Christmas Column, Crawley Observer

It will be a decade next year since I started as Labour Group Leader on Crawley Borough Council and began writing this column. In that time the Christmas column has always been the easiest to write, with council business shut down for the year and residents not looking for anything too political.

Consequently, I’ve always written something fairly light-hearted, focusing on some traditional aspect of Christmas and how it relates to Crawley or encouraging people to spare a bit of time wishing well those keeping our services running over the holidays.

Unfortunately, this year it would be irresponsible not to use this space to ask people to remember that just because it’s Christmas, that doesn’t mean the pandemic is over, in fact cases are higher than ever and we must all do what we can to limit the risk of spreading the virus to others.

We are privileged to live in a country where we have a health service capable of distributing vaccines at record pace, where you can literally walk-in and be vaccinated twenty-four hours a day. Unless told otherwise by your doctor, there is simply no reason other than stupidity not to get vaccinated or a booster. Although, we must also continue to wear masks and social distance in public spaces, because no vaccine is ever one hundred percent effective.

I know Christmas is when people come together, I know people are tired of restrictions and their financial consequences, I know a lot of nonsense is being spread online by people whose top medical qualification is owning a first aid kit, but I also know people who have lost parents due to giving them COVID-19. Do you really believe that they don’t look back every day asking why they didn’t take things seriously? That’s why the hardest thing to ask is also the most important: we need to act ourselves even if the Government won’t put new restrictions in place to limit the numbers of people we come into contact with to the bare minimum. It is the greatest act of charity we can offer those we really love.

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