End of year reflections…

As we draw to the end of an incredibly challenging year for all of us I am conscious of the need to not poke too hard this week. For many, today marks the end of a difficult, tough and unrelenting year. I have to admit to crawling to the finish line and am looking forward to the pyschological reset that 2021 will bring…

I look back on 2020 with mixed emotions. I feel that the appetite for more inclusive practice and social justice is probably the highest it has been in my lifetime. I have had more powerful conversations about equity, diversity and inclusion this year than in all the previous years of my career. And yet, there is a equally powerful sense that making this societal shift feels somehow more demanding.

The language of privilege and fragility are important but they can often be ‘weaponised’ and used to stoke resentment and condemnation especially when positioned unhelpfully out of context. There are many individuals who seek to preserve the status quo and also have positions of influence and power. It is really important that we unite next year to continue the work we have started and campaign for a fairer, more equitable society. However, to do so will mean seeking to understand people with opposite opinions to our own. We need to understand their concerns and perspectives if we hope to build their empathy for our aspirations. Equity is not about putting other people down but about lifting everyone up.

The principle of ‘levelling up’ could be so much more than a political buzzword. In the same way as I feel we need to reclaim the word ‘woke’ and own it with pride I wonder if in 2021 we could hijack the ‘levelling up’ agenda? At present there is a distinct lack of clarity about what it really means. Is it economic short hand for ensuring that the gulf between London and the rest of the UK doesn’t widen any further and actually begins to close. Or could it mean the creation of a true level playing field for people across Britain…

In this post I’ll confess that I am ending 2020 feeling a little bit tired but that’s nothing a couple of weeks’ rest won’t fix. Then I’ll be back, with my weight firmly on my front foot, seeking to create a just, fair and equitable society for all.

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