Civil unrest will escalate to levels not seen since for 50 years in many G20 countries. A sobering but non-controversial prognosis I know. But hidden away in all the causes and effects of state reactions to COVID is a root cause of this unrest – an unintended consequence – that democracy may struggle to recover from.
Many commentators would have us believe that the real cause of recent unrest and street violence was the uncomfortable uncovering of lightly buried racism following the death of George Floyd. And that the statistically disproportionate impact of the virus on BAME communities has fanned the flames. And that juvenile delinquents who’ve missed 4 months of school and got their social kicks by joining gangs are the ones insidiously influencing the public marches & causing mini crime waves. I could go on….
You see I don’t disagree that all of these are relevant, deeply relevant. In fact, there is much good that will come out of lifting the carpet and facing up to the remaining inequalities faced by minorities. But, I happen to believe that the most severe, deep and lasting damage across G20 – the primary cause of the rise of social unrest – can be traced directly and tragically to statements just like these in the UK: Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) of UK, Rishi Sunak on 17 March 2020 said more than 10 times in one speech ‘I will do whatever it takes.’ By March 24, 1 week later, I repeat 1 week later, he stated publicly ‘We will not be able to protect every single job or save every business’
Paraphrasing, we forced all of you to cease and desist from economic activity but we can only help some of you cope with the consequences. The richest nations on earth forcing the country’s shop keepers & entrepreneurs to food-banks & bankruptcy. This is a national and global tragedy of epic proportion & politicians have the gall to blame the Chinese for human rights transgressions whilst doing the exact same thing in the name of playing to the gallery rather than dealing with the problem.
Why should we now believe the lawmakers that Black Lives do Matter when simultaneously they have been forgotten, excluded & marginalised lives of all colours and creeds – the army of self employed, gig economy and entrepreneurs that make up the vast majority of wealth generation in the G20.
Only today while writing this blog, the astonishing lack of understanding was writ large as the bureaucrats prefer to engage the media in the minutiae of opening restaurants and theme parks instead of standing up to their responsibilities to financially support those they have unilaterally left hanging. Insult has already been added to injury as the spectre of increased taxes enters the debate. Really?
A financially beleaguered and destroyed community is now expected to kow tow and pay more tax in the years to come! And so, I have concluded that the emotion, the reality, the fear that is making many of us head to the streets to voice our disgust is really driven from the incredulity that only some lives matter….And in that thought is contained the very first time in my life as a white European the first true appreciation of the plight suffered by our minority communities. #AllLivesMatter