Tom Arms’ World Review – 21 March 2021

The primary responsibility of every government is the protection of its citizens.

The wannabe federalists of Europe have dismally failed at fulfilling this obligation with their handling of the coronavirus vaccine programme. And to compound their errors they have tried to cast Brexit Britain in the role of scapegoat at a time when they should be trying to develop a positive relationship with the UK.

Instead Brussels has unfairly claimed that the Johnson government is behind Astra Zeneca’s failure to manufacture and deliver sufficient vaccine doses in a timely fashion. To compound the mistake they attempted to tarnish the vaccine with attacks on its safety. This, of course, is backfiring because it provides grist to the growing anti-vax brigade–costing tens of thousands of more lives.

On top of that, the commission is talking about blocking exports of the PfizerBnTech vaccine (largely produced in Belgium) to third countries, which is Brussels shorthand for Britain.

In the meantime both the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency have declared Astra Zeneca safe; forcing European countries to put the vaccine back on the metaphorical shelf. But the poorly-managed vaccine programme has meant that Europe is enduring a third and deadly coronavirus wave.

A year ago, Eastern Europe was patting itself on the back for avoiding the worst effects of the first wave. Now their health services are on their knees. According to the WHO the Czech Republic leads the world in new Covid 19 cases per 100,000—over 1,600 a day this past week. Poland has plunged into a national lockdown this week as has Italy, Paris and the French Riviera. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering a month-long extension to the German lockdown.

But the hotspot tourist countries of Spain, Greece, Italy, and Malta are still planning to open their borders to tourists in May.

Biden is in a serious muddle with his immigration policy.

Donald Trump was rightly attacked for his inhumanity. But that does not mean that the vast majority of Americans want to open the immigration floodgates. Biden’s actions are still a long way from a social tsunami, but they are close enough for Republicans to be calling it that and finding listeners.

Between the end of October and the beginning of March 400,000 illegal immigrants attempted to cross US-Mexican border—a 15-year high. This is partly result of a pent-up demand created by the Trump Era and partly by the Biden Administration’s decision to end the “Remain in Mexico” for processing policy. Biden now allows migrants across the border to be processed in US-based centres.

The other major issue is unaccompanied children. Under the provision of Trump’s Title 42 hundreds of children were forcibly separated from their parents. Many families are still to be reunited. Biden is now allowing unaccompanied minors across the border. Parents are sending their children northwards because they believe that by pleading the politically significant issue of reunification their chances of joining the young ones will be significantly improved.

An estimated 30,000 unaccompanied minors have entered the US from Mexico so far this year. They are however, being kept in the same detention centres used by the Trump Administration. No one knows the exact conditions in these centres because journalists have so far been banned entry. This has led to attacks on Biden’s immigration policy from the left-wing of the Democratic Party. What a muddle.

Relations between China and the Biden Administration are off to a bad start.

Perhaps the good news is that they can only get better. The two sides could not even agree on the purpose of this week’s meeting in Anchorage Alaska between Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Yang Jiechi, former foreign minister and the foreign policy man in the Chinese Communist Party Party’s Politburo.

The Chinese said the meeting was a “strategic summit” aimed at “resetting” Sino-American relations in the wake of the Sino phobic Trump years. Wrong, said Blinken. The purpose of the meeting was to allow the US to vent its anger about Chinese human rights violations, and the challenges Beijing’s actions present to the “security, prosperity and values of the United States and its partners and allies.”

But once the Anchorage dust has settled Washington will face some unpalatable facts. It cannot isolate China in the same way that it contained the Soviet Union during the Cold War. At the very height of its economic power, the Soviet Union’s share of the world GDP was less than a third of China’s today.

In not too many years China will surpass the US as the world’s largest economy. For America and its allies to respond to the threat of Chinese totalitarianism with sanctions would be the same as shooting itself in the economic foot.

