THE “real progress” made by Britain and its economy in 2013 is hailed by Tory Prime Minister David Cameron in his Christmas message, in which he also tried to resurrect his vision of a Big Society.
In a message which otherwise stressed the religious aspects of Christmas, the Prime Minister described the year as one in which “our country pulled together to overcome the challenges we face”.
And he used the message to revive his concept of the “Big Society”, which critics claim has been sidelined since playing a major role in the Conservative general election campaign.
He says: “Looking back, 2013 has been a year when our country pulled together to overcome the challenges we face. Together we have made real progress on strengthening our economy and creating more decent jobs so that people can provide for their families.
“This progress is down to the efforts of millions who go out and work hard every day, keeping our economy going.
“And there are those millions who keep on strengthening our society too – being good neighbours, running clubs and voluntary associations, playing their part to help build what I call the ‘Big Society’.”
In his Christmas message, Labour leader Ed Miliband paid tribute to those people who would be caring for the lonely and the homeless.
“As Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we should also take time to think of all those alone or suffering at this time of year,” he said. “I would like to pay particular tribute to the many people, churches and charities who will be looking after those who are alone or homeless this Christmas time.
“We should also pay tribute to those who will be working so that the rest of us have an enjoyable break, especially our medical staff, our police and our armed forces, thank you for your service.”
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg used YouTube to send a Christmas message to those working or volunteering over the festive break.
The film showed him visiting Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London, where said: “We always talk about Christmas in terms of the indulgence and the excess. But behind the festivities a great many selfless acts go unnoticed.
“So I’d like to say thank you to the volunteers who spend their holiday helping those who are less fortunate; and to all of those who will be working or on call keeping the country ticking over while everyone else is off.”