FOR the first Christmas in memory I don’t think I watched an entire Christmas movie, not even ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

I hope you enjoyed a very merry Christmas and again can I personally say thank you to those that worked on Christmas Day in Inverclyde Royal Hospital, our police officers and the many others that gave up their Christmas Day to make sure our public services kept running.

As Christmas has come and gone for another year, on Sunday night the bells will sound as we ring in a new year on Hogmanay.

It seems every year there are less fog horns on the Clyde, I hope this is a tradition that will last for many years to come.

However for as long as there is a new year I think we will always reflect on the year that was and the year to come.

At the turn of 2017 all eyes in the Inverclyde political world were on the council elections of May. At that point we had no idea that Article 50 would be triggered in March signalling the date the UK would leave the EU and that in April a UK General Election would be announced for June.

Indeed, since 2009 there have been 11 national elections or referendums and many people were well and truly ‘scunnered’ with politics.

Unfortunately for the SNP, with a low turnout of only half of the electorate of Inverclyde voting in the council elections we did not win enough seats to take control of the council.

However, the council of 2017 is certainly a different council than what we have been used to.

In the new year you will probably keep hearing a lot about budgets. When I look back on last year and think about upcoming budgets I think of a question I am often asked ‘What have the SNP ever done for us?’

It is at this point I remind myself that although many people are scunnered with politics it is a force for good that can change people’s lives for the better.

I think of my brother, the first in my family to attend university. His tuition was free.

I think of the many elderly people I know that use their free bus pass to travel to visit their GP where they will receive a free prescription if they need one. I also think of the many people in Inverclyde who would have suffered extreme hardship if they had to pay the ‘Bedroom ‘Tax, they don’t in Inverclyde.

Whether it is these examples, crime being at a 43 year record low in Inverclyde, the doubling of childcare to 30 hours a week, the new £7.3m Orchard View hospital, the new Greenock health centre that is due to be built, the thousands of affordable homes that will be complete by 2020 or our continued work to protect the most vulnerable families in Inverclyde from the worst UK Government cuts, these are all achievements that each and every year a budget is set, we find the money to deliver them.

Next year the SNP in Inverclyde will campaign for free school meals for all primary school children. Some in the council do not think this is an area we should spend money on, I hope in the New Year to convince them otherwise.

Perhaps this isn’t a time of year when everyone feels happy and some people feel alone, so it is also important to remember that ‘everyone means something to someone and everyone has a part to play in someone’s life.’

May I wish you a peaceful New Year.