Today’s Star columnist, Vince Middleton: 2015, a year of challenge

Vince Middleton managing director Newburgh Engineering, Rotherham.  Picture  Chris Lawton
Vince Middleton managing director Newburgh Engineering, Rotherham. Picture Chris Lawton
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After the celebrations have subsided and we enter a New Year with all those challenges we have set ourselves I wonder how many challenges will be set us by circumstance.

We have a major spat going on between the Russians, Americans and Saudis that is driving oil prices down below economically sustainable levels.

For most this is a huge positive leading to reduced energy costs and transportation costs but remember those in the region that are heavily dependent on the oil and gas sector.

Business for those who supply raw materials and advanced engineering products, may well be slashed in 2015 if oil prices do not recover before long.

We have a general election in May with uncertainty surrounding the outcome. Since I left school I have seen very few changes in Government, but what I do know is that one party has inherited a healthy economy and destroyed it, with the other party left to do the socially unpopular job of sorting out the mess that they inherited. .

The thought of them returning to power really would make me question the UK as a viable place to operate from.

This is going to be one of history’s most interesting and uncertain election campaigns and is going to put the brakes on investment and growth.

After the election it is anyone’s guess what we will end up with, quite likely a Labour and SNP alliance, which may well be worse for England’s fiscal standing than a Labour majority, but both will undoubtedly put the nation deeper in debt.

With UKIP likely to reduce the Conservatives’ standing in the polls we are unlikely to see one party win a majority. When you are in crisis you need strong leadership with the authority to act, you do not stop a ship from sinking by committee and compromise. I do fear that most voters do not understand the enormity of the challenge and are only interested in making sure that they have their lifejackets and are in the life raft, only to look back and see the ship sink.

They may then realise that they are a long way from land with few provisions, no one to help them and little chance of rescue. Oh to have kept the ship afloat.

I do hope 2015 turns out well for all our souls.