Sunday, 27 September 2020

Harrow Voice Debate (2) – What Should We Make Of The Coronavirus?

Coronavirus. Where did it come from and how did it travel to the four corners of the earth in such a short period of time? Is it just another form of flu – if not, how does it differ? And why are governments talking about introducing drastic measures to counter it?

WHAT SHOULD we make of the Coronavirus? Where did it spring from – and by what means – and how did it travel to the four corners of the earth in such a short period of time?

These are just some of the questions that people are asking since the outbreak began in China and then spread rapidly into Europe, North America and the Middle East.

It’s generally accepted that the Cronoavirus (Covid-19) originated in late September in the Huanan Seafood Wholesales Market in city of Wuhan. Wuham is the capital of Hubei province in Central China. Huanan Seafood Wholesales Market is also sometimes described as a ‘wet market’ – and it’s where live animals such as bats, snakes, rabbit and birds are said to be illegally sold

To give an idea of scale, the population of Wuhan’s metropolitan area is 19 million whilst the population of Hubei province – in 2015 – was 58,500,000. Wuhan serves as a major transport hub and the political, cultural, and economic hub of Central China – which could explain why the virus travelled so fast within China – and Hubei is known as the ‘Land of Fish and Rice’.

It also seems to be clear that Northern Italy was the first area in Europe to be hit. And it was hit hard. Many people – including ourselves at Harrow Voice – are mystified as to why this should be. Does anyone have any thoughts regarding this?

The rapidly moving situation (relating to Covid-19) makes it next to impossible to accurately predict how many people locally, nationally and internationally will contract it, or, sadly, die from it.

The main thing to remember at the moment is that – unfortunately – the UK figure is liable to rise as the government believes that coronavirus will spike in around two weeks time. Hopefully, the figures will go down after that, but there’s still no indication of when things will go back to relative normality.

Despite this – and along with many other people – Harrow Voice (HV) has an odd feeling about what’s going on. We fully admit that we can’t quite put our finger on it, but we’re wondering why various governments are going to such extraordinary (and unprecedented) lengths to tackle this virus.

This Live Science site https://www.livescience.com/56598-deadliest-viruses-on-earth.html

provides some context and we certainly recall the SARS and Avian flu scares from yesteryear. We’re also aware that ‘ordinary’ flu kills thousands of people each year. However, a health scare has never been used to effectively crack down on the civil and religious liberties of our people – so much so that it’s been suggested that we’re sleepwalking into authoritarianism.

So what makes Covid-19 so different and does the government know something that we don’t? And what’ll happen once this is all over?

To be fair, no one outside of a select few could probably answer the first question. However, HV would like to give some pointers in an attempt to answer the second. And we hope to expand on these ideas in future debates.

First of all, we think that the slogan Small Is Beautiful! makes even more sense now than it ever did. No matter how coronavirus originated we get the feeling that one vital aspect of globalism – the entirely free movement of people – has helped to spread it. Therefore, more should be done to protect our territorial integrity. We feel that it’s entirely reasonable and sensible to know who’s in our country at any one time – especially if they are harbouring highly contagious viruses.

(On saying the above, and we want to make this perfectly clear, it does not excuse any personal attacks on Chinese nationals here or anywhere else. Such attacks are completely out of order – not to mention counterproductive – and it’s important to remember that the vast majority of people, Chinese or otherwise, are in no way responsible for the actions of their respective governments.)

We also feel that it would be preferable to be more autonomous and as self-sufficient as possible. This should apply across the board and includes individuals, local areas – such as our borough of Harrow – and all nations. And when we talk about self-sufficiency we’re talking in terms of food, energy, water, recycling and so on.

In particular, we need to start investing in Research and Development here and encourage a wide industrial base by making things ourselves rather than importing. That means investing in education and training and not relying on importing skilled or unskilled workers.

On a similar theme, we’re more convinced than ever that capitalism (as well as socialism) has to go. We need to go back to our economic roots in terms of small businesses, local independent businesses, sole traders, family farms, Co-Operatives and so on. These should form the backbone of the economy. Indeed, we really need to wean ourselves off of our over reliance on massive supermarkets and fast food chains. In short, we need to move away from centralisation and promote a more decentralised, organic – or rooted – way of living that’s in tune with nature.

Autonomy, decentralisation & self-sufficiency also ties in with our belief in ‘small government’ – meaning that we should be less reliant on central government.

Whilst we’re on the subject of autonomy, we believe that there’s something to the argument that London (along with many other cities – and the South East of England as a whole) is now far too large & over crowded to be sustainable.

For instance, Greater London, of which Harrow forms a part of, covers 1,572 1,572 km2 (607 square miles) and the population, as at the 2011 census was 8,174,000. Therefore, Harrow Voice has some sympathy with the belief that the capital city should be scaled back to its original inner boroughs. This would mean that outer London boroughs will return to their original historic counties. Thus Harrow will become part of Middlesex again.

As with our first debate (see the link below), we’d appreciate you comments – especially if you have any specialist knowledge relating to Covid-19 – on any of the points we’ve raised here. Just look out for this debate when it appears on our National Liberals Facebook site – https://www.facebook.com/groups/52739504313/ – or the National Liberal Party Facebook site – https://www.facebook.com/NationalLiberalParty/

• ALSO check out

Harrow Voice Debate (1) – What Do You Think Of Universal Basic Services? http://nationalliberal.org/

harrow-voice-debate-1-–-what-do-you-think-of-universal-basic-services
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