A week where the grief suffered by so many families, as the daily death toll breaks new records for the most tragic of reasons, is at such variance with the stoicism shown by elderly people braving snow, and their health, to be vaccinated.
An extreme of emotions that will continue to be experienced for days and weeks to come, it is the quiet dignity and forbearance being shown by the vast majority of people that will help Britain to survive its greatest challenge since the Second World War.
Despite the difficulties, the timeless example still being set by the wartime generation, making sure they turn up promptly at Covid vaccine centres and following the rules to the letter, offers hope that the national spirit of unity, and which so defined the initial response to the pandemic, will still prevail.
And it is in that spirit that Tony Blair has written an opinion column for The Yorkshire Post, and sister titles, on the Government’s vaccines strategy, including a greater role for local pharmacies, and how five million people a week could, potentially, be protected from March with greater foresight over logistics.
This is not to belittle the efforts of Boris Johnson. Quite the opposite. Mr Blair accepts this is the “biggest challenge” to face Britain in his lifetime. But he’s one of five former premiers who will have an appreciation, even sympathy, for the current Prime Minister at such a daunting moment.
And it has always been an oddity of politics that PMs have not utilised the counsel of their predecessors more frequently for fear of looking weak. In fact, the opposite should be true.
It would actually be an act of strength because, as Mr Blair writes in this instance, Britain owes it to the families mourning loved ones, and the NHS staff, to “get the vaccine rollout right” because it “is our way out of this crisis”.
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