Some good things happened in 2020

Lots of good things happened in 2020 as well as the things that dominated the headlines. If we build on those green shoots we can create a better wold for us, our children and grandchildren

It would be too easy just to concentrate on what went wrong in 2020. Brexit and the Coronavirus would come top of the list. But it would be wrong to write off 2020 as a total failure. Some good things happened which we need to build on to create a stronger better future for Liverpool, the UK and the World.

Community; We rediscovered the value of community. Neighbours talked to neighbours in a way that many hadn’t before. When we asked, “How are you?”, we were genuinely interested in a reply. We checked that our elderly had food in and, where allowed, provided them with a bit of company. For 7 weeks we clapped for our carers and NHS staff, although we seem to have forgotten about them since.

Who keeps society going; In addition to our NHS and care staff we discovered that the people we really rely on are not the hedge fund managers and the City sharks but the refuse collectors; postal staff; delivery drivers; supermarket staff who kept us fed and watered and the streets clean and safe. We realised that too many of them are on zero-hour contracts and struggle to make ends meet.

Environmental concern; We all loved the clean air of the first lockdown. We bought bikes to move around with both to work and with our families. We loved working from home and dread going back to compulsory long-term commuting. We grew more in our gardens and welcomed activities which helped with community planting schemes and their like.

We discovered our Country; as we were not allowed to travel abroad for much of the year we travelled more in our own Country. We went to parts of the Country that ‘we had always’ mean to visit’, but simply hadn’t got round to. The UK is, indeed, a green and pleasant land and we want to see more of it.

Public Health; we realised the importance of public health work. Most of the people who have died from Covid-19 had underlying health conditions many of which were preventable. The horsemen of the virus apocalypse were aided by the health horsemen of obesity; drugs; alcohol and tobacco. Most of us, even the Government in its rhetoric, have realised that the prime aim of our health system is to prevent illness and not cure it.

Science; Most of us have really understood the importance of science and research. Of course, there were some stupid and ignorant people who suggest that there would be a micro-chip implanted in us with the vaccine; that Covid doesn’t really exist and that having the vaccine will endanger our lives and change our sexuality. However, the other 90% of the population have listened to our doctors, epidemiologists and scientists as they have explained to us what to do and why we should do it. We have got angry when politicians didn’t follow the science. We welcome the fact that first mass use and highly practical vaccine is the Oxford-Zeneca one.

Trump; In just 3 weeks Trump will have disappeared from the White House and this will reduce his baleful influence on the USA and the rest of the world. He is a revolting man who has led a global increase in xenophobic, right wing; anti science; climate change denying; racist and sexist leaders. As he goes down the right elsewhere is in decline in places like Italy and Spain and South America. We can move once again on a path in which Leaders will stand up for equality, fairness, the climate and a more caring society. The countdown can begin in earnest now for a clear out in this Country to although that is in some doubt with the low quality Leader of the Opposition that Labour has installed.

All these good things could disappear like snow off a hot tin roof. It’s you job and mine to make sure that these green shoots of hope are nurtured and encouraged. We could wait for Governments to do things or we could lead by example and run our own lives differently; buy smaller cars; walk or cycle when we can; grow more food; keep asking how are neighbours are and see if we can help those with whom we live.

If all of us take tiny steps we can build a revolution. The future of our City; our Country and our world is not something in which we just influence things when we are called upon to vote. Rather we can and should show our citizenship in the way we live and the things that we do on a day to day basis.

That’s my New Year’s resolution. Every day to do one small thing differently in a way which will help our community and environment. If we all do that the world will really be a better place.

So, what’s your New Year Resolution going to be? How will you help build a new Liverpool; UK and World?

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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