Constantine Cornwall

Cornwall Councillor for Constantine, Mawnan and Budock, John Bastin, reflects on 2020

Who would have thought as we sat in the February 2020 Farmers Market that we were about to be thrown into a world more akin to a Science Fiction drama?

Cornwall Council responded to the ensuing first lockdown with a fast reorganisation that saw both Staff and Councillors working from home. With the second and third wave this is still the situation but now a normal programme of meetings carries on in the virtual world of Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Although strange at first, there are now clear protocols to allow democracy to be seen to be done. That said however, this method of communication does put pressure on all participants to be open and transparent just as they would be in a face-to-face situation.

All these council meetings are live streamed so that anyone in the public can watch what is said and voted on. Voting takes place by means of a ‘roll call’ where each committee member responds with a For, Against or Abstain.

My role has had its challenges locally, the main difficulty is meeting with people, (my wife is on the Shielding list) however the use of the telephone and e-mail has still provided a clear pathway for communication. Interestingly this is also the case with Council officers who as previously mentioned are working from home. I have nothing but praise for the help and support I still get even though it may take just that little bit longer.

I have also been able to work with the Parish Council and offer support where needed.

Praise is also needed for the village and surrounding area itself, so many have risen to the challenge of social isolation, and loneliness. The way which people took up the challenge and made food and medication deliveries to those who were forced to ‘isolate’ because they were vulnerable, was beyond belief. I did put some money from my community chest into these groups to help make these efforts easier. I still have some Covid support money available, all you have do is ask.

We are now in a third Lockdown, if we are to ever return to whatever a new normal looks like it is vital that we all “play the game” and follow government and local advice.

The promise of a vaccine does a least offer hope but even then, I do not think we will see much evidence of infection reduction until around Easter.

So, what of the future?

It is difficult to say how long this pandemic will go on, even with the hope of a vaccine. The so called ‘New Normal’ does however offer us the opportunity to rethink how we do things and at the same time remember that the challenge of Climate Change has not gone away. Climate Change has sadly been eclipsed by our current situation but still has the potential to offer greater global devastation than the CV-19 pandemic.

Cornwall Council is reviewing the way it works, it has been realised that locally driven action works best for local people. It has been also realised that Council staff working in their own localities have an incredibly significant impact on the Council’s Carbon Footprint.

Please remember that I am always willing to help you where I can.

My contact number is 01326 368455 or e-mail john.bastin@cornwallcouncillors.org.uk

Best wishes for a Happier New Year.

John Bastin Cornwall Councillor