As a conservative I am especially pleased by this government’s recent record on ensuring that our air clearer, our animals safer and our fields and seas more pristine.
After all, the countryside is one of the things that makes Britain great, and to be a conservative means, in Benjamin Disraeli’s words: ‘to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad.’ This applies to the environment as well and I sense a great determination in this government, and in particular by Michael Gove, to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation.
It is only natural in a democracy to have polite disagreements about political issues, even amongst close friends, family and work colleagues. On an epoch-defining issue such as Brexit this is not only expected but virtually compulsory for there to be an energetic national debate in order for a decision to have legitimacy – which is why I am so pleased that the decision to leave the EU was taken in a referendum by the people, not simply a vote in Parliament.
Nonetheless, I very much respect the views of those constituents, MPs and others who voted to remain because they sincerely back a different vision of the UK after Brexit.
A daily tea or coffee to-go has become part of the average work day for millions of Brits. Indeed, as a nation we go through an astonishing 2.5bn disposable paper cups a year! Even if you’re not an ardent environmentalist, it is still disconcerting to know that that less than 1% of them are recycled.
As I child I remember rushing about collecting dozens of glass bottles at the weekend to return them to the local pub to claim the cash for doing so. It seems to me that proper incentives are as important as public awareness when it comes to mass participation in recycling.
As a nation we’ve become pretty good at recognising major public safety hazards and tackling them over time. Smoking is a case in point with a gradual escalation of measures from Government and over 1.5 million people taking part in Stoptober since 2011. Combined with a permissive attitude to electronic vaping devices, more than 10 million people have stopped smoking, including myself and literally hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved.
Why then have we not been equally concerned about the dangers of loneliness and social isolation? A meta-study of over 180,000 people by the University of York in 2016 found that social isolation was associated with a 29% higher risk of a heart attack and a 32% higher risk of a stroke – comparable to the effects of smoking or obesity.
From 13th January 2018 the government will be making an important change to banking that I would urge everyone to take advantage of it if they can.
For over a year the government has been working on a step-change banking reform to aide consumers in switching banks.