Our outgoing Chair, Bob Smith, gives his thoughts on a difficult and challenging year, and the whole Sandwell Liberal Democrat team wish all our friends and supporters a happy, and safe, festive season.
Stay safe, and let's look forward to a better 2021.
As we approach the end of such a challenging year, it feels shocking, but not surprising, that so many in Sandwell and elsewhere are on the breadline. (Almost 700,000 driven into poverty by Covid crisis in UK, study finds) Our gratitude goes to those who support the overstretched local food banks. Like many others I know that my local Smethwick food bank is doing a brilliant job supported by several local groups of residents who provide weekly collections to help feed those facing dark times.
As Liberal Democrats we believe in a fair, green and caring society, and working together with others, at local and national levels. People often forget that we have 2500 Lib Dem Councillors working hard across the UK and are in majority control of 26 councils, responsible for the joint allocation of £billions. We are keen to build on that in next May's council elections.
We've had a pandemic year, where now more than half the country (57%) don't trust the government to manage it for us. Countries with the highest trust in their government have proved to be the most effective at dealing with Covid-19. Those led by women, like New Zealand, also do better. Trying to get an untrustworthy Johnson to engage in cross party talks on Covid-19 or Brexit was always beyond him. Johnson likes to control everything from the centre and I'm sure his `oven ready` promises will haunt him in the future! It's a salutary experience seeing the 27 countries of the EU working together behind Barnier on Brexit. Meanwhile the Labour left, (still very present on Sandwell Council) are scathing about Keir Starmer's steady stance, undermining his hopes for unity post Corbyn.
This is an opportunity for Lib Dems to speak out and model the fairer society we advocate.
Let's make our contribution to a better 2021 in Sandwell. All efforts to help in the May elections, however small, will be much appreciated.
I hope you find a safe way to enjoy connecting with those important to you over the Christmas period.
Chair Sandwell Liberal Democrats