At the moment the American diplomatic tactic appears to be to look for areas of collaboration. Top cooperative targets are climate change, the pandemic and North Korea. This is a traditional Western diplomatic approach: When faced with an apparently intractable negotiation, establish non-contentious areas of agreement which can then be built upon to reach compromise solutions in more disputatious sectors. The problem is that China is not a Western country.

The European political pendulum appears to be following the American example and swinging to the centre-left.

That is if elections this week in the Netherlands and Germany are an indicator.

In Germany the conservative Christian Democratic Union party of Angela Merkel suffered a major defeat in regional elections of CDU heartland Landers of Baden Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The poll was seen as a prime indicator for federal elections in September and the first big test for the CDU’s new leader Armin Laschet. Both the CDU’s long stranglehold on federal power and Laschet’s grip on the party leadership are now jeopardised. The CDU has lost power in both Lander and is expected to be replaced by a three-party coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Liberals (FDP).

In the Netherlands, Long-serving centrist Prime Minister Mark Rutte has increased his parliamentary majority which means he can ditch the right-wing Christian Democrats. The extreme right-wing Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders is still the second largest but has dropped its opposition to the EU to focus on an anti-Islamic platform.

In Germany, the Xenophobic and anti-EU Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) continues to drop in the polls following the government decision to label it as a semi-terrorist organisation.

And in France, Marine Le Pen’s far right National Rally has shifted from an anti-EU stance to a Eurosceptic position. It now wants to remain in Europe, stay in the Schengen Area and retain the Euro as the French national currency. The party’s slight tilt to the left appears to being paying dividends. Opinion polls show Marine Le Pen presenting a serious challenge to Emmanuel Macron’s hopes of retaining the French presidency in April 2022.

* American expat journalist Tom Arms is LDV's foreign affairs editor and Campaigns Chair for Wandsworth Lib Dems. His book “America: Made in Britain” is published on 15 October.

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39 Comments

  • John Marriott 21st Mar '21 - 9:57am

    The present brouhaha over vaccines is manna from heaven for eurosceptics. That’s why I have always had a pragmatic view of the EU. Remember the burning English lamb carcasses at Calais a few years ago? Or the ban on the sale of British beef in Europe following the nCJD outbreak a few decades ago? The optics, as they say don’t look good, which is a tragedy because we clearly need good relations with our largest single trading partner.

    Did anyone watch that recent TV mini series ‘Zerozerozero’. Now if the situation in Central America is even remotely like what is portrayed there, is there any wonder that people are heading north to the Rio Grande. The ‘War on Drugs’ has FAILED. We need a fresh approach everywhere.

    Is it now payback time for China? Beware. Communism with a communist economy, as in the Soviet Union was always beatable. However, Communism with a quasi capitalist economy is a very different animal! It may now be already too late to shut the stable door.

    The present restrictions in many European countries could still play into the hands of right wing parties in Germany and France, especially if the current cock up continues, where, in the former, the socialists have been in retreat for years and, in the latter, have virtually become an endangered species.

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Mar '21 - 10:37am

    John Marriott.

    A Le Pen presidency in France I think is remote, but it’s no longer totally outlandish.

    Comedy thought for the day: Le Pen as president and a Green German Chancellor.

    For the EU the significance is that this will go down as the time when ‘more Europe’ stopped being the default answer to anything.

  • Laurence Cox 21st Mar '21 - 11:39am

    @LJP

    The probability of a Le Pen presidency depends on who she is up against. Back in 2017, Macron won 24.0% in the first round; Le Pen 21.3%; Fillon (The Republicans, centre-right) 20.0%; and Mélenchon 19.6%. As the top two from the first round go through to a run-off if no-one has won more than 50%, the biggest risk is a Le Pen-Mélenchon run-off, the result of which would be unpredictable. Historically, the French Left has been fragmented, but it would only take an agreement to support a single candidate to more or less guarantee them a place in the run-off. If you think that Le Pen would be a threat to the EU, just look at Mélenchon’s position: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_M%C3%A9lenchon

  • Everyone who has had the Astra-Zeneca vaccine or are about to receive it can feel more assured now that it has been found to be at very low risk of causing blood clots,the problem was the EU fell into a trap that the British media and the rampant Brexiteers seized on with relish and took the pressure off this governments many failures over the past year. The vaccine rollout in the UK has been excellent due to the organisation of staff and volunteers in the NHS as much as the government’s procurement policy.

