In recent centuries humans have been disturbing the world’s natural habitats and wildlife – destroying forests, depleting fish stocks, burning fossil fuels, polluting our air. There are much fewer butterflies or insects and under many tress there is a dead undergrowth. Now we’ve disturbed the habitat of bats, which has led to several recent world pandemics – SARS, Mers, Ebola, Swine flu and now Covid-19. And this will continue, unless we all change our attitudes to selfishness and growth.
The world has trillions (yes not billion, trillion!) wealth in secret offshore accounts – what purpose is this money achieving? Meanwhile we have children starving. Things are totally out of balance. There were signs of reform after the war, but since the 80s inequalities have soared to unprecedented levels.
We need more answers from the UK government. Is Boris Johnson and his Brexiteer, inexperienced team, putting their ideologies before saving lives? If so, is this not criminal? Its been reported they ignored an EU scheme to bulk buy ventilators and now also several opportunities to bulk buy PPE through the EU. Two of my children work in the health service and I worry for their safety in these perilous times. We would not send troops into battle without the proper protections or equipment (or would we?).
Most of our carers are women – nurses, doctors, mothers, care homes, childcare, cleaners – I hope this isn’t part of the reason they are paid less then other jobs? Even our doctors UK are paid a lot less than doctors in other countries. Its time we valued their dedicated work by paying them better and not just by hand clapping.
Germany’s president Frank Walter Steinmeir, urged solidarity both domestically and internationally. He said Germany will only be strong and healthy after this crisis if its neighbours also emerge well. “This crisis is not a war but rather a test of our humanity.” By contrast the UK government uses war like language of a ‘Dunkirik spirit’ or ‘fighting enemies’. England appears to believe as an island through the war we are somehow uniquely special and protected and many here appear to be in shock. We only won the war through co-operating with other nations and without American equipment we would have been defeated. Trump may provide a highly unwelcome narrative, but in the States, its at the local level people make most decisions. The federal government only decides on federal roads, foreign policy. Each state has separate laws, taxes Etc.
I read Mark Franklands open letter to Nicola Sturgeon on his blog suggesting that world leaders consider a 90% tax on this €30 trillion hidden money, to help pay for the economic cost of this coronavirus. He suggests it should not be the poor that have to pick up the tab for the cost of this virus with taxes and cuts to services. London is the world’s capital of corruption, illegal money. Also UK government does nothing to protect indigenous business, as other countries do.
There are many debates on capitalism vs socialism – both are out-of-date with todays realities. We need both - as Sweden, Germany and other countries show. There is good and bad capitalism – it is good to base an economy on small businesses that manufacture or offer valuable services, that give an economy a solid base. What is not good, is to base an economy on the false roulette of financial markets and people sitting on London properties. I don’t want any kind of socialism either, with its central and often incompetent control of an economy. But I would like to see well-being policies of decent childcare, health service, education and infrastructure to support a diverse and innovative business sector.
Just last year young people took to the streets to begin the fight to save our planet, led by Greta Thunberg. It’s too late for empty words. I believe the only way forward is by small indy nations fighting back against the global elites! That’s why Scottish Independence matters so much. Its not about some notion of Scottishness, it s about how we are best governed and how our voices can be heard. Reformers have been fighting for this since Burns wrote, a Mans a Man for A That, against those who sell their souls for a pot of gold. In their fights against greed and selfishness. He also wrote – Parcel of Rogues and Tree of Liberty.
There are signs of hope – more people are cycling, more are reducing meat intake, more work at home, more people want to buy local. Its great to see families cycling on our quiet roads – is this the way forward? Any drugs or vaccines are only short term fixes, we must cure the source of these serious threats. More people die from air pollution, asthma and allergies than ever before. If this virus has taught us anything, its that we depend on each other. We must urgently save our planet to save our own lives. I look at my grandchildren’s young faces and I hope there will be signs of hope for their lives..