First of all I want to wish you and your family a Happy Christmas. We’ve reached the end of a year that has shown that politics can be exciting and that change is possible.
One of the changes I’d like to make in 2006 is for our party to show sustained leadership on environmental issues. I want us to meet the aspirations of the millions of people who care deeply about the environment and our quality of life. It’s the right thing to do – and we can start straight away.
The fact is that we’re all in this together, and politics isn’t just about elections and opinion polls. Politics is about making a difference and making a personal commitment, and each of us can show our personal commitment to the environment by enjoying a green Christmas this year.
In Britain this year, we’ll send each other somewhere in the region of 1 billion Christmas cards, wrap our presents in more than 80 square kilometres of wrapping paper, and empty more than 20 million glass jars and bottles over the festive period. If we all made an effort to recycle just half of that then we’d really make a difference to the environment.
This year the Woodland Trust is placing special bins in supermarkets around the country to collect old Christmas cards, and local councils will recycle wrapping paper and glass bottles and jars. You can visit http://www.woodland-trust.org.uk/cards/index.htm for more information on the Woodland Trust project. Your local council may also offer kerbside shredding facilities for your Christmas tree – your council website will have more information about this.
By showing our personal commitment to the environment, every one of us in the Conservative Party can help make our Party a voice for real environmental leadership, showing that as individuals and as a Party we’re serious about tackling the big challenges this country faces.
So once again, Happy Christmas – and let’s look forward to 2006 confident in our opportunity to become a growing voice for change, optimism and hope.