December 2020: News from your local MP

November 30 2020

In 2021, science may take us through the ‘Covid portal’ into an unknown future

As I write, we’ve got half way through the current 28-day lockdown to try to tackle  a disease that none of us knew about a year ago.
Since then, a lot has changed but much has stayed the same. Human kindness is more noticeable, but it was always there. The climate emergency has not been at the top of the headlines but as you have been telling me, it is still with us and so is your determination to halt it and deal with the consequences of it.
Many of us have found the year very difficult. Some have lost loved ones. Others have suffered with losing work or income and this in turn has often led to anxieties about managing the day-to-day vital activities of paying bills and keeping the family together.
Perhaps this year, more than ever, we have all become amateur scientists, eagerly consuming the latest information and anticipating the new developments of vaccines and treatments. We’ve probably all had conversations about whether or not this or that particular measure is more or less likely to work.
I recently had the privilege of hosting and chairing a panel of four leading scientists from the University of Bristol. Among them were members of the leading scientific advisory bodies whose guidance has informed government decisions on the Covid response - and therefore influenced all our lives. If you want to watch it, the full hour-long event is on my website ( I found the discussion inspiring and uplifting, as well as informative. It illuminated many of the reasons for the guidance we are all now familiar with – and, please, still following, for the sake of us all.
This spring the author Arundhati Roy wrote an article about the ‘portal of Covid’, a doorway into a future through which we are all going, a process which will change us, our world and how we live. We may not know exactly how yet but it will be different.
Already I can see some aspects of life beyond the portal. A vaccine – in fact several vaccines – and a reinvigorated understanding worldwide of the life-saving power vaccines have. A new president of the United States who takes – thankfully – a very different view from the last on the climate emergency. A renewed relationship with nature and sharpened sense of who, and what, is really important - and conversely who and what is not.
I hope that we also take our commitment to each other – so ably demonstrated every time you wash your hands, keep distancing precautions, wear a mask or reduce your contact with others, even though it’s hard. We do this to protect each other. We fight for the future of the planet to protect the next generations of humans and other living things. We take part in vaccine trials to help protect people more vulnerable than ourselves. As we move through the portal of Covid, we will do this together.