One of the more memorable emails I received before Christmas was entitled “Dear 2020, It’s time you f****d off”. Now whilst most of us will sympathise with the pugnacious spirit of this missive, I’d like to think that with the benefit of a few weeks break, we can reflect on the upside of a slightly lower-key festive season. We’ve eaten less (the mini turkey barely made it through to Christmas tea-time), Aunty Clarice didn’t fall asleep in the linen cupboard (the Harveys Bristol Cream will be ready for her at Easter), and we didn’t catch hyperthermia waiting for the New Year fireworks. Our livers aren’t quite ready for medical research and going sober for January is a guilt-free optional extra. Boris’s Monday night dampener really shouldn’t distract us from the longer term landscape.
Be under no illusion, we’ve a lot to look forward to in planning and development over the next 12 months. The Government’s 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution has the potential to catapult us into the next stratosphere. Sustainability aficionados will no longer be tripped up in the dinner queue and have their ties cut, instead being lauded like rock stars, and hailed as change-makers. We’ve COP26 happening in our own backyard (or at least Glasgow’s) where through a combination of carrot (opportunity) and stick (Brexit) we’ve the focus and means to lead our way out of a Covid-inflicted trade deficit. We’ve R&D companies to accommodate, a car industry to rapidly convert and advise, a plethora of streetscapes to reimagine and provide infrastructure for, from green transport corridors to EV charging points. We’ve an entire country of town centres to rebuild and reposition. A commitment to housebuilding with an increased understanding that we should be planning for what people require to live well, and to lead healthy, balanced lives, and not simply treating housing need as a statistical conundrum.
Covid has pushed us into developing our personal confidence in embracing technology, to trust in our ability to adapt to rapid change, to back our ingenuity, adaptability, and resilience, and there’s every reason to take that forward in the way we work. We are going to be less tolerant of delays and obfuscation, because we’ve seen that when we are forced to react quickly, we can. We’re continuing to rub shoulders with something extremely unpleasant, and it reminds us to make the most of what we’ve got, to be positively inpatient, and to not put off until tomorrow what we can achieve today.
And of course, as Boris has reminded us, we’ll be working from home a fair bit more, for a fair bit longer. To help you through those pregnant pauses I’ve put together a musical playlist, cunningly titled Tier 4 Fears*. (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2OnYuicxqidcQvWgC6jHFd?si=QQVjK5yNSzuUBhxCPvVwVg). There’s something to embarrass every listener (or younger, cooler member of the household at the very least). Do feel free to add to it and share. And as importantly, keep your chin up.
* By rights, I should have changed the title, but for musical and confidence purposes I wasn’t ready to call it Five Star – All Fall Down…