The North Shropshire by-election

Friday 17 December

At 6am I hear the news that Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan, has won the safe blue seat of North Shropshire, overturning a Conservative majority of 23 thousand votes and unseating the Tories from a seat they have represented for 200 years. And suddenly a week that was feeling distinctly low on festive cheer looks a lot brighter…

A major political earthquake…”, gasp the media commentators, as I scrabble frantically for my phone in the dark bedroom and start scrolling through Twitter like a lunatic. What grabs my attention here, however, is not the interviews with eloquent analysts nor the well-versed soundbites from party leaders but a clip of local voters explaining their reasons for switching life-long allegiances away from their usual party of choice. And they outline, with crystal clarity, basic honest values in their answers. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, or maybe because of it, they uniformly reject and refuse to accept any excuses for: sleaze, lies, double standards and lack of care for their community.

And they make me cry….

Yes, I’ll admit that they make me feel pretty damned patriotic and proud to be British. For we may have endured months of neglect, disregard for all that we hold dear and the mismanagement of our precious public services. In recent weeks we may have felt despair, anger and fury at the battery of dismal, derisory stories from our arrogantly self-entitled Westminster government but that none of that can dismantle our values as a society.

No; today the great British people, as they showed throughout the darkest of Lockdown days and the toughest of times for our poorest families, remain a caring and principled people who do not want to live in the world of our current Prime Minister, a man described by former attorney general Dominic Grieve as a “vacuum of integrity”. And, possibly the greatest of all our British values, democracy, means that they have the power to do something about it. Did the people of North Shropshire speak for us all? They certainly spoke for me; to echo the words of their new MP Helen Morgan

Your amazing efforts have delivered a gift of hope to our country just in time for Christmas

And hope is a wonderful tonic. Hope means it is worth teaching your kids about right and wrong; fairness and justice. Hope means it is worth standing by your beliefs and trying to make your own corner of the world a better place! Hope means that community and family, care and kindness all do matter.

And so, as I hop into the car for work, I am feeling fantastic and full of seasonal cheer. In fact I raise a cheer to every little thing that is or has been good about the last 7 days!

Went to a Christmas concert featuring Small Boy and the local Youth Orchestra,

“Hooray!”

Met up with one of my besties for a Christmas Cream tea with wine and Baileys,

“Hooray!”

Today I break up for the Christmas holidays,

“Hooray!”

This evening, both girls are arriving home for Christmas.

“Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!”

Roll on Christmas and thank you good people of North Shropshire, important as Omicron booster jabs may be, you have been the boost that I’ve needed this week ….

I