Surely even the most committed republican could not fail to have been a little moved by the
events of the Platinum Jubilee. Whatever your views about hereditary monarchy, the Queen
under whose reign most of us have lived most or all of our lives has been an outstanding
example of constancy, integrity, and dedication.
The contrast with the country's elected leader could hardly be more stark, and it is perhaps
a cruel irony that 148, over 40%, of his own MPs spent that celebratory weekend coming to
the conclusion that he was in fact the antithesis of everything that was best about our
monarch, and it was time for him to go. And that's before we get the results of the two
imminent by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton.
Despite all the red-wall-targeted rhetoric about 'levelling up', the gulf between 'haves' and
'have nots' continues to grow across the country. Those with good homes, good jobs, or
good pensions are, on the whole, OK. But ask anyone involved with a local Foodbank about
the 'affluent' South East and they will quickly point you to the ever growing numbers of
people desperate to find the next meal for their family, and living in fear of what next winter
has in store for energy bills.
Against this challenging background, last weekend's outpouring of community celebration
for the life of that most privileged of individuals was poignant but uplifting. Just for a few
hours many of the current tribulations could be set aside as whole neighbourhoods
reverberated with music, dancing, entertainments, eating and drinking. Much of the
community spirit that was born during the trials of Covid was re-awoken. Local shops, pubs,
cafes, restaurants, schools and churches all joined in the celebrations with gusto.
Now we face the challenge of maintaining the positive spirit that was so evident last week.
We need to remember how important our community and our neighbours are, and how
great is the impact of a little help, kindness, or cash. While there are many who are forced
to minimise their spending, there are plenty of others who have the ability, should they
wish, to support our local businesses, services, and charities. That in turn helps provide local
jobs or relieve anxieties. Many small businesses just barely survived the various lockdowns
and we must each now do what we can to reward them with our custom. If we do not, more
of our High Streets will see businesses close, and local services and jobs disappear.
One of the great joys of being part of the cross-party Rother Alliance has been to see how
much energy and enthusiasm can be unlocked when politicians of differing political stripes
bury their party political differences and pull together. We all want the best for the
communities we serve and when party dogma is set aside we find there is more that unites
than divides us. I like to think of it as a microcosm of our community. If we all can work
together, we all can benefit.
Cllr Kathryn Field