HOPE and positivity are what will get us through the months ahead.

The crisis at our doors can bring out the best in society, shine a light on the good in our communities and lay the foundations for a better future, if we let it.

During my allotted daily exercise slot, I see rainbows in every tenement. Kids and (I presume) adults are filling windows with colourful rainbows as a sign of hope, positivity and thanks to the NHS and other frontline workers putting their lives on the line for us.

Back inside, watching shadows move across the room as another day slips by, we need that positivity.

The magnitude of this situation still isn’t clear and is all too easy to be overwhelmed by its scale.

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We can act in self-interest and close our eyes to community, or we can do the right thing. We try to stay positive, help each other out, get through the dark days together and never lose sight of the rainbow.

Panic buying aside, it appears that most have opted for the latter. Across the world, we are seeing that in times of crisis we choose not to follow the Hollywood narrative of panic and fear, but instinctively choose positivity and altruism.

We maintain a safe distance when in public, wash our hands constantly and remain inside to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. These measures are saving lives. You are doing this for others, people you don’t know, your community, your society, my asthmatic father and my pregnant sister.

Swathes of volunteers have come forward to help. Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK has groups across the UK to offer assistance to those most in need. Social media is awash with people offering to pick up food for those who are isolating and the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, launched Scotland Cares at the daily briefing on Sunday.

It was touching to hear the applause on Thursday night to thank NHS staff for their work.

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Despite people voting for a party who have, over the past decade, underfunded the NHS, abolished bursaries for NHS nurses, sold off parts of the service and increasingly spend taxpayers money on purchasing care from private providers, you imagine the acclamation to have been just as rapturous in Moray, Banff and Buchan, Dumfries and Galloway and the other constituencies represented by a Conservative MP.

As tributes are paid to Dr Amged El-Hawrani, the first frontline health worker to die from Covid-19 in the UK, we realise the severity of the situation and recognise the significance of the position so many in the NHS are putting themselves in.

The applause from doorsteps and windows across the country is a display of collective appreciation, but our true gratitude will only be demonstrated if we all act to ensure the NHS is properly staffed, funded and equipped. The outbreak of Covid-19 and the response to it demonstrates how connected we are, that we are a community, and it has put into pin-sharp focus what really matters to society.

It has also shown that the economic model that keeps the greasy cogs of neoliberalism turning has ground to a halt. Another recession (which was coming with or without Covid-19) and the prospect of more cuts and the continuation of the austerity years.

The stimulus package put in place by the UK Government is evidence that its decade of cuts, cost savings and degradation of services has been a complete and utter failure.

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Over a decade, resources have been stripped back, funding cut and contingency viewed as an unnecessary cost. We have spent a decade paying for these mistakes and if there isn’t significant change, we can expect to be paying for it all over again.

The egotism and vanity of politics is an obstruction to progress and in the aftermath of Covid-19, when we can go out again, when we are allowed to congregate, the catalyst for change should come from the communities across Scotland.

Last week, I wrote about being organised and seeing the value in community. It is this that can bring power to the grassroots and create change. We need to address the immediate challenges we are faced with but plan for a new future.

Until that time we have the rainbows, we have the positivity and we have our communities to get us through what will be a long summer of self-discipline.

If you are alone and disconnected then know that help is out there. A good place to start is your local Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group (www.covidmutualaid.org).

We are all aware of the gravity of the situation and, for most, we are reframing that severity into something positive.

Over the weekend Irvine Welsh tweeted: “Life won’t return to normal – it’ll be much, much better than that.” What’s apparent from the altruism we’ve witnessed is that there should be great hope for a better future.

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