Christmas message 2021

The current Conservative and Unionist government have been short on effective policies and big on three-word slogans (TWS). From, build back better, get Brexit done, take back control and at one point we had the wholly unremarkable ‘build build build’. It is hard to imagine a more vacuous slogan, but the Tories have had a good try at it. ‘Get a Jab’. I mean really, is that the inspiration you need? But it did get me thinking about messaging. At this time of year, we traditionally write cards to people we don’t see very often. At new year social media and group chats will fill up with messages prior to the bells and soon after. It’s the one time of the year when we are all more engaged in reaching out and sending messages of love and support. And inadvertently because of that, it’s a time of year when people who don’t have family and friends around them can feel especially lonely or isolated. Covid has maybe given us all a taste of that over the last two years, therefore we should be more aware of it. And more prepared to do something about it. It’s going to be another year of disruption and that will require flexibility to sustain ourselves and our communities. But I firmly believe that Inverclyde will survive and given a fair wind and the right people pulling in the right direction, we can thrive. Our record of community involvement and engagement during the Covid pandemic is as good as anyones. In very difficult circumstances, volunteers have worked with and augmented the existing services. In some cases, they have created bespoke services targeted at minority groups. There will always be the those that talk down Inverclyde and Scotland, the cringe isn’t just for Christmas. But I am uplifted by the knowledge that in Inverclyde and in Scotland we have far more people prepared to adopt a positive attitude and strive to improve rather than carp from the sidelines. The New Year will be what me make it. And if I may sign off for this year with a three-word slogan (technically four), then I shall wish you all, peace, love and understanding.