Crisis shows the true value of key workers and the strength of our communities

Posted on: 29th April 2020

Tomorrow evening we stand out again to applaud our frontline workers. Those people who literally put their lives on the line to save the lives of others and to keep us all going – not just NHS professionals, but care workers, refuse collectors, grocery retail workers, transport workers, delivery services and many, many more.

It’s difficult to look at positives at this time but there are many we can take from the Covid emergency. We’re showing the UK at its best. Our communities mutually supportive. Not just the high profile media stories of remarkable centenarian Captain Tom but the many large and small acts of kindness in every town and village, locality and neighbourhood. You’re no doubt doing your bit. I’m doing my modest bit too. Supporting those who cannot get out. Helping the most vulnerable.

At this stage we must concentrate on these positives and to learn lessons about how we may do things differently and better when we’re finally through this crisis.

Of course it would be easy to point out the failures and the mistakes. The government’s refusal to take note of warnings just a few years ago and their lack of pandemic preparedness. Their slow reaction to the alarming spread of the virus. The UK’s startlingly inadequate capacity to test and contact-trace in the crucial early stages. Their disappointing decision to concentrate more eye-catching media-orientated initiatives (like throwing up nightingale hospitals) than addressing inadequate staffing and insufficient PPE. Their turning a blind eye to the care at home and home care sectors and their out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude to any deaths outside hospitals. Their treatment of the daily briefing as a Party election broadcast. All of which has contributed to the UK looking like it will have one of the worst if not the worst outcome amongst developed countries.

But it’s best to concentrate on the positives; the professionalism of frontline workers and the strength and resilience of our communities.