Whatever we think about the last year and the last decade, we are once again on the brink of another one. It’s a time for reflection. So ….
I think that the policy of austerity has been cruel, and its impact has fallen on those who are least able to shoulder its burden – hungry children; so many homeless; potholes in our roads. Cuts wound, and Britain is wounded. That Britain has food banks at all is a national shame. That it has so many food banks is a deep gash on the face of our country.
Friends tell me to cheer up, that all will be well. And I do hope so!
However, I think that we need to look squarely at the difficulties that face us so that we can campaign for, work for a better future for all. When we see hate and racism on the rise; the vulnerable suffering disproportionately; our home planet suffering fire and flood, we need to reset our moral compass. So, with this in mind, I have chosen three categories of role models who guide me into the future. These categories are local, national and international.
My choice in this local category is Paul Follows. So young, so capable, so ready to listen to, and to act for our community. He has given his time and his talents freely and willingly and he will make an excellent MP somewhere and somewhen. Here and soon, I hope.
In the national category, I choose John Bercow, the ex-House of Commons Speaker, the Speaker who has championed Parliament, upholding its sovereignty against the odds. He calls for us all to moderate our language and return to considerate and courteous debate. Every single Speaker for 230 years has been Knighted with the exception of John Bercow. Better to deserve honours and not to have them than to have them and not deserve them.
And internationally, I choose Greta Thunberg. Has there ever been anyone like her? She is an inspiration; a still, small voice that we all must heed. We must live more simply so that our world may simply live.
I finish with some words from another of my heroes – the late, great Jim Henson. He was an educator and made us laugh and cry. He wrote these words to his children,
“Life is meant to be fun and joyous and fulfilling. May each of yours be. Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life, enjoy it.”
And so say I.
Happy New Year