In my last column I reflected on some of the key moments of 2022 and now, as we say hello to the New Year, here’s a look ahead to some of the events that lie in store.
At the World economic forum in Davos in January, leaders from government, business and civil society will convene to address the state of the world and business in the year ahead. These stakeholders have varying perspectives and together they seek to create initiatives, industry breakthroughs and economic solutions. The theme this year is “Cooperation in a Fragmented World” with central issues being the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine.
Staying with Ukraine, in February sanctions will be ramped up against Russia even further when the EU implements its ban on Russian refined oil products, including diesel. Could this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? I hope and pray for a military withdrawal for the sakes of the millions engulfed in this senseless war.
Here in the constituency local elections will take place on Thursday May 4th and will be the last time only one third of seats will be contested in Maidstone, and quite probably Tunbridge Wells too, subject to final consultations. From 2024, there will be all-out elections covering all seats at once, for a four-year period, in new Ward boundaries. From soundings on the doorstep I know this will be welcomed by many who have become weary with annual elections, but it will be a tough test for all of the political parties to recruit candidates and campaign in every ward.
Two days after the May elections, on Saturday May 6th, the coronation of King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, is taking place at Westminster Abbey. Codenamed operation Golden Orb, it will be the first such ceremony since 1953 and we will all be given an extra bank holiday to celebrate on May 8th.
Ukraine will get the headlines once again as music and politics fill our screens in the following week, when the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Liverpool from May 9th - 13th. Last year’s winners are unable to host the contest due to the Russian invasion, but because the UK's Sam Ryder was runner up to Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, the competition will be held here. Voting will be as interesting as ever.
And in sport I will be cheering for our teams in not one, but three World cups in 2023, all of which feature England as serious contenders. Our Euro ’22 Champion Lionesses play at the FIFA women’s world cup in Australia and New Zealand in the summer; England’s Rugby Union Roses take part in the Rugby World Cup in France throughout September and October, and in November England will be the defending champions at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India.
Clearly there’s plenty to look forward to in 2023 and my team and I are here for you if you need help, advice or assistance in the weeks and months ahead. I wish everyone in Maidstone & The Weald a Happy New Year!