What makes us safe? What makes us secure? For years, “security” and “defence” have been euphemisms for war and preparations for war. But the Covid19 crisis is a deadly reminder that bombs and guns cannot protect us from a pandemic.
For years, the government’s own researchers have identified possible pandemics as a realistic threat to our safety. Yet the government had done little to prepare us for it – indeed, they have presided over an underfunded NHS and grossly inadequate social care system – while focusing on the supposed “security” that can be found in warships and missiles.
I’ve written two articles about this recently (both of which cite the government’s own security reviews, which have listed a pandemic as a serious possibility):
- ‘What the coronavirus crisis says about Britain’s military obsession’ (Left Foot Forward, 20 March 2020).
- ‘The coronavirus crisis shows that our traditional ideas about “security” are totally wrong’ (Morning Star, 27 March 2020).
I wrote these articles in my capacity as campaigns manager of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), my main (part-time) job, alongside my teaching and writing work. You can read more on the PPU website about our call for military budgets to be diverted to tackling coronavirus.