  • @Martin

    “Caution with new medication is the norm”

    Lets not pretend this was about being cautious, it was nothing but playing politics.

    The risks of developing blood clots from the vaccine was less than 1 in a million
    The risk of developing clots from the contraceptive pill 1 in 1000
    If this was about safety issues, surely the EU would be banning the use of the contraceptive pill?

    From the outset, many EU countries were knocking the efficacy of the Oxford Vaccine,
    Then they were restricting it to certain demographics
    With EU citizens being the most vaccine sceptic is it any wonder that vaccine take up of the Oxford vaccine was low with many demanding the Pfizer instead.

    The EU then faces a drastic shortage of access to the Pfizer vaccine to vaccinate its elderly population and so start the threat of vaccines export controls and causes a political storm amongst the UK and Ireland and NI and the EU backtracks after political pressure

    Then the EU suspends the use of Oxford vaccine and cites “unfounded” safety concerns, creating even more alarm amongst its citizens.
    The EU is sitting on millions of unused Oxford vaccine doses, it has worsened what was already a far to high sceptic vaccine nation.

    This situation, piled on top of the failures it made in the first place, being to slow to finalise contracts etc has to turned a bad situation into something much much worse, but as usual with the EU and especially the commission, instead of putting it hands up to a mistakes, it deflects blame and now it threatens to impose controls once more to get its hands on their “preferred” vaccine the Pfizer jab.

  • Little Jackie Paper

    ‘For the EU the significance is that this will go down as the time when ‘more Europe’ stopped being the default answer to anything’.

    Unfortunately I don’t think that will be the case.

    ‘More Europe’ was meant to have been stopped with the ‘No’ votes to the proposed European constitution in France & The Netherlands. As you will recall the EU waited a couple of years & changed the name to the Lisbon treaty with 97% of the text unchanged.
    France & The Netherlands were not allowed to vote a second time.

  • Martin 21st Mar ’21 – 12:09pm:
    Several countries, not only those in the EU paused deployment of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. Since the problem is lack of supply, these countries could afford to do so without significant disruption to vaccination programmes.

    Stockpiles of the AstraZeneca vaccine across the EU are reported to total 7,213,796 doses.

    ‘The EU’s AstraZeneca vaccine stance will cost lives, here in Spain and all over Europe’ [19th. March 2021]:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/19/eu-astrazeneca-vaccine-stance-spain-europe-covid

    Having first complained that AstraZeneca was not delivering enough, Europe is now stockpiling the vaccine. Spain is currently sitting on more than 750,000 AstraZeneca doses, having used only half its stock.

  • John Marriott 21st Mar '21 - 1:40pm

    Well, it seems, for most LDV junkies, the AstraZeneca vaccine and some countries’ ambivalence about its safety appears to be the gift that keeps on giving. A appropriate choice of description if you know any German, as ‘Gift’ in German means ‘poison’ ( by the way, how come that ‘Mitgift’ in German means ‘dowry? -but I digress, as usual).

    What about the rest of Mt Arms’ article? Unless he’s receiving a small fee for his regular prognostications he must reckon that he’s largely flogging a dead horse! My initial reply attempted to dedicate each of its paragraphs to one of the four ‘topics’ he dealt with.

    Now, folks, what about Biden v Xi v Vlad? What about the ‘War on Drugs’, or keeping out the right in Europe, in which capacity we seem over here to be a lost cause? Too difficult or perhaps not lending itself so easily to argument by statistics?

