In these crazy times, it has never been more important to retain a strong moral compass and a clear sight of the things that really matter to us; it has never been more important to stand by principles and well defined priorities.
The world is changing at a fast and furious pace and 24 hours a day, seven days a week news, ensures that we can never forget that.
I’m old enough to well remember the days when we all relied on the daily newspaper and the 'Six O’Clock News to know what was happening in other parts of the UK and across the world.
Now the news is instantaneous. We not only know all the details of natural disasters, terrorist attacks and international conflicts, we also how they affect real people, in real time.
At a time when we know each other’s business, watch sport and music events from across the world, you might imagine that it would bring us all closer together, yet it seems that in some ways we have never been more divided. Politics has a role to play here.
Politics is about priorities and making choices based on those priorities. My top priorities are of course all connected with the well-being of Burnley and Padiham.
I am proud to be your MP and I’m proud to be British and yet, at the same time, I fully understand that our lives are affected every day by what is happening across the world; the goods we rely on for our lifestyle, our food supply, our fight against disease, protecting our environment are all issues of immense importance locally and yet rely on global co-operation.
In terms of our food supply, I recently heard a debate about fishing rights and EU fishing quotas and some important points were made but unfortunately the fish swimming in the sea do not recognise man-made national boundaries.
They do not know whether they are swimming in British, French or Icelandic waters. They do however ‘know’ when their natural habitat is compromised by global warming or plastic pollution. This is serious.
We are definitely all in this together and nowhere is this clearer than in the issue of climate change.
As I write this column, it is cold in Burnley but the ice caps are melting, as the temperatures on our planet continue to rise, leading to increased incidences of flooding and drought.
We are already seeing the impact of global warming here in Burnley and Padiham.
For the first time many property owners are forced to face up to the increased risk of flash floods and none of us have forgotten the devastating floods experienced by businesses and homeowners in Padiham.
At the same time local farmers report that lower than average annual rainfall means that they, are having to spend more on buying in animal feed and this inevitably effects food prices for the consumer.
The UK has traditionally been a world leader on the climate change agenda and this must continue because, if we don’t take action now as a matter of urgency, we will all pay the price.
I will be meeting in Parliament next month with representatives from the United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change for cross party talks on how we can reduce our carbon emissions.
I would totally support a move towards a greener economy and the jobs and innovation that come with it. I will be working with Government to support the development of these new industries in Burnley and Padiham.
Everything is joined up and, whatever our politics, we all need to understand this.
I would at this point like to pay tribute to all our local politicians as we approach the local elections.
It takes courage to put yourself forward for election and I have never yet met anyone from any Party who did not want to do their best for their community.
Of course we will all have different views about how to achieve this; different priorities and often opposing opinions and the decisions in a civilised country are quite rightly in the hands of the electorate.
My next surgery will be on April 27th from 10am - noon at Tesco in Padiham.
No appointments are necessary as people will be seen on a first come first served basis.
Alternatively you can email me on email@example.com or phone or drop in to my Constituency Office at 8 Keirby Walk Burnley which is open between 10am - 4pm weekdays (half day on Tuesday).
The number to call with enquiries is 01282 425744 and my staff will always do their very assist you with the issues which you raise.