Standing up for the consumers

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Harold Macmillan warned of the risks of predicting politics when he spoke of “Events, dear boy, events”.

But since my last column of 2013 looked back on a year it’s only right that this first column of 2014 looks forward.

2014 sees the centenary of the start of the First World War. One of the few things I have in common with the prime minister is we both lost a relative in the war.

His relative’s name is commemorated on the Menin Memorial, mine is on the Thiepval Memorial.

The maps of Tynemouth Borough produced by the Tynemouth World War One Project mark those killed in the war street by street and resemble the cholera or typhus maps of the previous century.

But 2014 will also see our troops return from Afghanistan, and whilst it is important to remember the fallen in wars in the past, it is just as important to honour those who served in recent conflicts.

The first six months of 2014 will see frantic debate about Europe, in the run up to the European elections in June.

As the economy starts to grow at last, expect the debate to centre on the cost of living for hard-working families.

With family incomes on average £1,600 lower than three years ago, people are right to expect action and not just anger from politicians.

Who will stand up for consumers against companies content to push up bills will be one of the big tests of 2014.