• Paul Wharton

Taking Stock

In last week’s Chronicle Laura Trott reminded us that she has now been our Conservative MP for twelve months, and it seems like a good time to take stock. Are we all happier, safer and better off than we were in 2019?

Unfortunately the answer is No. This has been a disastrous year, for Sevenoaks and the whole country, with one government mistake after another.

We have had two national lockdowns that came too late to save thousands of lives. The underfunding of the NHS led to shortages of protective equipment, while sick people were sent back to their care homes. A top Downing Street adviser broke the rules he helped to write, but kept his job.

In the summer the government spent vast amounts of public money encouraging us to eat out, which probably contributed to the second wave of the pandemic. Boris Johnson told workers to return to their offices – and then said the opposite. He promised a world-beating track and trace system that has failed to materialise.

Poverty and unemployment have grown steadily since the spring, but it appears the Conservatives will not respond until a professional footballer tells them to.

And then there is the imminent end of the Brexit transition period. We don’t know how bad the disruption will be, but here in Kent we need to brace ourselves for what January might bring.

The railway line Mrs Trott writes about may be important. For the rest of us, however, there are far more pressing concerns as we approach the new year.

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So now it is confirmed. The Prime Minister and his Chancellor broke the laws they wrote themselves, and which imposed severe restrictions on the rest of us. Then they repeatedly lied about what they h