I’ll be at the front door again tonight at 8.00 pm, banging my tray, joining everyone else in my village and around the country, thanking our NHS workers for their amazing efforts in the national fight against Covid-19. After the last ten years, when successive (Conservative – just saying) governments, elected by you, not me, have slashed funding, it must be considerable relief to them that they realise that we do, after all, value them.

It’s also been good to see NHS staff get priority shopping slots at supermarkets, plus free drinks from some restaurants and I noticed tonight free window cleaning. Hopefully, they are also getting the PPEs they need, too, not to mention proper testing and free parking. What a shame it has taken the worst peacetime crisis ever to enable these things to happen.

Long may this proper treatment continue for our real heroes. Never again should we allow the NHS to wither on the vine, underfunded and understaffed. If we learn one useful thing from Covid-19, I hope it’s this. But what about other workers?

In my little part time job, from which I have been furloughed, I meet all manner of care workers. They have been regarded by governments as being low-skilled and in the case of foreign carers, not required. Yet I have seen the care they deliver, the incredible professionalism they display day in, day out, to people who have almost nothing. People who without carers would be alone all the time, never seeing another soul. I’ll be thinking of and thanking the carers when I join the national applause tonight.

I’ll be thanking all NHS staff, not just doctors and nurses because without them, nothing else would work. I’ll be thanking DWP staff, currently working massive long days with something like 50% of staff at home, self-isolating, being ill or unable to obtain childcare. I’ll be thanking our other emergency workers in the Fire Service and the Police. I’ll be thanking supermarket staff and those working in garages and petrol stations. I’ll be thanking each and every one of you for what you are doing to try to keep us safe.

When this is all over, I hope we will have all have learned the value of service, not just the social value we place in their efforts, but in how they are rewarded. Why is it acceptable to pay someone the national minimum wage for caring for those who cannot care for themselves? We seem to content to live in a country where the very rich pay themselves fortunes, in a country where professional footballers earn in a week what others earn in decades. We do not want absolute equality, of course we don’t. We want fairness, we want those who do so much to keep our society civilised to rewarded fairly.

The NHS represents the very best of us. It is our greatest national asset. No more should be allow sharks like Richard Branson to look to make a few bob from the NHS, especially at a time the multibillionaire is begging the government for a bail-out of taxpayer’s money. The NHS is there to make people better, not for businesses to make money. And social care should be exactly the same.