The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

New Milton Discussioin Group

Question 3. It is right that we act in the National Interest, but do we do enough for the rest of the world?

As before, please let me have your answers in the next 2 weeks, i.e. by 12 February and we will try for a Zoom Meeting shortly afterwards.

If you would prefer to give your answers over the phone, do let me know. If you want to wait until the Zoom Meeting that is fine too. I will publish answers as they come in so that you can see what other people are saying.

Answers

This question was raised before the dispute between the EU and Astra Zeneca and the emergence of "vaccine nationalism".

There was though pressure from both sides of the argument (including from Theresa May) whether to cut foreign aid/international development from 0.7% of national income to 0.5% as a temprary measure,
because of the state ofthe public finances.

1. With distribution of vaccines, there is a moral/ethical dilemma:
Do we look after ourselves or should we take others under our wings.

Some countries will not be able to afford vaccines and, because of limitations on production, it could take years to get vaccines to some parts of the world.

Another ethical situation is with vaccine trials, i.e. whether everyone taking part should receive the vaccine at an early stage.

Looking more widely, we have more influence in the world than we realise, e.g. a quarter of the world's population use English.

2. Yes, Britain does more than its fair share for the rest of the world.

We are a world leader in the provision of foreign aid, including controversially to countries rich enough to look after themselves.

We have been the first to reach out globally to help others throughout the world.

The list is endless, but in the year 2018 alone (information - courtesy of a handy website), include:

- multi-million pound donations, to improve the health and nutrition of mothers and children dying from preventable diseases every year,

- to save over 3 million women and girls (the world’s largest – ever investment) from female genital mutilation,

- to help develop a vaccine and pay for thousands of doses for victims of the ‘ebola’ crisis in West Africa,

- to fight the famine resulting from the Afghanistan war.

- to protect people from the threat of active landmines.

- to help the Rohingya refugees who fled the violence and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, and

- to allow nearly a million girls in the Commonwealth to access quality education.

Also, our experts, including medical staff, are usually the first to volunteer for dangerous work in war-torn areas.

Historically, we have also sent millions of our own people to their deaths during a number of wars, in an attempt to protect others, e.g. we entered World War 1 and 2 to prevent Germany from dominating the people of Western Europe, and the Iraq war (although controversial) to free the Iraqi people.

Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, I am sure we will be the first to share any surplus vaccines with the underprivileged countries of the world.

3. Our country is in a new and interesting post-Brexit and post-Trump phase.

If and when we become more free of Covid 19, we need to boost our economy/jobs/exports, which is of course in the National Interest.

We are where we are. We are one of the world's major economies with resources/strengths particularly in people.

As a major country outside the EU, we need to exert our influence in the UN and NATO on such issues as climate chnage and world health and poverty.

It would be good if our politicians avoid the megaphone when discussing foreign policy and leave it to our diplomats to work quietly behind the scenes, particularly trying to influence countries who actively seek to destabilise populations and world peace.

It would be nice to think that there could be cross-party agreement on this.

4. I think we do a lot for the rest of the world.

The UK is a world leading aid donor and gave more than £10 billion in 2020 to fightpoverty and to help with global health and climate change and we will pass on vaccines as soon as our programme is completed.

Colin Bower
10 February 2021

Online Discussion/Zoom Meeting January 2021

Group Activities in 2020

 
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