Next week we will look ahead to 2023, but before we do so, it is important to reflect on the events of the past year.
Even those who oppose a monarchy recognised that for over seven decades, our Sovereign was a model of dignity, public service and consistent values.
Few people would use those words to describe the Conservative Government, which has given us another year of chaos and uncertainty, where statements made by Ministers repeatedly turned out to be unreliable because the Minister performed a U-turn, or quit, or was fired, or simply turned out to have been telling lies in the first place.
The year began with a by-election to replace an MP who quit Parliament in disgrace, but only after the Prime Minister had tried to change the Ministerial Code of Conduct to protect him.
In the spring, our farmers were hit with major increases in the cost of fuel, feed and fertiliser caused by the war in Ukraine.
But instead of helping them in their hour of need, the Conservative Government actually increased uncertainty by phasing out the Basic Payment Scheme before confirming what will replace it.
There are even rumours that the new scheme could be scrapped altogether.
In the summer we were hit by a record-breaking heatwave and in December we had an extreme cold snap, but the Government’s climate and energy strategies are all over the place: At various times this year, they have been both for and against insulation and heat pumps; for and against solar panels and wind turbines; for and against new nuclear power stations; and for and against new coal mines and fracking.
The Government has promised changes to taxation and planning permission for holiday homes, and an end to “no-fault evictions” for private-sector tenants, but none of these changes have actually happened yet, and the housing crisis in Cornwall goes from bad to worse.
Cornwall has experienced the worst ambulance response times and the longest hospital delays in the whole country as up to 300 hospital beds were blocked by Cornwall Council’s failure to find care packages for frail patients.
It’s blindingly obvious that we will not be able to fill Cornwall’s 1,400 social care vacancies if we don’t pay higher wages, yet the leader of the council refused to even ask the Health Secretary to provide more funding to make this possible.
But perhaps the most alarming sight of 2022 has been the number of Conservative councillors and MPs who have blindly agreed with whatever the Government says, even when it’s exactly the opposite of whatever they said yesterday…