Like everyone, I have been horrified at the scenes from Afghanistan in recent weeks and months.
Rampant wildfires in America; hundreds killed by extreme floods in Germany and China; and here, in the UK, the Met Office issued its first ever extreme heat warning.
Adult social care has been pushed to the bottom of the agenda for too long and the consequences are clearer than ever before.
Among the many coronavirus challenges local government faced in the past year, ensuring that democracy continued to function turned out to be one of the simplest.
The horrific murder of Sarah Everard brought national attention to the issue of women’s safety, which was further exacerbated by the police’s heavy-handed response to the peaceful vigil at Clapham Common.
Have we ever owed a bigger debt of thanks to the NHS than we do today?
Happy new year to everyone working in local government.
At the start of this crisis, everybody in local government heard the same message from the Chancellor – that councils should do “whatever it takes” to tackle coronavirus.
Although very low on the list of sacrifices that coronavirus has forced on people, I was sorry not to have my annual catch-up with local government friends and colleagues from across the UK at the Labour Party Conference.