Anthony Mangnall: Come hell or highwater I will never vote for another national lockdown
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The benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing. In recent months, I have all too often seen that an extra piece of information arriving two minutes after a Parliamentary vote has taken place.
When voting for the measures to introduce the November lockdown, I did so with extreme reluctance not least because our hospitals were performing well and under capacity, our residents were being responsible, and our businesses were operating in a Covid-secure manner.
While all was not well in the world, things in South Devon were a great deal better than elsewhere.
My reluctance around supporting the lockdown is that it is a deferment technique. It kicks the can further down the road and it fails to see us really live with the virus. Not least the data from the tiered system had yet to be fully analysed.
Instead, we opted to take a nuclear option of once again closing down the country and asking people to stay homes due to the very real concern that our hospitals might find themselves overrun and that the virus would rip across the country.
Thankfully, our NHS once again stood the challenge and the virus has again been brought under control.
Added to which, we have now all been greeted with the welcome news that a third British-born vaccine has proven to be effective, and better still can be produced at a quick rate with less technical difficulties than its American counterparts.
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This welcome, joyous, happy news means that soon we can return to normality.
So, rather than focussing on what has passed, let us look ahead and recognise that in the coming months an enormous nationwide vaccination programme is set to be launched.
The elderly, vulnerable and frontline health workers are likely to be first in line for this new shot. Quickly followed by those age groups most likely to be impacted from the dreaded impact of this virus.
Efficiently and effectively those who wish to receive a vaccine will do so and we will face a new day without the Covid-19 cloud hanging over our heads.
Great events in history are often followed by a renaissance and I see no reason why not to expect the same in this instance.
From the very real marvel of our scientists who have stretched and strained every brain cell to create a vaccination in a year, to our farmers and fishermen who face a new and exciting future as commanders of their own destinies.
We must harness the outcomes of the Covid crisis and nurture those seedlings of enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurialism.
In the South West we have seen many new arrivals over the course of this year.
This new generation of home workers has the potential to breathe life into our high streets and local businesses. But only by promoting our local produce and streamlining our core infrastructure will this be achieved.
Adopting a Victorian can-do attitude to those challenges will end the delay and dither and provide the results that we need so desperately here in this region.
We have been acutely aware of those businesses that have thrived both during and after lockdown.
Our tourism and hospitality sector boomed post lockdown and we should all take note that thousands of new visitors have been introduced to our spectacular vistas, pubs and hotels.
Those areas in need of development should seek it as in all likelihood we will see continued high levels of demand in the coming years.
Our businesses that have found new demand in domestic markets must capitalise as well as seeking out new opportunities abroad.
With multiple trade deal negotiations ongoing there is plenty of opportunity for those businesses within our corner of the world.
Come hell or highwater I will never vote for another national lockdown. I believe we have had our fill of such arcane and destructive measures.
As has been the case from the outset, we must continue to act responsibly and maintain those social distance measures that are designed to protect us, but at least we can now look ahead with a renewed sense optimism.