A senior Senedd member has spoken about gaining an insight into loneliness after experiencing it herself during lockdown.
Angela Burns has talked about the personal impact of the pandemic in a new ITV Cymru Wales podcast where she revealed she isolated from her family to help her parents.
The Conservative MS told Political Editor Adrian Masters how she spent time away from her husband and daughters in order to support her parents who were shielding.
Angela Burns said: “It’s been a really salutary lesson because we talk a lot in the Senedd about loneliness and isolation and I really have had a taste of it."
She added: "My sister and I had to tic-tac-toe to go in and support them because we didn’t want them to be left on their own without any support. So I had to stay away from the kids in order to protect my parents and to a smaller degree myself. Years ago I had sepsis and have been left with a couple of issues since. So yes, it was a lonely lockdown. I'm glad it’s abated for a while.”
Also taking part in the ITV Wales podcast - The New Normal with Adrian Masters - is Cardiff Councillor Dan De’Ath. A Labour councillor, he has occupied the non-political role of Lord Mayor rather longer than he anticipated.
He hit the headlines when he called for the statue of slave trader Thomas Picton to be removed from Cardiff’s City Hall. But he tells the podcast that “meaningful structural change” is the most important thing that needs to happen to tackle racism.
He said: “It is important that the Picton statue is removed but it’s really important that the whole conversation around Black Lives Matter doesn’t get sucked into the culture wars because it’s not about what you can and can’t say or statues… It's about the material lived realities of black people, it’s about their place in the economy, it’s about how very, very hard if not impossible it is for many people to rise above the circumstances of their birth.”
Dan De’Ath said he will not rule out standing for the Senedd or the UK Parliament: “Now’s the time for new fresh people particularly non-white people to step forward and try and make a contribution to political and civic life. I wouldn’t rule it out. But we’ll have to wait and see.”
Listen to the episode here:
This is the first episode in a new podcast series - The New Normal with Adrian Masters. During the podcast, Adrian and his guests will be discussing politics in a time when we are all getting used to a new way of doing things.
The podcast producer, Ciara Cohen-Ennis explained: “The idea came from interviewing people via video calls during the pandemic and talking about things we’d never usually discuss: our physical and mental health, our families, how we were adapting - opening up in a different way to usual pre- and post- interview chat.”
Adrian said: “These podcasts aim to capture some of that and I’ve been astonished at how willing my guests have been to talk about their difficult experiences, anxieties and fears for the future as well as the good or surprising aspects of lockdown life.
“Some of my guests will have been making the decisions that are affecting us all so as well as challenging them on those decisions, I’ll ask them about what it was like making them. Those who’ve been criticising and challenging the same decisions will get a chance to explain why they came to their alternative views."
Adrian added: “It’s also meant to be a space for listening, a chance for me and my guests to hear views outside comfort zones and learn from others. That’s why I’ll be asking them all this question: ‘What are we missing?’ What are we not talking about because our attention is, rightly, focussed on the coronavirus crisis? In the editions we’ve recorded so far there have been some surprising answers."
The New Normal with Adrian Masters is available wherever you usually get your podcasts. Future episodes will cover the environment, the debate around Welsh Independence, Black Lives Matter and more.