New year message: We must keep up this monumental effort
- Credit: PA/Stefan Rousseau
Usually at this time of year we would be gathering with our loved ones, reflecting on the past and looking to the future. This has been a year unlike any other and 2020 has reminded us of how uncertain life can be.
For me, it started with a busy leadership campaign, which quickly turned virtual, and I ended up delivering one of the most important speeches of my career from my empty living room.
Being elected Labour Leader has been the greatest honour of my life and a chance to put forward Labour’s vision for Britain to be the best country to grow up in and the best country to grow old in.
Alongside this exciting role, I’ve always been determined to keep a strong local presence. After a busy week in Westminster and on visits around the country, it is always a pleasure to get out in the constituency on a Friday.
During this pandemic, Britain has suffered more than almost any other major economy. Too many of our loved ones have died. Too many good businesses have struggled. Too many people have lost their jobs. And restrictions, no matter how necessary, have been difficult for us all. People’s mental health has suffered, and we’ve missed our loved ones.
But, at the start of this new year there are reasons to be optimistic. The distribution of the vaccine brings the hope that we will soon be able to live life to the full again.
I have been so proud to see our community come together to help the most vulnerable, despite some gaping holes in government support.
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I want to thank the volunteers, charities and other organisations who have helped to distribute food, and tackle isolation and loneliness. This support has been a lifeline for many residents. From the thousands of meals delivered by the Highgate Newtown Community Centre to the mutual aid groups who have done so much to help people stuck at home.
2020 has also been hard for many businesses who have fought to stay afloat. I’ll keep pushing for the support they need until they can start trading properly again and get our economy growing.
Until then, we must stay safe, look after our neighbours and keep up the monumental effort that has got us this far.
As we move forward, the Labour Party I lead will focus on rebuilding a fairer, greener, more prosperous country.
That rebuild should be inspired by the bravery and heroism of those who have been on the frontline since the start of this pandemic: our key workers, carers, NHS staff and police. Those who kept us safe and our supermarkets stocked.
With that hope and vision, I believe that our best years are yet to come. I want to wish all the Ham&High’s readers a very happy new year.
- Sir Keir Starmer is MP for Holborn and St Pancras, and leader of the Labour Party.