Take every opertunity that comes your way and if there is none then make one!
More than any other Prime Minister of Great Britain Lord Palmerston is better known for his pithy statements, in the past year one has been in the forefront to my mind –
The people have the right to be well governed!
A year ago at the beginning of the pandemic I heard those around me say again and again that we should be sympathetic toward the government, they had never had to face a problem like this before and like a collection of good children we did as we were told, we learnt about face masks, hand washing, social distancing and lockdown. Some had the disease and had no symptoms. at worst only losing their sense of taste and smell, for others the story was very different. Directions were issued by the government only to be changed a day later. Any idea of planned budgeting seemed to be forgotten, any problem could be solved by throwing money at it. Promises were made without considering whether they could be carried out and elderly hospital patients were thrown back into the community taking the infection with them. On the one hand some public figures say that to talk of tens of thousands dying is exaggeration but others will point out that in this country 127,000 people have died of COVID 19 . I know of a Care Home in Bristol where patients were discharged from hospital still suffering from the virus, soon all the other residents in the home were infected. They all died, choking to death. In the first three weeks of the first lock down fourteen women and two children died as a result of domestic abuse. Poor mental health is strongly associated with poor physical health made worse by isolation from friends and family. The reality of such stories are denied or covered up.
Just as we were beginning to hope that the worst was over not only have new versions of the virus sprung up but many people are having to live with Post COVID Syndrome now recognised as ‘long COVID’. When the initial infection is past it is followed such symptoms as high fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and extreme fatigue while those on high slope their shoulders blaming each other for the mistakes that were made.
Our towns have changed, shops, businesses and all forms of entertainment and hospitality closed and ‘when she got there the cupboard was bare’ is not just a line from a nursery rhyme but for too many a frightening reality.
A sense of despair is hard to avoid when the threat of another new version of the virus is on the horizon. but the future is ours. I was walking down a lane yesterday and noticed a crack below my feet, through it a small green shoot was reaching up through the hard surface towards the sunshine, some might call it a weed, others would see it as nature taking over. Given courage and imagination the day will come when the nightmare we have been living through will have become history. Already new small businesses are springing up, new answers creating new opportunities.
The words of Lord Palmerston still ring true – ‘The people have the right to be well governed.’ Ours is a democracy and the remedy is in our hands.
We all matter and tomorrow is a new day.