'I have optimism for 2022 and hope of a brighter future'

Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison, leader of the Haringey Lib Dems

Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison, leader of the Haringey Lib Dems - Credit: Haringey Lib Dems

It has now been over two years since the World Health Organisation were alerted to the existence of Covid-19. It is incredible to consider how much our lives have changed in that time.

When I was first elected back in 2018, in what seems like a different world, there were many things that my colleagues and I wished to achieve.

Some of that we have done, but trying to help our local communities deal with the pandemic quickly became our primary goal.

This time last year, the country’s vaccine programme was beginning to roll out, and by summer it looked as though coronavirus restrictions might have become a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, the emergence of the new Omicron variant has put the opening up process into reverse. This is obviously terrible news, not least for our barely-recovering hospitality sector, but when we look beyond the doom and gloom headlines, there is some limited room for optimism.

This variant does appear to be milder than previous waves, and, as I write in mid-December, it looks as though infections have already peaked in South Africa.

Furthermore, whilst vaccine effectiveness has reduced compared with previous variants, jabs still provide a great deal of protection, particularly against severe disease and death. With the booster programme in full swing, we can only hope that this winter is a lot less deadly than last year’s.

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This was not the new years message I was wishing to write at the end of 2021, and I certainly hope we won’t all be in the same position next winter, but this year, and 2020 before that, have shown just how quickly and wonderfully communities and enterprises can adapt to changing worlds.

We have seen sectors that were shred apart in 2020 bounce back in new and exciting ways in 2021, and new ways of thinking have emerged about what a “post-covid” world, both nationally and locally, might look like. For me, despite all that has happened, this is really positive, and as the new year begins, I have optimism for 2022 and hope of a brighter future.

Luke Cawley-Harrison is leader of Haringey Liberal Democrats and councillor for Crouch End.

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