OPINION

Welcome back, Pride. We’ve missed you!

Posted On 07 Aug 2022 at 10:43 pm

The council is a little quiet at this time of year, with none of the main committees meeting in August and many councillors away on holiday with their families.

It’s been even quieter for me, since I caught a vicious bout of covid in July which I’m still struggling to fully recover from.

Like my first experience, it counts as “mild” since I wasn’t hospitalised. But it felt anything but mild to me – and much worse this time than the first – and to the many other people I know who’ve been struck down in the recent wave.

I’m thankful that numbers are apparently falling again now – across Brighton and Hove as well as most of England – but they are still pretty high.

And apparently the latest variants – BA4 and BA5 – are so contagious that you can catch them every four weeks as immunity wanes so quickly. I really don’t want that again!

I’m also thankful for that quieter August schedule and a chance to catch up on all the other work I’ve missed before council business really ramps up again from the start of September.

But, while the meetings diary on the council may be less hectic than usual, the city itself is of course rammed with visitors and staycationing residents alike during summer.

And this weekend I was thrilled to see Pride back in style after an enforced two-year pandemic absence.

Numbers were huge, the weather was brilliant and the parade was its fabulous, colourful, wonderful best, celebrating the delayed 30th anniversary of Brighton Pride and an incredible 50th anniversary since the first “unofficial” protest was held here.

Businesses across the city are also, I’m sure, delighted to have the huge influx of visitors back after the hard times of the last couple of years.

As well as being an event that we’re all incredibly, well, proud of, rooted as it has always been in the demand for equal rights and inclusiveness, it’s worth remembering that Pride brings a huge amount of money into our economy, vastly more than in any other single weekend of the year.

My own ward, Queen’s Park, includes St James’s Street, home to the Pride Village Party, and has been packed with revellers all weekend.

And with our city being home to so many independent businesses, it’s a win for the council’s community wealth building and circular economy policies too.

That’s because much of the money spent by our visitors stays local, rather than being sucked out again by extractive corporations. Welcome back, Pride. We missed you!

Councillor Amanda Evans is deputy leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.

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