Voices in Politics: Cherilyn Mackrory on the impact of COVID-19 in Cornwall

Cherilyn, MP for Truro and Falmouth, discusses the importance of coming together when facing the coronavirus pandemic

By Cherilyn Mackrory |

| David Woolfall/Wikimedia Commons

There is an old proverb that says ‘may you live in interesting times’. I’ll leave it to the reader to determine what you should view ‘interesting’ as a substitute for.

Since my election in December we have certainly had interesting times in Truro and Falmouth.

First, we had the momentous passing of Brexit which, like it or not, will bring about significant change for the UK.

I was expecting the ongoing Brexit talks and the levelling up agenda to dominate business in Parliament for the rest of the year.  Instead we find ourselves in a completely different and unprecedented situation, a literal life and death struggle with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Our country’s fightback against the virus has brought about massive and sweeping changes across society that would have been undreamt of in ‘normal times’.

Changes on every level, from new words and phrases that most of us had never heard of previously – ‘social-distancing’, ‘self-isolation’ and ‘furloughing’, to momentous policy changes restricting movement and business with the sadly necessary lockdown changes.

These changes include massive cash injections from the Government in support for businesses and for our NHS and packages to assist our farming and fishing industries, all essential to help keep our country running during this crisis. 

Even our ‘Mother of all Parliaments’ is working remotely for the first time, with MPs logging on from home instead of having to go to Parliament itself to participate in Parliamentary business.

Everything listed above are sweeping policy changes or issues that have impacted across the UK.

In Cornwall and in Truro and Falmouth what I have also seen are the positives that have emerged from this crisis.  By necessity our communities have come together to support those who need it; the most vulnerable in our society, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

We have seen communities grow stronger, become more resilient

Many people have continued going to work as Keyworkers, all doing vital stuff that keeps people safe and well. But we have also seen, almost as soon as the measures were announced, groups of grass roots community volunteers coming together, with countless stories of people for no reward helping in their communities to make sure no one is left behind. 

This to me has been the positive from this crisis. We have seen communities grow stronger, become more resilient, even at a time where people are unable to physically be close because of the social distancing measures. We see it in the volunteer networks, in the clapping for carers that takes place across the country every Thursday and in the many small acts of kindness from neighbours to one another. If there is one positive consequence of this pandemic that we can take forward into the future I hope it is that we retain this sense of community togetherness.

Cornwall’s moto has always been ‘Onen Hag Oll’ – One and All, and the way we have come together as a community during this dark time has shown that this continues to be so, then now and forever.