I was born in 1923, so I've lived through more governments than I would care to remember. Some, like Churchill's wartime government or Attlee's post-war government, made profound differences to Britain that will be forever remembered. Others like Macmillan's (57-63) will be recalled as an era when we never had it so good but just didn't know it. Some like James Callaghan's (76-79) felt almost as if we were unsecured cargo in a lorry being driven across unsafe roads. Still, for me those governments were filled with endless possibilities because whether they were Tory or Labour, they wanted to do right by the people of this country.
Over these last thirty years, however, this covenant between the people and the state has been altered, because governments forget Britain is more than the sum of its corporate boardrooms.
As I will be 93 in February 2016 I must accept that David Cameron's conservatives may be the last government I will live under. But over my lifetime I have seen politicians transformed by national emergencies and become true leaders to our nation embattled by war or economic crisis. So with humility I offer some suggestions that I believe would be noble resolutions to start the new year and a new beginning for our nation.
1) Support refugees
The most pressing resolution that David Cameron must address is a realistic solution to the refugee crisis that has enveloped Europe. We as a nation have to admit that our disastrous war in Iraq, our support for unpalatable anti-democratic regimes like Saudi Arabia and our reliance on the arms trade to enhance our economy are mitigating factors that have caused millions of people to flee war in the Middle East and Africa.
It is not enough to dole out foreign aid money to countries like Turkey who have dubious human rights records to house refugees. Instead we must be bold and follow the example of Canada, Sweden and Germany, and integrate thousands of refugees into our communities as we did for Polish soldiers and their families at the end of WW2.
2) Save our NHS
It's time that this government resolves to turn over a new leaf with the junior doctors. Jeremy Hunt has to stop his belligerence towards junior doctors, student nurses and quite frankly all NHS staff, because all it does is alienate workers who are dedicated to saving lives.
I've seen Britain before the NHS, when medicine was run for the top 10% of the population who could pay for their treatment. It destroyed lives, prevented people from working and paying tax, and made us a barbaric society. So the government must resolve to make the NHS about one thing - improving the lives of its patients, so that they can continue contributing to their community and country through work and being good citizens.
3) Stop protecting the 1% and their riches, while others starve
It's time George Osborne resolves to bury the hatchet with those who are not from the richest 1%. Too often in the past the Chancellor has allowed the prosperity of the few to be paid through a system of austerity that penalise those least able to afford it like the most vulnerable segments of society – and even the struggling middle class.
I lived through the post war austerity in 1945. Believe you me it was hard, but we comforted ourselves with knowledge that everyone felt the same pain. Today, there is no comfort for those who exist with few benefits, zero hour contracts and unaffordable housing while giant corporations pay little or no tax.
4) Don't bottle the EU referendum
David Cameron knows all too well that Scotland was almost lost in a referendum on his watch, so he must resolve not to bottle the EU referendum through fear tactics or dumbing down the issue. This is the most important vote that many will make in their entire lives. So he must resolve to be honest and upfront about the consequences for everyone in Britain if we remain in the EU or turn our backs on Europe and go it alone.
5) Listen to ordinary people's concerns in government
The Tory government should finally make it their resolution that 2016 will be the year where the lives of ordinary people have the same weight at cabinet meeting and policy discussions as that of corporations and lobbyists. As of late, and this is just not an issue for conservatives but everyone in politics, the corridors of power have begun to resemble the royal courts of the 17th century replete with fools, rogues and mercenaries - and that is no way to run a 21<sup>st century country. Moreover it is about time that the Tories resolve that demonising Jeremy Corbyn and mocking his policies to put them in disrepute is the politics of demagogues not democrats.
So as the tune of Auld Lang Syne fades out onto the waters that surround Britain, let's hope that our prime minister doesn't forget that government should be for and by the people, I've seen it work before and it can work again in 2016 - as long as our leaders make a resolution to make it so.
Harry Leslie Smith is a 92-year-old Second World War veteran, activist and writer. His first book, Harry's Last Stand, was published in June 2014 and his second, Love Among the Ruins, is out now. Check out www.harryslaststand.com and follow him on Twitter at @Harryslaststand