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We have a bright future but no room for complacency

Column by Councillor Lee Steptoe, Labour member of South Kesteven District Council

As spring blooms in a typically British way, with extremes of weather, we can at last see a light flickering increasingly brightly at the end of the Covid tunnel.

I cannot wait to enjoy a beer in a pub garden (weather permitting) and eat again in my favourite Indian restaurants in our town. As I wrote in my last column, I have had the first jab due to my age and underlying heart disease and feel so much more positive for it. I want to thank our amazing NHS and its legions of workers once again; you truly are loved across our nation.

Councillor Lee Steptoe, Labour (24894592)
Councillor Lee Steptoe, Labour (24894592)

As many emerge out of isolation it is so important that after all the missteps the government has taken over the last year, that there is no complacency and I genuinely hope the Prime Minister is led by data and not arbitrary dates this time. Approaching 30 million first doses have now been administered but we must never forget the 127,000 that have perished, along with their grieving families.

The pandemic has shone a bright light on our society, exposing both its strengths and weaknesses. The UK has led the world in vaccine research and more than 700,000
volunteered to deliver
essentials after the government appealed for support early in the crisis. This to me is the true mark of patriotism, not wrapping yourself in huge Union flags which both main parties seem to be doing.

On the other hand, we have one of the world’s highest death rates, due to shocking complacency, bordering on negligence. As well as mass deaths and serious illness, the pandemic has caused mental and economic devastation for millions. Inequality, already glaring, is now rampant and we simply must prevent a lost generation of young people as our service based economy struggles to reopen.

We must be wary of overly optimistic talk of a ‘roaring Twenties.’ As a History teacher I reflect on what happened when that was talked of 100 years ago: mass
depression and unemployment and ultimately the rise of fascism and World War Two.

As social beings we have a duty to look out for one another in these tough times and build on the best examples of communities coming together during this health and economic crisis.

Easter is a time for new beginnings and I wish those of all faiths and none the very best for their futures.

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