By Stuart Clark |
WHAT COVID-19 DID THAT GLOBAL WARMING HAD FAILED TO DO.
The initial shock of how serious this Pandemic could be, has now worn off, and although a few have never taken it seriously and some just want it to be over and return to their previous life, millions around the world, understand, that not only is it not over, but subsequent waves could follow, as well as consequential poverty, hunger and, potentially conflict.
There is a growing comprehension that what has happened with the pandemic could be much worse. It has kicked in a human survival instinct and a new insight into what populations and governments are willing to do, when they must.
And for those who still do not believe the peril humanity is in because of global warming, the fresh air, and clear skies in our cities is at least making them listen to the warnings.
OVERCOMING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – THE VACCINE.
There are around 80 facilities across the world working on a Vaccine and although governments will be implementing various approaches to the lockdown and reopening of economies and societies, there is a clear understanding that only mass vaccination can eradicate the virus completely.
In the UK, Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, is leading a team with one of the best chances of creating a vaccine by the end of Autumn. Her focus and clarity have been welcomed by citizens across the world. She has provided real hope where politicians have failed. But she is clear that although they can create a vaccine they do not, and we do not, in the UK, have the capacity to produce the quantities needed to carry out the mass vaccination programmes that are crucial. In Europe, we must look to Belgium, France and Germany to do that.
In order to deliver mass testing in populations, governments must engage with business as they don’t have the capacity to do this on their own. That same engagement can then be used for delivering a vaccine. It would be wrong for governments to rely on apps for contact tracing which many will do.
IS GLOBAL CO-OPERATION POSSIBLE?
The cooperation and collaboration that has taken place across the scientific community has been inspiring and instructive to governments, business and industry. The results that can be achieved when working together, instead of in competition with each other is being recognised by many.
The EU now understands that their current system of intergovernmentalism fails when national leaders who hold the power have to make decisions in a national context which is ultimately where their accountability lies, leaving the EU leaders looking powerless and slow to respond. Later efforts to address this have failed to alleviate the growing perception that European solidarity in economic terms, cannot be relied on.
In the same light, the UN and its institutions are unable to perform, because of the reliance on National government leaders. They lack clear mandates, and veto power of the five permanent members of the UN security council often renders it toothless.
At the recent Seminar of the ERBD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) Gordon Brown spoke about international cooperation being key to tackling the ensuing global economic crisis. This kind of cooperation is not only possible, it is vital, and we must support it, as governments themselves will run out of money without this coordinated global approach from world banks.
FEDERAL STRUCTURED GOVERNMENT – A MORE STABLE FUTURE
All around the world we have seen the necessity for Federalist government structures. Most notably in Europe. The European Union must transform itself into the Federal Europe that was envisioned by Churchill and others following the second world war, and if it proves unreformable, then we must start again. Creating a Eurozone which included member states who were not ready to join prevented others from joining, and ultimately proved catastrophic for those who were not ready. Eurobonds are now the only way out, but at what cost. To many Europeans the EU has become an issuer of regulations, too easily dismissed, and used as a scapegoat for national government failings instead of the key component and backbone it should be to all national governments. The Federal Government should be as well understood and recognised as the local council.
In Britain now, the call for a federal structure is getting louder as it would’ve been able to deal with the pandemic in a faster more appropriate way according to region and would have left the federal government more able to focus on coordinating resources and liaising with European and global bodies, which the current governing system has failed to do. This government is widely seen as the Government of England with hierarchical authority over the other home nations. This situation is surely no longer tenable or desirable to the UK population.
LESSONS LEARNT FROM POOR AND GOOD LEADERSHIP
The overriding differences for all to see between the recognised good leadership of New Zealand, South Korea and Germany and the poor leadership of UK, USA and Brasil, (leaving aside the Male vs Female debate) are:
The good leaders have: A primary concern for the well-being of the populations of the country they serve. A clear and well communicated strategy. A willingness to take advice from experts to be informed, and then make decisions and deliver clear policy and be accountable for their actions and decisions.
The poor leaders have: A primary concern for their image, their legacy and their re-election. And either believe they are expert, or blame experts for giving wrong advice. They are poor in their ability to process expert advice, recognise it, evaluate it. Boris Johnson’s best attribute is that he is not Trump or Bolsonaro.
It is in times of crisis, that these traits may become more obvious, but they should be recognised for what they are, an amplification of their normal behaviour. An ability to deliver a speech is worthless if you cannot communicate. This must be remembered at the ballot box – if these poor leaders make it that far.
MANIPULATION OF NATIONAL POPULATIONS OUR GREATEST ENEMY
Populists will only thrive where there are sections of the press and media which are not free or are owned by those who will support them. How to tackle this while not curtailing free speech, is perhaps one of the greatest challenges, as the failure to succeed in this will have dyer consequences for our subsequent battles against global warning
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS ONLY THE FIRST HURDLE IN THE RACE TO SAVE THE PLANET
The way governments and societies now tackle the economic repercussions of Covid-19 and adjust to a new way of living will set to course for how we will tackle the climate crisis. Only global solutions and global governance work. The tendency is always for the rest of the world to press on excluding those countries and try to ignore or work around the populist leaders and hope they disappear before irreputable damage is done. Or is it better to pander to their narcissistic tendencies, engage with them to limit the damage, but risk prolonging their stay in power?
It is up to us and our governments to continue to put saving lives at the top of our agendas. The situations that developing nations now face economically is severe and we must as a global community put as much effort into supporting them as we have in overcoming the Pandemic itself.
Stuart Clark, Editor, UK
Stuart Clark is currently, board member and Nominations officer for the Federalist Party
He was leader of the UK section of the European Federalist Party 2013-2016. He is active with Alliance Europa, and also the Federal Union in UK. As well as promoting Federalism, Stuart also campaigns for constitutional reform and electoral reform. He stood for Council Election in Lambeth in 2018. Stuart works for a global ticketing company and is based in London and Cornwall.