The Diary – Where do we begin on a round-up of 2020?

Our editor Richard Fidler looks back on a tricky year – and ahead to a positive 2021

As would be traditional in an end of year column, we’d look back on the highs and the lows of the past 12 months and have a little chuckle at some of the out of the ordinary stuff that’s gone on.

But for 2020, the topics of discussion are kind of dominated by you know what.

If we start at the beginning then the year looked to be on course to be a great one. Politically the major issues of the day appeared to be settled.

Brexit had finally happened – although there was to be 12 months of intense talks to map out the future relationship between the UK and the EU – and Boris Johnson had won a landslide General Election to provide stability in parliament.

So far, so good.

And then the world changed. As we enter the final month of 2020, can we start to ask whether it will be different forever?

The simple answer to that is probably, yes. But that is on the basis that the world and the way we interact is forever altering. COVID is the latest thing – a big thing admittedly – that has come to test us.

I’d like to think that once we truly understand the virus we’ll be able deal with it as we do with other viruses that circulate through society.

What has not changed though, is the way that politicians and the mainstream media have colluded to make a bad situation a thousand times worse.

Politicians seem to work from the basis that ‘something has to be done’ regardless of whether all the evidence suggests that actually, no, a virus cannot be controlled and doesn’t know what times the pubs shut or whether you are standing or seated.

Egged on by doomsayers from the media, the politicians have endlessly supported crippling measures which have seen large parts of the business community brought to their knees and debt piled up that our children and grandchildren will be paying off for the rest of their lives.

Businesses, on the other hand, have been creative, agile, hard-working and forward-thinking to try and keep the wheels of the economy turning. I salute every single person out there who has endured the toughest of years.

Here’s to a happy and healthy Christmas and a more positive 2021. 

Best wishes to retiring chairman

Elsewhere in these pages is news that Graham Moore, the long-time chairman of Westfield Health, is to retire.

I just wanted to pass on my own best wishes to Graham as he hopefully enters a long period away from the stresses and strains of business.

Although never working directly for Graham, he has had a not insignificant indirect influence on my career through being involved in many projects that Westfield Health were keen supporters of.

The Westfield name is well-known and admired across South Yorkshire and it is down to Graham’s leadership, along with his team at Westfield House, that it is prospering into its second century.