"2001 has been dominated by the atrocities of September 11th and the subsequent response. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost friends and relatives. Turbulence in the Middle East 2000 years ago led to a new religion - with its condemnation of violence and its emphasis on helping others. It changed the world.
It may be hoping too much for the response to to-day's turbulence to lead to a comparable change; yet there is now a greater recognition of our mutual interdependence, a refocussing on moral issues - on right and wrong - that may lead to a safer and juster world.
Other events pale by comparison; the General Election at which hardly anyone lost their seat; the subsequent election of a new leader of my Party; the preparations for a new currency in Europe; the inauguration of a new President of the United States of America.
Christmas gives us the opportunity to reflect on what has happened and to try to make sense of it; to spend time with friends and family; and to think of those who are less fortunate. I will be spending Christmas forgetting about the issues that divide us and thinking of what unites us all.
May I wish all visitors to the website a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year."