  • Joseph Bourke 21st Mar '21 - 1:51pm

    Tom,

    you mention North Korea in passing. There are reports on another impending famine there amid an ‘epidemic’ of cow deaths.
    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/north-korea-facing-famine-epidemic-23757910
    “A lack of imports from China due to North Korea closing its borders because of the coronavirus pandemic has led to huge food shortages, which are claiming the lives of cows”
    ” “The Supreme Leader of North Korea never accepts responsibility for his failures, or for the failures of his regime. That is why the regime always seeks scapegoats, at all levels of society, and in all walks of life.”
    Who will be the next scapegoat?

  • @John

    “What about the ‘War on Drugs”
    Depends on what you mean by a different approach?

    I am defiantly not in favour of legalising drugs. I mentioned on other threads earlier this week in the response to the threads about violence towards women and the rise in murders and hate crimes on our streets. We cannot discount the part that gang warfare and drugs plays in all this, making our streets unsafe, the psychological effects of drug misuse that also fuels domestic violence.
    I actually despair when middle class “recreational” drug users argue for the legalisation of drugs and refuse to acknowledge the part they are playing in the increase of crime from Violence to Murder to modern day slavery.

    Legalising drugs is not the answer, because you would always have a black market where gangs can produce it cheaper and stronger than what the government allows

  • john oundle 21st Mar '21 - 2:23pm

    Martin

    ‘Caution with new medication is the norm. In this case the way vaccines have been deployed make it harder to assess the significance of possible side effects.’

    Caution from scientists is fine,what is not fine is politicians like Macron deliberately trying to trash the AZ vaccine & then literally hours later the EMA approving the vaccine. In a country like France with a high level of Anti-vaxxers, Macron’s behavior is bordering on the criminal.

    In any case the instances of thrombosis between the two available vaccines is virtually identical & the link if any unproven, but guess what…only the AZ vaccine gets slammed, pure coincidence of course!

    If there is such a major concern about thrombosis why has the birth control pill not been banned in these countries as this has proven links to thrombosis & at much higher levels?

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Mar '21 - 3:54pm

    John Oundle

    But it is a symptom of a bigger problem – keeping up with the Joneses. Italy imported lockdown from the CCP and everyone else was then bounced into following. One country has an issue with AZ (or in future perhaps another vaccine) and everyone else is then bounced into following.

    Even if there is scientific caution there has become a political need to follow the herd. It’s a really under-remarked upon point.

  • John Marriott 21st Mar '21 - 4:26pm

    @matt
    Not legalisation of drugs; but the DECRIMINALISATION of their possession. For goodness sake, who in their right mind would support legalisation of heroin etc? And yet, what about alcohol and tobacco.? The same difference, surely?
    @john oundle
    Isn’t it time that AstraZeneca considered suing Macron for his remarks about their product? Sadly he’ll probably get a second term as, like they did when Marine Le Pen’s old man challenged Chirac, the French voters will hold their noses in the run off as they vote.

  • john oundle 21st Mar '21 - 5:15pm

    Little Jackie Paper

    ‘ One country has an issue with AZ (or in future perhaps another vaccine) and everyone else is then bounced into following.’

    Each time it seems to be orchestrated by Macron (part Brexit & part Sanofi where massive orders were placed) at France’s insistence,alarming that on such a serious issue politics is more important than science.My wife’s family in France are in despair

    The one country that refused the herd mentality last week was Belgium where their leading scientist went public saying it was a choice between a vaccine or serious damage to organs / death.

  • Paul Fisher 21st Mar '21 - 5:15pm

    Your first entry is straight out of the Tory Playbook. I am afraid you are seriously deluded in that you have swallowed all the Alt Right propagada. The EU have exported 10 million doses to the UK (and another 30 million elsewhere in the world). We eed fact based discussion otherwise ORWELL rule. The percentage of fully innoculated people in Europe is double that in the UK. I look forward to 12 weeks time when 800,000 world beating second doses are delivered in a day. You really need to do some objective research.

  • John Peters 21st Mar '21 - 6:08pm

    @Paul Fisher

    The EU have exported 0 vaccine doses. International companies with manufacturing sites in EU countries have exported all the doses.

    The EU has blocked the export of some doses.

