EVEN though Theresa May must feel that hers is the loneliest job in Britain as she tries to square the Brexit circle, she should derive comfort from the way in which she has helped to advance the loneliness policy agenda.
For, while politicians were bickering over Brexit, Mrs May was at a community centre in south London serving cups of tea alongside Kim Leadbeater, the sister of murdered Yorkshire MP Jo Cox.
And, while this gathering took place in the shadow of Parliament, it epitomised why Mrs May, a vicar’s daughter, and so many others, went into politics in the first place – to make a positive difference.
Perhaps more politicians should remember this. Although it was the late Mrs Cox who first highlighted the human impact of social isolation, the Prime Minister has supported, and encouraged, initiatives set up in memory of the former Batley & Spen MP.
The culmination is the first loneliness strategy which will see GPs able to refer people to social activities – the belief is that this inter-action could be more beneficial than prescriptions – and postal workers in Whitby helping to pilot a scheme that will see them check up on elderly people.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister has put the onus on specific departments to put the issue of loneliness at the centre of future policy-making – recognition, in the Department for Transport’s case, that reliable rail and bus services are important to non-commuters as well.
Yet, while Mrs May singled out this newspaper’s Loneliness campaign for “making strides towards ending this social injustice” and “highlighting the incredible work by local charities, networks and individuals”, The Yorkshire Post, in turn, is grateful for the PM’s support – and the difference that can be made to the lives of individuals on those occasions when Ministers do work with their opponents, and local groups, for the greater good.