In a spirit of measured calmness and stoic resilience, our market towns and villages are coming back to life. A buzz is returning to our high streets and long overdue village gatherings are taking place. Life is returning to normal.
Of course, for many of us, August means one thing: exam results. And I’d like to say a huge congratulations to the thousands of local students who’ve received their GCSE, A-level and vocational results over the past few weeks. I have fond results day memories from my time as a secondary school teacher; watching hard work pay off and my students taking their next exciting step in life.
Having had to contend with the disruption and uncertainly of the last couple of years, I’m incredibly proud of all that our local young people and school teachers have achieved. With so much to celebrate, I’m incredibly glad that more live events will be going ahead thanks to a Government-backed insurance scheme worth over £750 million which I spent months campaigning for.
I met privately with the Chancellor to ask for this precise initiative, which I hope will give the folks at Gilcombe Farm confidence in planning next year’s FarmFest and Sunrise festivals, while also supporting the fantastic live events at Wincanton Racecourse and all those in the wider industry such as the brilliant Bradsons Event Services. I’m acutely aware of how challenging this pandemic has been for those who make a living from live events – with many sadly forced into cancellation. Now, the show can go on.
Speaking of social events, there’s been a lot of speculation recently about the role of vaccine passports as we emerge from this pandemic. I should make it very clear that I do not believe that vaccine passports offer either the safest or most appropriate way forward when it comes to admittance to nightclubs or any other social settings. Equality under the law is an indivisible principle which underpins our way of life – and any attempt to apportion the freedoms which we all (rightly) take for granted according to the receipt of a vaccination sets, I believe, a dangerous precedent.
Thank you all so, so much for the love and appreciation you’ve shown us since we launched the New Blackmore Vale.