Just like the hobbit Bilbo, our path was the right one

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HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By local MP John Hayes

I was delighted to spend some time with my children over the Christmas break, as usually I’m either away from them in Parliament or when I’m at home in Lincolnshire busy working; meeting constituents, visiting schools, charities or community groups, and supporting local businesses.

All being Tolkien aficionados – I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was a boy – as a family we went to Showcase Cinema in Peterborough to see the new film based on The Hobbit.

JRR Tolkien’s great story of struggle against the odds reminded me of the value of perseverance. As Tolkien writes of the Hobbit of the title, Bilbo Baggins, ‘”Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”’ 

Often in life, when the way ahead looks difficult, we are tempted by siren calls to change direction and take what looks at first like an easier path.

For instance, at the beginning of my time in Parliament many argued that Britain should join the Euro. These Europhiles wanted to abolish the pound because they thought going on alone would be difficult; life, they claimed, would be much easier if we no longer had to bear the responsibility of maintaining our own currency.

I disagreed – actively and successfully campaigning to save the pound.

Now, with the Euro at a record low and the Eurozone facing deflation, we can see what a mistake giving up Sterling would have been.

Abolishing national currencies bred irresponsibility, as foreign governments believed they could borrow and spend as much as they liked without having to face the consequences.

There can be no doubt that since the financial crisis of 2008 we have had to walk a difficult path; belts have been tightened and difficult choices have had to be made.

But our Government’s commitment to sound money and bringing down the deficit has paid off.

Our economy is now in a much stronger position than any of our European neighbours.

When voices tempt us to take the easier path of tax and spend we should look to the continuing woes of the Eurozone and remind ourselves that the path we have chosen is the right one.