I hope you had a great Christmas. This new year, 2018, will bring so many challenges and government decisions that will affect us all for decades.
Most of my time as an MP is focused on domestic issues raised by constituents and defending and advancing the interests of North Tyneside and the North East.
But MPs have a wider role including foreign affairs.
What happens abroad often doesn’t stay abroad but affects us all.
I have backed the Kurds, for instance, because they are a decent people but also because they offer hope to the democratic development of the volatile Middle East region.
Peace there is in our interests given our reliance on its energy resources and we also need strong and stable countries that can better resist the siren calls of extremism.
If that is defeated there it can help stop attacks over here.
Likewise, Britain has a very good record as an international development superpower.
Overseas aid is controversial, I know, but well worth investing in encouraging poorer countries to develop their economies, trade with us, and stem extremism.
Stopping the impact of climate change is another obvious example of shared interests in this, our only planet.
We are an increasingly small world and we are all affected one way or another and in the end by instability, poverty, and war elsewhere.
Playing an active role by using our long experience is good for our friends and good for us.
A happy and prosperous New Year to everyone.