  • @John Marriott

    “Not legalisation of drugs; but the DECRIMINALISATION of their possession. For goodness sake, who in their right mind would support legalisation of heroin etc?”

    John, but the two go hand in hand. There are many who call for the legalisation of Cannabis and Cocaine, claiming that if it was properly controlled, it would reduce crime and generate Billions of pounds to the economy etc, which as I have stated earlier, ignores the fact that organised crime would always find a way to produce it cheaper and stronger than what the Government authorises.
    And my point was, given the discussions over the last week about the rise in violent crimes and murders on our streets, domestic violence etc, we cannot ignore the roll that Drugs, Gang warfare and drug misuse plays in all this…. You asked for the discussion, I was responding with an opinion 🙂

    With regards to your comments about Macron, I totally agree, I am surprised that AZ has not sought legal action against certain people for A) the leaking of sensitive market data and B) for making false claims about the vaccine

    @Paul Fisher
    “The percentage of fully inoculated people in Europe is double that in the UK.”
    But is that a better strategy than the UK whose aim is to get as many doses 1st doses into peoples arms as quickly as possible to give the majority of the protection which is then given a slight boost with longer term protection from the 2nd jab? I admit I was extremely worried about this approach to begin with as there was no studies to support the theory at the time, however, it looks like a gamble that fortunately paid off.

    “I look forward to 12 weeks time when 800,000 world beating second doses are delivered in a day” not sure what you mean?? we administered over 800,000 doses yesterday.

  • Denis Mollison 21st Mar '21 - 7:09pm

    @Laurence Cox
    Things have obviously changed since then, but in 2017 opinion polls made it clear that either Melenchon or Fillon would have won comfortably against Le Pen.
    The 2-round system is very poor when you have 3 or more candidates with substantial support; in particular it favours extreme candidates.
    See https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/april/bring-back-condorcet

  • Laurence Cox 21st Mar '21 - 8:05pm

    @Dennis Mollison
    Just as with FPTP you have to accept that the French system is what it is. If we had STV then Boris Johnson probably wouldn’t be PM. The point I was making is that France could end up next year with a choice between two populist extremists, one from the Right and one from the Left and neither would be a good outcome for the future of the EU. We desperately need some sanity in the leadership of the EU, which has not been apparent from Macron’s or von der Leyen’s statements.

  • John Marriott 21st Mar '21 - 9:40pm

    @matt
    NO! I am NOT advocating making the consumption of drugs such as heroin or any of the plethora of synthetic drugs legal. I would like to return to the situation that existed before we passed the Misuse of Drugs Act in the early 1970s where you could become a ‘registered drug addict’, receive a safe supply and continue to function while also being offered treatment to overcome your addiction. The essence of decriminalising, NOT legalising the possession of hard drugs is the recognition that such addiction, like the addiction to alcohol and nicotine, is an illness not a crime and should be treated as such. The present policy is just not working. It’s time for a change.

    @Dennis Mollison
    The 2 round system is better than the 1 round system we have. I can think of several occasions, especially in local government elections where a candidate has won with under 30% of the votes cast.

  • Paul Fisher 22nd Mar '21 - 6:49am

    @Jon Peters – Facts not propaganda – Please do your homework. The EU has exported 40 million shots – they paid for the companies to produce them – the companies are merely contractors aka they were contracted – hence the dispute with Astra Zeneca. Please think and fact check before reacting to messages that you find uncomfortable.

  • Paul Fisher 22nd Mar '21 - 6:54am

    @Matt. This is a fair debating point. However one has to be clear about the facts and not be taken in by the UK media propaganda machine. The UK has just had its third wave. What is happening in Europe now is their their third wave caused primarily by the Kent Strain spread via a lax/non existant border control poilicy in the UK. The lock down in France is in the north east of the country adjacent to the Channel. The more I read in this blog I see the malign influence of a successful propaganda effort in the UK. The Tories always exploit the population, don’t they?

