2021 – the year in review: February

It’s my personal view, albeit a controversial one, that Dawn French was the worst thing that ever happened to Parish Councils. That changed in February, when a meeting of an obscure Parish Council in Cheshire went viral. I noted that not all Parish Councils are like that, whilst Ruth Bright reminded us that all levels of government have their share of unpleasantness. Who would have thought that the County Officer of an Association of Local Councils would become a celebrity? But Jackie Weaver rode the wave of publicity and did more to publicise the sector than anyone could have dreamed of.

COVID restrictions were still an utter shambles, with leaflet delivery allowed, then not allowed. The Government in Westminster might have been useless and, quite possibly, corrupt, but Kirsty Williams was working hard right to the end, planning for Welsh education.

If campaigning was restricted, there was still internal party business going on and there was an update on the Thornhill Review. One hundred and ten comments later… El Presidenté Pack and I had a cordial exchange about the Party Presidency, but there was good news at the end of the month – we could leaflet again!

“What was the Party for?” was an ongoing debate given a perceived lack of policy “meat”. Applying the expertise gleaned from twenty years on the frontline of mental health social care, Nick Perry urged the Party to offer something more tangible in terms of support for careers. Malcolm Bruce, meanwhile, wrote a robust condemnation of the SNP administration at Holyrood.

We lost a stalwart in Derek Barrie, whose labours for the cause of Scottish liberalism, and were reminded of the dreadful loss that was the passing of Charles Kennedy.

Public opinion was beginning to swing towards the Government, which continued to be fortunate in its opposition and was clearly benefiting from the vaccine rollout;

Conservatives 41%, Labour 37%, Liberal Democrats 6%, Greens 7%.

With local elections just over two months away, and campaigning restricted, the prospects for success were looking a bit faint…

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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  • No review of the year would be complete without a tribute and respect to the great Bishop Desmond Tutu. A wonderful and very wise man.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 26th Dec '21 - 2:18pm

    @ David,

    Although, of course, mentioning a December death in a review of February does seem a mite eccentric…

  • Brad Barrows 26th Dec '21 - 3:17pm

    You mention Malcom Bruce’s ‘robust condemnation of the SNP administration in Holyrood’. In that article Malcolm declared, “We should all make the case that, right now, denying the SNP (and Greens) is essential…” The Holyrood election arrived two months later, resulting in the SNP gaining 1 seat, the Greens gaining two seats and the number of pro-independence MSPs rising to 72 while the Unionist total fell to 57. That pro-independence majority has not yet acted on its mandate to hold a fresh independence referendum, but is likely to be a top priority once the pandemic is fully under control. Due to ongoing concerns about Covid, I don’t think the full significance of the May election results were fully appreciated, but I’m sure this will be featured in the future article discussing the key events in May 2021.

  • Brad Barrows 26th Dec '21 - 3:20pm

    Apologies…I missed out the key words ‘ a majority’ from the quote from Malcolm Bruce’s article. The full quote should have read, “We should all make the case that, right now, denying the SNP (and Greens) a majority is essential…”

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