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OPINION: Light at the end of the tunnel at the end of a year most are glad to wave goodbye

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MSP Rhoda Grant.
MSP Rhoda Grant.

I admit that at this time of the year I feel a bit sentimental. While looking forward to the New Year I have always been a bit sentimental about saying goodbye to the old year.

A time to look back and think about the good things that happened and bidding it goodbye with a little sadness. That won’t be the case this year.

I will wish it goodbye with a very big cheer. I don’t think I will be alone.

It has been a very difficult year and I feel blessed compared to many. I have continued to work both from home and the Parliament. I have, so far, kept well. And yet, I feel this year has lacked in the fun and social contact that is so important in life.

So, this year, we have had more reason to celebrate New Year than most. But we must do that very differently.

The decision to change the Christmas regulations came as a bitter blow to many who had hoped to see loved ones. The Scottish Government must demonstrate that the new restrictions are based on public health advice and solid evidence, otherwise they risk non-compliance.

It will be tough not to spend it with family and friends, but we must also remember that we celebrate differently with the knowledge that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that next year will be different.

We also must remember if we are only missing loved-ones because we cannot meet them we have not done so badly in all of this. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and while they also look forward to a vaccine to give them more freedom, life will never be the same.

It is hard to be patient, but we must be. Revel in bringing in this New Year differently knowing that the end of this terrible time is in sight.

And while there is little to celebrate about 2020, we need to commend those that stepped up to the plate during the pandemic, showed us the very best of our community spirit. People who helped friends and neighbours. Communities that came together to protect the most vulnerable.

I am incredibly proud of those who did this. It takes the worst of times to show us the best of people.

I am disappointed that the Scottish Government did not recognise all front-line workers with their £500 payment and that those on the front line, who are low paid, have not had this added to their pay as a permanent increase.

It is high-time the frontline workers who risk their lives throughout the pandemic are recognised through their pay and status.

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