In amongst the challenges of this year, one thing that I’m not going to regret is the opportunity to spend considerably more time at home with my children.
The abrupt ‘imposition’ of working from home in April and May along with the children being home-schooled did take some getting used to and involved pleas via a text message to my wife to intervene when the children felt that I should be with them rather than on another zoom meeting.
As I watched them adjust to a different and uncertain routine I found it remarkable how they soldiered on, got on with it and trusted our words of reassurance and encouragement. If only the same could be true for us adults.
Unfortunately reassuring words will not suffice as we come to the end of a particularly difficult year. One of fear and anxiety for many and one of deep loneliness. As I returned home from London last week I thought how grateful I am to have had my wife and children close by to hug and chat to during the lockdowns and restrictions. I know far too many people of all ages have largely spent the last nine months without this companionship and I can’t imagine how unbearable this has been. I am so sorry if this has been your lot this year. I had been hopeful that the year-end would permit us to draw a line under 2020 and start 2021 with hope and joy rather than fear and anxiety. Despite the increasing availability of the vaccine I’m not sure we can put as much behind us as I had hoped. However, for all our sakes, the Government must proceed with great caution and much more clarity if further restrictions are needed (and I mean proven to work) in 2021.
Having seen the negative impact on so many lives and livelihoods caused by Government restrictions it is right that I am counted amongst the MPs who resist restrictions without clear evidence and reason. Having said this, and to work to ensure that Cornwall remains in Tier One, I do want to flag that testing in Cornwall has picked up a worrying increase in the cases of coronavirus.
This could be explained by the new testing centres (and increased testing) set up in the past 10 days including in Penzance and it is vital that all those either diagnosed with the virus or contacted by Test and Trace follow the self-isolation procedures rigorously.
Over Christmas and new year, tree planting continues in earnest as part of the Woodland Recovery 2020 initiative spearheaded by my office. The trees are funded by Government (tax-payers) 80% and local fundraising 20%. The trees are native to the UK and suitable for the locations we have identified and volunteers are very welcome. The Woodland Recovery 2020 initiative will see 20,000 trees planted across the constituency alongside many thousands others having been planted this year by others. Please contact my office if you would like to help or have possible locations for further tree-planting efforts until Spring. In the meantime I wish you a peaceful Christmas and a 2021 that is both fulfilling and hopeful.