I am writing this at home, having caught Covid. I am pretty sure I had it right at the start of the pandemic, in early 2020, but it was before the testing regime we developed so I can’t know for sure. This time, I’ve definitely had the 2 lines, confirmed by a PCR. It isn’t pleasant but I’ve had all 3 jabs and so I mostly have symptoms of a head cold and fatigue.
I have a partner but being at home alone all day makes me think of 2 things: firstly, how hard it must be to be on your own all the time. If you can, please volunteer for organisations like the Didcot Good Neighbour Scheme, through which I see a widower each week. The second thing I’m reminded of is what a vital job all the various community groups did during the pandemic to support their neighbours.
You may or may not know that PMQs are predominately allocated by electronic ballot the week before they take place. Having been drawn for only 1 PMQ in my first 25 months, I was then drawn for a further 2 in just 3 weeks. The first I used to raise the lack of new GP surgeries we’ve had to support all the new houses that have been built. The second I used to raise the reservoir proposal, a shadow of uncertainty over the Steventon, Hanneys and Drayton area for over 2 decades now.
For all the yah boo politics PMQs has long been criticised for, it remains the best place to raise a local issue as it a rare occasion when the House of Commons is full, people outside parliament are watching on tv and it means the Prime Minister’s office swings into action to help deal with the issues you’re having.
It was very moving to be in the House of Commons for President Zelensky’s address to MPs, as it has been to watch him and the Ukrainian people resist the brutal invasion Putin has launched of their country, with support from the UK and its allies. I know people have been frustrated by the pace at which refugees are being brought to the UK and I agree the system did not move fast enough at the outset. It is now moving much faster, and we have several generous strands for entry. It is important that we know we can put in the right support the refugees that we take – we still have Afghans in hotels in Oxfordshire because we don’t have houses for them – and so we have to make sure we have the right health, education and pastoral support in place as soon as possible, which the Government is working hard on.
One final thing: Grove library is 50 years old this year and has a great collection of items from 1972 (or thereabouts) on display for a month!
As ever, if I can help with anything then do let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org