From Paul Maynard MP <[email protected]>
Subject Paul Maynard MP's Letter from Westminster
Date February 16, 2021 10:07 AM
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
Read my latest Parliamentary update

** The good not done, the love not given, time torn off unused.
(from Philip Larkin’s poem Aubade)

Larkin can be relied upon to be a miserable poet, and Aubade is not exactly uplifting (so don’t google it!) but this line has always struck me – since I did Larkin for A-Level – as reminding me of the importance of making every day count. When surrounded by the suffering and loss of covid, it reminds us that each of us can consider those three elements above as we judge how best to make use of each day.

Hope can be the cruellest emotion, as it seems to be the most easily snuffed out. So as we squint out of our windows thinking to lighter, warmer, sunnier days ahead, we can be forgiven for doing so nervous our previous hopes of returns to normality have not lasted as long as they might.

Government’s task is to achieve a number of things well at the same time – not in sequence, one after the other, but at the same time. Maintain the successful vaccination programme so that we continue to focus on those at most risk of hospitalisation and serious illness, and deviating from that only if we can justify why others should be moved further down the queue as a consequence.

Locally, our vaccination programme has gone smoothly. There have been teething problems – long queues at the Winter Gardens in the cold, for example – but action was swiftly taken to address the problem. Having visited a vaccination centre, I was struck by the dedication of staff and volunteers alike, as well as the smoothness of the overall process. I am getting very few emails now from people concerned they have not yet had their invite – but if anyone out there believes they have missed out, or was unable to take up an initial offer, then either call 119 or go via [link removed].

Government’s second task and just as tricky is to plot a route map out of our current lockdown. Once again, it has to balance a number of competing concerns. Any lockdown only works if people obey it – and that requires a mix of carrot and stick, as we have seen, with a balance between the two all but unachievable. I believe many realise the emergence of the now dominant new variant changed the nature of the challenge at the start of the year. But as vaccines progress, case numbers fall sharply, and both hospital occupancy and deaths are starting to trend downwards, then voices calling for a rapid reopening will only grow.

So the publication of the route map on 22 February is important. We should not expect great detail – I believe it will contain ‘indicative dates’ for differing activities. And remember Easter is early this year so not a helpful ‘yardstick’ for progress. We know the aim is to open primary schools by March 8^th. We know not everything will reopen at the same time – and whilst we may follow previous patterns, with areas like non-essential retail being amongst the first to restart – we should also bear in mind that protocols have been worked out with sectors that weren’t in place last time, so things may move quicker in some areas than previously. Pubs and restaurants might be ‘outside only’ for a while – let’s hope for a mild spring. This lockdown has not occurred during a heatwave like last time – so I hope there will be a quicker ability to get out and about to exercise in the open air with others where safe to do so.

Perhaps critically, we will also want to be able to see friends and families again, and will be hoping that rules on household mixing can be relaxed. Scientists vary on their views, and the most pessimistic always seem to hit the news, but the overall principle of maximising freedoms without compromising safety appears to be the right balance to strike. As more of us are vaccinated, both in the UK and around the world, we will start to then feel more confident (and encouraged) to make more concrete plans for travel within and without the UK.

Blackpool itself has already started planning for how to make the most of the coming summer and autumn, and I recently met with the Tourism Recovery Group who represent the major parts of the visitor economy. Unsurprisingly, they want the same sort of clarity about the future rules as we all do so they can start planning. You can’t just reopen the Tower at half an hour’s notice, after all.

And restarting our economy matters because it is as much a health issue as an economic one. Studies such as Prof Sir Michael Marmot’s review have shown the long-term ‘scarring’ effect on health of periods of economic downturn. What they term ‘quality adjusted life years’ (i.e. the number of years you can live actively with good health) drops sharply for those who struggle for a long period to get back into work during a recession. This will be yet another health legacy of covid that we will face.

In the meantime, focusing on how we best structure our benefits system to support those who have been impacted however temporarily (or may still find themselves impacted whenever the furlough ends) is thus crucial in Blackpool. I have been vocal on a national level about the importance of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit, but also expressing concerns that we cannot just focus on that single measure as though it solves every issue. I wrote an article just a couple of days ago on this for Conservative Home which readers may like to view at [link removed] which I hope is of interest.

I also presented a 10 Minute Rule Bill to Parliament the week before about Local Welfare Assistance Schemes. Explaining what a 10 Minute Rule Bill is and what I argued would probably take a whole separate Letter from Westminster. But, in short, it’s a parliamentary device to be able to speak for 10 minutes about an issue in a ‘main slot’ during the parliamentary day.

Once again, [link removed](Review) will allow you to read it all and save the word count here – but in essence, I’m arguing we need to do much more to ensure that where money is spent to support those who face worrying financial circumstances, we need to ensure that that help is about solving underlying problems as much as addressing the symptoms.

It’s a good example of how politics as normal in Westminster continues, even if I sat staring down my computer’s camera as I looked out over Bispham from my back window. Letter from Westminster? Well, it hasn’t been for a while – but maybe soon it will be once more.

On a lighter note, I always take pleasure in spotting constituents when they write into the Times, or stories about Blackpool or Cleveleys Past appear. There was a wonderful little vignette in the Times about the A585 – a road many of us spend too much time on – but the next time you drive along, you can have a think about George Formby:
Senior moment

Tuesday’s archive extract from 100 years ago was an obituary headlined, “Death of George Formby ([link removed]) ”. This puzzled readers who remembered the ukulele-playing window cleaner who entertained troops during the Second World War. Some wrote to Feedback demanding a correction, others presumably resorted to Wikipedia, as I did, and found out that the George Formby they were thinking of had a father of the same name who, in his day, was almost as famous. A music hall singer and comedian known as the Wigan nightingale, Formby Sr caught flu in the 1918 pandemic and succumbed to the TB he had made part of his act — “It’s not the cough that carries you off, it’s the coffin they carries you off in” — in 1921 at the age of 45. His obituary recorded that “his humour was often crude and always simple, but it was true humour and invariably clean”.
Formby Jr was well remembered by James Marquis, who wrote, “I am 90 years old and met Mr Formby in 1938 on the road between Singleton and Kirkham taking his motorbike to a garage in Preston, Lancashire. In those days he lived with his wife Beryl in a large property called Beryldene. After the war I again met him at a veteran car rally at Freckleton, Lancs, very much alive! I remember him with affection.”

As it happens, George Formby wasn’t the real name of father nor son. Their surname was Booth.

The ’famous’ Beryldene was in Fairhaven (so he would hardly have been riding between Singleton and Kirkham) and only purchased from famous tenor Joseph Locke in the early fifties, but there was an earlier Beryldene on the Mains Lane part of the A585 where he lived during the war. Anyway, something to dwell on for a few seconds!

Please continue to take care, prioritise your safety of yourself and those around you, and never forget that an ounce of kindness or patience in these times can make all the difference.

Paul Maynard MP
01253 473071

I would like to join the virtual evening with Lord Tebbit on Friday 19th February at 1800 on Zoom ([link removed])

** Facebook ([link removed])
** Twitter ([link removed])
** Link ([link removed])
** Website ([link removed])
Copyright © 2021 Paul Maynard MP, All rights reserved.
By signing up to be kept informed of what your MP does or providing Paul or the Conservative Party with your email address

Our mailing address is:
Paul Maynard MP
Faraday Way
Blackpool, Lancashire FY2 0JW
United Kingdom
Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can ** update your preferences ([link removed])
or ** unsubscribe from this list ([link removed])
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
[link removed]
Screenshot of the email generated on import

Message Analysis