I recently spoke in the Summer Adjournment Debate to praise communities across the country, including South Shields, for showing the absolute best of our country throughout the pandemic.
It was important for me to begin my speech by setting a reminder of how the Government has failed our country since the start of the pandemic. We have seen them award almost £1.5 billion to Tory friends and donors; send covid patients into care homes, leading to thousands of deaths; fail to equip our heroic health service with adequate PPE, then deny health workers a fair pay rise; row back on manifesto promises to pensioners, our armed forces and foreign aid; deny refuge to children fleeing conflict and persecution; repeatedly ignore the crisis in adult and children’s social care; exclude 3 million people from financial support; be shamed into feeding hungry children; silence any dissent and clamp down on freedom of speech, proposing to jail journalists who print the truth; and disfranchise millions from voting in the future.
It’s shocking to think they are a small proportion of examples, the list goes on and on. We should be deeply worried about the trajectory in which the Government are taking our country.
The real difference is how the people of South Shields and our key workers have behaved in comparison to the Government over the past year and a half. From fundraising and delivering food and essentials to our friends, neighbours and wider community, to our local taxi firms offering free taxi transport to elderly and vulnerable people to help them shop for essential supplies. Alongside those going above and beyond to help and support others, and the creation of online activities during a time when many of us felt lonely and isolated. In comparison to the Government, the list goes on and on with truly heartwarming gestures towards those in our community who have struggled during the pandemic.
I could spend hours praising individuals, businesses and organisations in South Shields who have truly shown the best of our country. For those who I did mention in my speech and those who I did not manage to fit in, I am so proud of you all.
I concluded my speech with a simple message to the Government: do better, be more like South Shields.
It is an honour to represent you all.