Behind all the noise of big debates and issues of the day, Parliament really does some great stuff. At the end of last week South West MP Liam Fox led a Bill about Down Syndrome through the House of Commons with support from all sides. The Bill will mean better provision and outcomes for people with Down Syndrome and give a legal right to lifelong care. As a by-product it has generated some terrific positive discussion about the Down community, the help they need but also how much they can contribute and bring joy to life, something which is much needed now. Brilliant work by you, Dr Fox.
Obviously, this is now a somewhat concerning time as the Omicron variant of Coronavirus is assessed. The thing to remember is there will be constant variations and mutations as is normal with any coronavirus, and responses need to be measured and proportionate. The news from Southern Africa seems to be that this variant of the virus is no more, and possibly less, serious for those who get it than those that have gone before, even if it may spread more easily, and this would fit with the evolutionary path of most coronaviruses, to become more infectious and less problematic over time. We also know that the T-Cell immunity we have will most likely be effective even if new spike protein variation gives the virus more ways in, and the vaccine boosters are a key way of refreshing this.
My message to the Government now and over the coming weeks is that the country needs a good Christmas. In every way you can think of we need it to be a special one. International travel might need planning, but it needs to be affordable in terms of tests and what is required. We need to be able to meet friends in pubs and restaurants and younger people need to be able to go to clubs and parties. My view is that measures like cancelling Nativity plays, whilst taken locally and with the very best of intentions, are overly pessimistic.
All these things can be done whilst people take responsibility for themselves to be a bit more careful until the situation with Omicron is understood. In the debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday some of the staunchest opponents of restrictions said they wore masks on public transport or in situations where they felt other people would feel more comfortable if they did.
As a dog owner and frequent visitor to Ham Hill, I am alarmed to hear about the incidences of dogs falling ill after visiting this lovely site. I am in touch with the District Council about it and have said that I will do whatever I can to help. It seems a bit of a mystery at this stage and might be just a coincidence, but I will push for a full investigation.
It won’t be long until I am asked by papers and websites about the year that has passed and hopes for 2022. Obviously 2021 has been a mixed bag but I would love to hear your thoughts, good or bad, to help me put these pieces together.