  • Jenny Barnes 22nd Mar '21 - 10:08am

    @matt “the fact that organised crime would always find a way to produce [drugs] cheaper and stronger than what the Government authorises.”

    Unusually for this sort of sociopolitical debate, we have an experimental trial of criminalisation v legalisation for a recreational drug. Alcohol.
    Prohibition in the USA led to gang warfare and criminals producing adulterated alcohol and very high strength. Legalisation does indeed cause some harms – alcoholism and bad behaviour, but there is now very little or no alcohol related gang warfare, or criminally produced alcohol, in the USA.
    A legalisation of recreational drugs might well have some bad effects, but eliminating adulterated drugs (they cut my cocaine with Saniflush ) and things like Spice would be good, and the gang warfare etc would go.
    It won’t happen, because it’s far too useful to the state to have a large fraction of the people criminalised by their drug usage, from unemployed wafting days away in a cannabis haze, financial traders hyping themselves on cocaine etc… Why is it useful? Well, if you’re the police, and you //know// someone is a villain , but you can’t prove it, bang them up on a drugs charge. Simple.

  • Little Jackie Paper 22nd Mar '21 - 2:22pm

    Laurence Cox

    Out of interest who do you think would be PM under STV?

  • @PaulFisher, I think you find that what has been exported has been paid for. The problem for the EU was the haggling over the price and passing on the risks to the makers of the vaccine. Whilst the UK and other governments just got on with it.

  • @John

    I am not denying criminalising “drug addicts” is a problem and counter productive, but we cannot ignore the fact that “recreational” drug users are part of the problem when it comes to the level of violent crime that we have today on our streets due to the gang warfare for the control and supply of drugs.

    If we want to address the levels of violent crimes, domestic violence, murders etc etc then we have to look at the causes of it.

    @Jenny
    “but eliminating adulterated drugs (they cut my cocaine with Saniflush ) and things like Spice would be good, and the gang warfare etc would go”
    Sorry, I dont agree, like I said, as soon as the Government legalises something and taxes it to the hilt, Criminals will always find a way to sell it cheaper and make it stronger. Counterfeit Tobacco comes to mind ( and that does not stop people on limited means buying it) And when it comes to drug gangs, there will always be violence for control.
    Having Government legislated quality and legalised sale of drugs might make the middle classes think they can absolve themselves for responsibility and a clear conscience for the problems drugs causes, because they can afford to buy the “legal” stuff, but it is not going to do anything to solve the societal problems and the violence that will still be on the streets because of the illegal trade of supplying the less affluent “street drugs”

  • John Peters 21st Mar ’21 – 6:08pm:
    The EU has blocked the export of some doses.

    So far only Italy, backed by the EU, has requisitioned 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine destined for Australia. However, the EU’s continuing threats appear to be primarily aimed at the UK…

    ‘If the EU continues to act like a hostile state, the UK should treat it as one’:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/03/20/eu-continues-act-like-hostile-state-uk-should-treat-one/

    There is no way to interpret the threat of a vaccine export ban other than as a hostile act aimed at Britain. When the EU declared that it would require export licenses, it carefully exempted every neighbouring state except one. Its ban would not apply to Iceland or Morocco or Turkey or Belarus – only to the UK. Now, beset by continuing delays, and furious at Britain’s relative success, it has escalated further, threatening to commandeer factories, seize lawfully purchased supplies and violate intellectual property rights.

  • John Marriott 22nd Mar '21 - 5:31pm

    @Jenny Barnes
    Are you also equating legalisation with decriminalisation? They are NOT the same thing. While I consider nicotine and alcohol to be potentially addictive to some people, I remember when the latter was made illegal in the USA after WW1 and what it spawned.

    We clearly have a drugs problem which is not going away. For many people cigarettes and booze are not enough. I put it down to what I call an addictive personality. The people who find it hard to resist the allures of such substances as heroin, cocaine and even strong cannabis should not be treated as criminals but rather as exhibiting signs of illness. Locking people up for committing crimes to fuel their habit gets you nowhere. Hence the need to decriminalise their use and to provide effective treatment. The ‘War on Drugs’, which Richard Nixon announced over fifty years ago, has failed. We need to try something else.

