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GLENDA JACKSON: Turbulent year ahead but I'm still optimistic

PUBLISHED: 12:14 09 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:30 07 September 2010

THE New Year promises politically to be one of the most interesting, if interest is defined by the seriousness of topics for debate. Climate change, Trident, really making poverty history, educational changes, keeping the NHS the NHS – the list is long an

THE New Year promises politically to be one of the most interesting, if interest is defined by the seriousness of topics for debate.

Climate change, Trident, really making poverty history, educational changes, keeping the NHS the NHS - the list is long and packed with probable turbulence.

One of the changes in the political lexicon that I have been made aware of over the past year is how the word 'choice' has been demeaned and the phrase 'hard choices' has been elevated to almost totemic status.

But our future, both personally, nationally and internationally, depends upon our being engaged in discussions of immense complexity, and the sound-bite school of philosophy doesn't begin to meet our needs.

Someone asked me recently, given the present state of our world, if I was an optimist or a pessimist. Well, yes, a somewhat sound-bite school query, up there with are you happy or unhappy, but I had no difficulty in replying with my usual optimism.

The huge problems we face are undoubtedly man-made, but the great blessings so many of us benefit from are also the product of human intelligence and ingenuity. So we can solve the problems, but not without engaging in, as a first step, our common humanity.

I heard a young boxer - not a sport I have an interest in or particularly liking for - defining its value in breaking down racial, religious and class barriers.

''Our blood is the same colour, one's tears are the same colour,'' he said. Amen to that.

So 2007 brings us all another chance to fail or succeed and probably both. But we're still here and we have to try.

And there is a great plus awaiting us in 2007. The longest goodbye in recent political history will be ended, but the real legacy, Iraq, will not.

But new leaders will, hopefully, bring new ideas, and if President Bush can be stirred into acknowledging climate change is happening by deciding polar bears need his protection, anything is possible.

As is everything - so a happy, prosperous and peaceful New Year to you all.

Glenda Jackson is the Labour MP for

Hampstead & Highgate

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