19 May 2020
What is Talking Points?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every fortnight. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: What can local residents do to help small business during this time?
Charities and NGOs will be key to the recovery and reconstruction after the Covid-19 pandemic because they are a clear expression of collective feeling and an indication of what we value in our community.
The pandemic has shaken accepted wisdom and habits of thought that we had been taken for granted. All of a sudden we have become aware of the people who really keep us safe and who keep society functioning. They turn out to be NHS workers and care home staff, transport workers and workers in essential retail networks. Crucially they have not been those who are most highly paid or most successful, those who are normally most visible or who shout the loudest. We have also become more aware of the value of the natural world as in conditions of lockdown we notice things that in our pre-Covid rush we were too busy to take in. All of a sudden we hear the birds singing, peer upwards at the stars and do our best to identify the trees that grow in our green spaces.
The shock of the lockdown and the experience of life threatening illness in our families and our neighbourhoods has made us re-evaluate what really matters and what is really valuable. This will all be of crucial importance once the process of recovery begins. We can’t go back to the way things were, because the way things were was broken. It valued the wrong things and lauded the wrong kinds of success.
This is where the charitable sector comes in, because as an expression of voluntary community activism it provides a barometer of what together we think matters. Citizens start charities and fund them according to what they think is the greatest need or the causes most deserving of help.
Our response was written by Jeremy Caddick. Jeremy was the MP Candidate for Cambridge in the 2019 General Election. He has lived in Cambridge for more than 25 years and is the Dean and Chaplain at one of the Colleges in Cambridge University. He campaigns for the University to cut its links with fossil fuel companies.
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