  • John Peters 22nd Mar '21 - 6:14pm

    I still hope cooler heads prevail this Thursday. Are the EU really prepared to trash their dwindling reputation by stealing vaccine? I read it will only advance their vaccination end date by ONE week.

  • Peter Hirst 22nd Mar '21 - 6:30pm

    We will just have to weather the storm. This government’s handling of Brexit means collaboration on Covid is in the realms of extreme optimism. If hindsight was judging the timing of leaving the eu its judgement would be it could not be worse. I suppose this same government will now condemn the timing of any attempts towards Scottish independence.

  • Nonconformistradical 22nd Mar '21 - 9:05pm

    @Peter Hirst
    “This government’s handling of Brexit means collaboration on Covid is in the realms of extreme optimism.”
    At some point during this evening’s BBC Panorama “Covid – who got it right” earlier this evening one of the participants (from S Korea?) was making the point about the need for co-operation when a global problem such as Covid happens. Yet what we seem to have is rampant nationalism on the part of the UK government.

  • Nonconformistradical 22nd Mar '21 - 9:15pm

    @John Peters
    “Are the EU really prepared to trash their dwindling reputation by stealing vaccine?”
    According to https://www.bbc.com/news/45877605 the EU has exported more than 10 million vaccine doses to the UK from companies manufacturing within the EU.

  • John Peters 22nd Mar '21 - 9:46pm

    @Nonconformistradical

    I’m not disputing that EU based manufacturers have exported many millions of vaccine doses.

    Good luck when you are up before the judge saying you only stole a couple of bottles of gin but you paid for the crates of wine.

  • Little Jackie Paper 22nd Mar '21 - 9:59pm

    Nonconformistradical

    The EU has exported 0 doses. Private companies based in EU states have sold their products to the UK.

    If Boris Johnson was making the sort of threats the EU is now making you I suspect would be most unhappy.

    If the EU felt it had a case it would have taken it to court weeks ago.

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Mar '21 - 5:00am

    @Little Jackie Paper
    What about exports from UK of doses maufactured there?

    Meanwhile…
    https://www.euronews.com/2021/03/22/global-covid-vaccine-inequality-becoming-more-grotesque-every-day-who-warns

    “The “inequitable distribution” of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide is becoming “more grotesque every day,” the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday, renewing calls for more solidarity.

    “The gap between the number of vaccines administered in rich countries, and the number of vaccines administered through COVAX is growing every single day, and becoming more grotesque every day,” WHO chief Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus Adhanom told reporters.

    “Countries that are now vaccinating younger, healthy people at low risk of disease are doing so at the cost of the lives of health workers, older people and other at-risk groups in other countries.

    “The world’s poorest countries wonder whether rich countries really mean what they say when they talk about solidarity,” he added.”

    As George Orwell wrote:-
    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

  • Jenny Barnes 23rd Mar '21 - 9:28am

    @matt: If you were right, there would be gang warfare now in the USA over alcohol.

    @ john marriot Do you propose providing effective treatment for all alcohol and tobacco users? how about caffeine?

  • @Jenny

    I hardly think you can compare the ban of alcohol in the USA and gang warfare related to drugs, its a very different market.

    That would be like saying well we dont have gang warfare in relation to black-market cigarettes, its a nonsensical comparison.

  • John Marriott 23rd Mar '21 - 2:28pm

    @Jenny Barnes
    Absolutely, and why not include caffeine and gambling as well? The important thing is to recognise addiction and to treat it. Turning people into criminals, as the current law tends to do, is not a clever way to go.
    @matt
    If you were around in Chicago in the 1920s, and other US cities for that matter, I reckon that you would know something about gang warfare. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

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    @ Peter Martin If anybody is insulting "the intelligence of anyone who was listening", I'm sorry to say it's Ms Angela Rayner. Keir Starmer must have to exercis...