Opinion: ‘At last, the end’s in sight for lockdown’

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow writes his regular column for the Peterborough Telegraph...

Sunday, 18th April 2021, 5:09 am
Non-essential retailers opened their doors this week. Photo: Shutterstock

The death of the Duke of Edinburgh took prominence this week.

Prince Philip was a dedicated and much-loved public servant. He was also refreshingly down-to-earth. I’m sure he would have been the first to tell people to get down to the pub, rather than worrying about tributes. It’s why he deserved them.

Peterborough is open again.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Non-essential shops and highly-essential hairdressers and barbers have unlocked their doors. Restaurants are laying tables outside. Pub gardens are full of the buzz of well-behaved customers.

It’s wonderful to see and hear.

This is our reward for months of following the rules and accepting horrible restrictions. There are more rewards to come as we follow the Prime Minister’s roadmap back to normality.

The plan is working.

On the doorstep, the thing I hear again and again is how well the vaccination programme is going. People tell me about their jab, or their mother’s jab or their grandfather’s jab (disclaimer: doorstep campaigning has been allowed for some weeks for the local elections!)

Over half of all adults have been vaccinated.

40 million doses have been administered. As of this week, vaccine appointments are being offered to 45 year olds.

It’s a huge success. If anyone doubts the practical impact, Public Health England estimates that vaccination has already saved 10,000 lives in the UK. That was during lockdown.

As the programme continues and we unlock further, the impact will be completely transformative. Only the vaccines can make our full return to normality possible.

The UK’s success is also a huge contrast to the European Union. It justifies our choice to take our own decisions, for ourselves, in our own way. Even those who wanted to remain in the EU can now see one upside.

It is sad to see Europe struggle and certainly not in our interest.

I’m so pleased for Peterborough.

I know how many businesses have struggled through lockdown, how many organisations have been affected. On an individual level, so many people have faced challenges, including challenges with their mental health.

We are social animals. It goes against human nature to be locked up, unable to hug our families or have fun with friends... unable even to shake hands with strangers.

Thank goodness, the end is in sight! And as I’ve said before, the prospects for our city are really strong.

Proof came as I sat writing this column, with the excellent news that the Peterborough Conservatives will make household bulky waste collections free.

This is a crucial step towards ending fly-tipping.

It removes any excuse and any burden on families.

It also goes hand-in-hand with tougher penalties and more CCTV.

This is how we will clean up our city.