It’s Christmas week. So in the spirit of goodwill to all mankind, I’m looking for the positives in people who I don’t necessarily agree with. These aren’t weasel words. I have always believed that the vast majority of people are good and decent; they want to do well for themselves and their families but they also care about society. Seeing different solutions doesn’t make someone bad.

At the beginning of this month Glenys Kinnock died, taken by Alzheimer’s, that cruellest of diseases. It was only on reading her obituaries that I realised the crucial role she had played in supporting her husband Neil. In my opinion, he is the most significant living Welsh politician. Why would a dyed in the wool Conservative say that about a “left wing firebrand”?

He took over the Labour Party leadership in 1983 following a catastrophic defeat under Michael Foot. Their manifesto (dubbed “the longest suicide note in history”) was full of loony left ideas including unilateral nuclear disarmament. Ask Ukraine about the wisdom of that. The Trotskyite Militant Tendency were threatening to take Labour over. Realising that a credible opposition has to talk to ordinary sensible people, Neil Kinnock took the nutters on.

It culminated with his speech to The Labour Party Conference in 1985. You can watch it on YouTube. The oratory is of the very highest calibre. And there on the platform, two rows behind him was his wife, Glenys, giving him the support and the courage to take on extremism, and return Labour to being a serious political force.

Democracy depends on good opposition. Neil and Glenys Kinnock made that possible. In truth they will be lucky to get more than a footnote in history, but those of us who remember the politics of the 1980s should be grateful to them.

So our thoughts and prayers are with Neil Kinnock and his family, and all those who are spending their first Christmas having lost a lifelong companion.

This paper deserves credit for its ruthless exposure of Ceredigion Council’s failings. In particular CEO Eifion Evans comes in for stick. So, being Christmas, I’m putting in a good word for Eifion! If his job was easy, someone like me could do it.

There is a huge amount our council could do better. In the post-Covid hangover, it is clear that the concept of public service has been lost. Self-evidently, working from home, isn’t delivering productive public services or value for money right across the UK. But I also wonder whether our Councillors continue to find it a bit too easy to delegate the decision making? Carrying the can for the big calls is stressful. Many of us are happy just to snipe from the side-lines. A lot of us can’t even be bothered to vote! So just maybe, Eifion is operating in a bit of a responsibility vacuum?

My interactions with Eifion have mainly been at elections, when he’s the returning officer. He is a stickler for doing the process properly. We have decent politics in Ceredigion and that’s due in no small part to the standards he sets. Fair play.

I was walking our dogs and thinking about this column when the news of Mark Drakeford’s resignation broke. So I thought I should try to find something good to say about him. Then I read his statement, full of the usual buck passing, and I had second thoughts! I don’t think history will see his legacy in a positive light. But it’s Christmas, so let’s have a go at being nice.

Mark too lost his wife this year. And whilst I think many of his decisions were wrong, he stepped up to the plate to lead Wales through Covid. In order to carry on his work whilst shielding his wife, I understand that he accepted considerable personal inconvenience. Deep down, I’m sure that he really does want to make the lives of others better, even if his policies are misguided.

Finally, to one of my own tribe; Boris Johnson. I was never a fan and didn’t vote for him to become Conservative Party leader; his leadership shortcomings were blindingly obvious. Covid took him way out of his comfort zone, but he was far from alone. He didn’t create the virus, or release it. He isn’t a scientist. He stayed at his desk and nearly died from it.

Now the farcical Covid inquiry has clearly prejudged him as being guilty of everything. His inquisitors, who probably couldn’t think how to escape from a wet paper bag, are of course retrospective Covid world experts. For once, he behaved seriously, showed dignity and didn’t pass the buck.

I despair of the way he has wasted a golden opportunity to make this country better, but if we look, there is something good in all of us (I hope!).

Please keep reading the Cambrian News in 2024. It’s a great paper and thoroughly deserved to be judged Weekly Newspaper of the Year. It will keep you up to date with what’s going on in Ceredigion; get involved, write letters, sign petitions or join a political party. Democracy matters; please value it!