By Lucette Davies

It has been suggested to me that this column should offer a more positive message appropriate for the festive season. But I fear this may be reminiscent of the characters in the Life of Brian who sing Always Look on the Bright Side of Life as they are crucified. For this year has been catastrophic for the people of Britain and that fact really can’t be sugar coated.

For during this year, we have all suffered the effects of this pandemic. But whilst we have been suffering our Government has used the situation to: Increase privatisation of the NHS; hand massive contracts to their mates; squander our money and, get away with extensive corruption.

Eastbourne lost its walk-in centre despite the majority of the town expressing their desire to keep it. We were told that the 111 service would be an adequate replacement, but now we are witnessing that argument fail. More and more people are experiencing problems with accessing care from their GP. And, our shiny new Victoria Medical Centre is already starting to attract complaints.

The cracks are showing as NHS staff struggle to maintain decent care when the Government is failing the service at every level. Staff are now at breaking point, demoralised and exhausted.

We are also witnessing a Government who is bringing in draconian legislation befitting of a true dictatorship. The Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill threatens to take away our freedom to protest, a vital aspect of a functioning democracy. The Nationality and Borders Bill could allow Government to unlawfully remove a person’s citizenship potentially affecting 5m people in the UK. While, the Health and Care Bill will reshape our NHS entirely into a US style system.

Prices are rising exponentially, although not long ago cuts to Universal Credit of £20/ week plunged around 11,000 households in Eastbourne into poverty.

It is hard to imagine what Eastbourne will be like if our Council follows the guidance of Government. Selling off the assets of the town may bring in £40m but threatens to leave us without the revenue funding our town needs. They say Eastbourne needs to rely less on tourism so what do we rely on, care homes?

Should we just hang our heads in despair and resign ourselves to impending disaster? Or do we care enough for our country and our community to fight back? Because in amongst all the darkness and horror of this year under the most dangerous Government our country has known for a long time there are some chinks of light. People are starting to fight back.

Industrial action is now widespread and has already resulted in some workers moving away from poverty wages. Perhaps when Eastbourne’s bin men go out on strike we can all show our support for them?

The Peoples’ Covid Inquiry resulted in an accusation that our Government is guilty of Misconduct in Public Office. Why not write to Caroline Ansell and express your desire to see the Government face justice?

We can fight back and we must fight back for ourselves and our community. So have a good Christmas break, and rest up because next year there is work to be done. Stay safe.