Happy New Year – or is it?

The first week back after the festive season can be hard – no longer do we have the luxury of a lie-in, feet up on the sofa or just taking our foot off the pedal for a few days. Having spent time with friends and family, we are back on the proverbial treadmill with new year’s resolutions that will fade by the end of the week and an in box that seems to be expanding quicker than gremlins in a rainstorm.

Listening to the news this morning, I heard a heart-warming story of a lady who is donating her kidney to the NHS by way of thanks to our health service professionals who treated her husband after his diagnosis with cancer. A totally selfless act from someone who wanted to thank the NHS for saving her husband’s life. It put me in a positive mood and I looked for further such stories. Alas, not so – the article about the 95 year old gentleman who was in tears on new year’s eve because of loneliness and the dangers that the internet and social media are posing to youngsters who are not being taught how to deal with the horrors of on-line predators came next. And all that before we move onto the constant stream of articles about the fallout from Sir Ivan Roger’s resignation and our economic prospects for 2017.

It struck me that this was a call for personal and collective responsibility to face these problems head on. With an ageing population and the rise of the use of technology, these are two areas in which we need strong leadership from the Government to encourage us and direct us to take greater responsibility. How many of us take the time to check on the neighbour living on their own in our road, or when making plans for Christmas and new year thought about making sure elderly relatives were included in a family celebration? This is an area which needs decisive leadership from the Government immediately otherwise the blight of loneliness and depression as more and more people live beyond 90 will be a damning indictment of our society.

And on similar lines, tackle once and for all the myriad of problems that social media poses to children.
Both these areas need someone to take responsibility. This should be Government. Parents, families and charities can play a role, but it needs action from the top to guide, advise and demonstrate that these problems can be resolved. Far rather I hear about more heart-warming stories that show we can tackle these problems than endless stories of Ministers and Civil Servants bickering amongst themselves ahead of what will be the most important period of our history for some decades.

Governments often shy away from strong and controversial decisions, fearing the backlash and negative publicity that can ensue. However, it is clear that these are ‘big wins’ for Government if they get it right, and big wins for society at the same time. So Mrs May, let’s see what you are really made of and show us that you are prepared to lead a Government that will put these social ills to bed once and for all.