This year the headlines have been dominated by inflation, war, recession and financial instability. Most people are faced with soaring energy prices and a precarious future. A winter of discontent has been marked by strikes and industrial action. And yet set apart from the hardship and sanctions, remote from the worry and uncertainty there are companies making record profits, paying little or no tax and paying the minimum wage. Aspects of the media vilify the working class for exercising their right to withdraw their labour and Conservative politicians are trying to turn public opinion against frontline workers. The very same people we applauded during Covid. The voices of the right wing are becoming louder and ordinary people are being asked to believe that immigration is a bad thing. Peace, love and understanding are thin on the ground.
Closer to home I am continually engaging with people who bring problems to my office. Initially it may seem like a trivial problem but after investigation it’s clear that it is just the latest in a long line of issues that have combined to wear someone down until they find themselves at their wits end. It is against that background that the many charities and voluntary organisations throughout Inverclyde continue year in year out to offer guidance, support and kindness in a non judgmental environment. This isn’t a seasonal offering, it’s all year round and doesn’t require reciprocation. I would like to thank all those organisations and individuals who contribute to the better wellbeing of Inverclyde and for providing daily the goodwill and loving care that we too often only associate with this time of year.