We who live here in southern Africa are unsurprised by misrule; I have lived under the cosh of dishonest and incompetent politicians and bureaucrats for most of my life and I suppose, grown a little used to it. It is to the First World that most of us used to look longingly, wishing we had leaders and civil servants like theirs, who manifest the qualities required to make their countries the best they can be, for most of their citizenry. We did have such people in parts of Africa; but most were washed away in the post-colonial tsunami of terror and corruption, and the results are there for all to see.
Recently, watching events unfold abroad, I am no longer sure the countries I have considered to be the lodestars for good governance, where organs of state are well managed, public money is prudently spent, individual freedoms are guaranteed and the rule of law is fairly applied, remain the exemplars they once were.
Using the so called ‘pandemic’ as an excuse for draconian rules and regulations, parts of Australia look increasingly like North Korea where people are locked in their homes indefinitely, their communications are monitored for signs of political dissent, and the police appear to have unfettered powers allowing them to violate people’s privacy along with authority to arrest for simply leaving your home whether vaccinated or not.
All this in a country of 25 million, where 1,300 people have died of ‘possible Covid’ in the last 18 months. Like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, some Australian leaders have declared themselves infallible on decisions relating to Covid and warned that registering open disagreement with their edicts risks swift punishment. Politicians there are talking ominously of the ‘New World Order’ and are telling unvaccinated citizens that they will be denied their ‘freedom’ until they acquiesce. It seems those who warned us there was more to this Corona story than met the eye, might be right? New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, seems to be adopting a similarly autocratic approach in running that country’s response to the virus.
The president of America, arguably the most powerful man in the world, appears senile, incoherent, utterly confused about the nature of the numerous crises that confront him, and his stature diminishes daily at home and abroad. As happens so often in Africa so in the USA, where he and his family, particularly his son Hunter, seem above the law. If his predecessor’s family had behaved as his has done, the justice system would have dealt with them speedily and severely; but in matters relating to the Bidens and Clintons, the FBI, and Department of Justice, apparently look away.
In the fall-out from the Afghanistan debacle, possibly the biggest foreign policy and military failure in the history of the United States, thus far, only one person has been punished. He is Lt. Colonel Stuart Scheller of the Marine Corps, a soldier held in the highest regard, who chose to speak out against the decisions taken that led to the country’s ignominious departure from Kabul. The response to his written and spoken comments, which have not been denied, has been to commit him for psychological examination, and he now languishes in jail, pending a court martial.
All this while Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and the Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin refuse to accept any responsibility for the tragedy that unfolded on their watch. What Milley has conceded is that he called his counterpart in China during his tenure under President Trump and promised to forewarn him if America decided to launch an attack on China. This smacks of treason!
Britain, once one of the best governed countries in the world, now appears to be in the hands of morons at every level of the nation’s administration. While the country suffered one of its worst foreign policy failures in recent history, the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was lounging around the Mediterranean. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor is running up a massive budget deficit so people can stay at home longer, be paid for doing nothing, and dodge the dreaded virus. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary oversees a police force that appears more interested in tracking ‘alt-right’ hate crimes on the internet than combatting escalating urban violence and stemming the flow of illegal migrants into the country. Boris Johnson has recently acknowledged that funding for border security has been reduced at a time of almost unprecedented threat to the country’s sovereignty. Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy appears confused. He has no cogent answers as to why the economic recovery has stalled, food prices are rising, and the south of the country has ground to a halt as fuel stations run dry and the energy required to keep the citizenry warm through the winter seems likely to be in very short supply. Just what they taught him at Eton, Cambridge and Harvard is not clear, but he seems unbowed and out of his depth.
The fact is all these people are part of a government that has decided to ‘follow the science’ on ‘global warming’ and the ‘pandemic’. In a bid to go ‘green’ the UK has banned fracking and shunned nuclear power, investing in renewables. But the winds are not turning the turbine blades, the sun’s not powering the arrays of solar panels; and a hostile approach to Russia means Vladimir Putin owes Britons no favours and he has his hand on the gas tap that might bring relief.
Thanks in no small part to following orders from Imperial College scientist Neil Ferguson (who had to resign after being caught breaking his own lockdown rules to continue an illicit affair with his married lover), Britain closed its borders and at the same time stopped the entry of people needed to keep the economic wheels turning. Astonishingly, Johnson’s government seems to have not tried to understand the ramifications of this decision and has been taken by surprise at the consequences; the country is now short of over 100,000 lorry drivers and there are skilled labour shortages throughout.
Here where I live on the southern tip of the continent, the writing is on the wall and we know we are headed for ever harder times and then possibly violent upheaval prior to being a failed state. But looking at what is happening in the countries I thought were attractive options, I’m in less of a rush to head for the exits than I once was.