A Sense of Wonder


Posted by in December's Magazine

Deidre Brock, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith

There’s a sense of wonder at Christmas, magic in the air, that tingle of excitement, children looking forward to the day, adults telling innocent lies about some podgy chap who’ll bring pressies, workmates exchanging little gifts. Even the shops full of folk jostling and queuing and fretting and swearing under their breath are appealing. Christmas is a good time of year; Yuletide – the rebirth of the sun – is about new life; Winterval (if you must, you curmudgeon) is about celebrating humanity in the cold.

It’s a time to gather somewhere cosy and eat fabulous food, to coorie in around the ingle and enjoy the company of friends and family – perhaps even have a mulled cider or a hot port or even a Whipkull if you find yourself in Shetland. It’s a time to bar the doors and draw the curtains against the cold winds and the miserable de’ils whose mission in life seems to be spreading doom and dreich tidings.

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Deidre’s fancy if she’s knocking on your door!

This year there are plenty of dreich tidings making the rounds and plenty of people willing to foist them on you – there are bodachs and nashgabs aplenty. Big political changes, boasts, bravado and some other B words have the potential to make us all a wee bit fleggit just now. Chase them! There’s a time for all of that but it’s not now.

Enjoy the splendour of the season; those lights are promises of spring. Enjoy the glamour (in the original sense) because this time of year whispers of magical times. Enjoy the laughter and the songs – no matter how bad they are – because they’re as important as anything you might have to face later. They’re probably more important actually, because those human connections are what help you through the difficult times.

Reach out, of course, spread your humanity and your kindness far and wide.  Every year we see folk whose lives are in pieces, who have been trampled and left behind, and every year there are stories of heartbreak and loss at this time of year. If you can offer your neighbour some solace, a friendship, a helping hand you’ll make the world a little better. If you can offer yourself for an hour to help, volunteer to make some tea, or even give a few pounds to help someone else help others you’ll be entering right into the spirit of the season. We can do a little of that and still have plenty left for the people we treasure, those closest to us.

We’re debating the future direction of our country and whether there might be an invisible bridge that makes the Brexit cliff safe

I’m writing this in the middle of an election campaign that has coincided with a cold snap. We’re debating the future direction of our country and whether there might be an invisible bridge that makes the Brexit cliff safe. The whole debate is warped around huge claims and dubious statistics, spending from the magic money tree that we were told didn’t exist, and assertions that one side or another is acting out of malice.

In the midst of that too many politicians seem to have forgotten that politics is supposed to be about serving the people and making their lives better. We’ve got foodbanks and shelters doing excellent work but they’re charities and they’re plugging gaps caused by government policy. It’s little wonder that so many people think ‘a plague on all your houses’ when they look at that.

We need a better politics. We need leadership that will build better lives. I think the Scottish Government is doing well at that but I might be biased. I also think that Holyrood is a better Parliament than Westminster, it operates in a far better way. There is, generally, a sense at Holyrood that they want to make things better and the disagreements about what would be better are made in better faith than they are in London. It can be even better and I think we should keep building and improving for the future. Holyrood might be Scotland’s salvation if we do it right.

We’ve got to work for it though it doesn’t come free. I do that through politics but people do it in all kinds of ways and many of them never get the praise they deserve. My tea is finished so I’m about to put on the scarf and gloves again and get back out on those frosty pavements to see who’s willing to open their door.

Gather your blessings this Christmas and share them if you can, make sure your precious ones are held close no matter where they are in the world, and enjoy this darkness turning into light. There are more B words to come in the new year but this is a time for better things.

Keep me a mince pie for will you?

Twitter: @DeidreBrock

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