My chosen people!
A very good end of the year to you all! And a very good year it has been too.
Exports to Egypt were up again, trading with Rome was brisk, and business contacts with Nubia have never been better.
Let us never forget that trends are basically upwards, especially when we temporarily may be incommoded by the need to get back to our own home towns for the taking of the census, as required by Caesar Augustus. This Millennial Census is a purely statistical matter and will be good for us all in the long run, as it will enable Rome to identify needs and address problems.
There will, of course, be logistical problems caused by the Millennial Census, with many people moving around the country at the worst time of the year, but we shall all just have to accept it. So let us have no grumbling and bellyaching, shall we?
And let us have no more talk of us being ruled from Rome. Of course we have to obey many regulations which were devised in Rome, but that is what living in an economic community is all about. It is the same for all member states of the Roman Community, so there is no point in getting upset.
In any case, there is absolutely no question of the Hebrew nation losing its own sovereignty. I shall defend to the death the right of the Hebrew people to make decisions in the areas that really matter, such as having traffic signs in Hebrew and not eating bacon, so let us hear no more about me selling Israel down the river.
Sadly, one or two events have cast a shadow over the past 12 months, including what one or two of you have called "the massacre of the innocents". This, of course, was nothing of the sort - it was a precautionary health measure taken after I had consulted leading scientists. These leading scientists - whom one or two of you will insist on calling "The Three Wise Men", and I wish you wouldn't - these leading scientists have assured me that without a judicious culling of the population, we would have laid ourselves open to the possibility of genetically modified babies on a large scale in the future.
Is it not better to kill a few babies now, than have a major catastrophe later?
I think it is.
My leading scientists have also warned me there is absolutely nothing to worry about in the recent appearance of a vast new star in the sky. This is almost certainly just a sign of God's approval for the way things are going.
I know that some of you are worried about the quantities of homeless people on the street, which is a legacy from the last government. I fully intend to address this problem and have already given orders for many farm buildings and stables to be opened to the public as emergency dormitories.
Many of you are also worried about the transport policy of this country, claiming that the traffic jams of recent days have exposed our lack of forward planning. As you know, we have a full programme of Roman road- building in hand, which was put in motion five years ago, and it will commence operations very soon. Meanwhile, it would be a great help if all of you who insist on travelling by horse, donkey, mule etc would please avoid roads as much as possible and keep to the open country, where there is much more room.
In the coming year I hope to usher in further legislation, including laws to ban the hunting of wolves with dogs, a law to prevent anyone describing himself as the "Son of God" or "King of Kings", and a broadening of offences which will be punishable by crucifixion.
There will also be the all-important election to the post of Mayor of Jerusalem, to which I hope you will all elect the man I have indicated as the best possible choice. Otherwise the election will be declared null and void.
A very Happy New Year to you all.
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