UK News Opinions | The Suez crisis toppled the British Empire. The pandemic will bring down ours.
Coronavirus polls: how Brits are feeling about the lockdown
Surveys reveal shifting public opinion on everything from Boris Johnson to the future of societyIn a bid to find out Britons are reacting to the global pandemic, polling firms and academics have been investigating how the country’s collective feelings and opinions appear to be shifting in relation to everything from politics to mental health.
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
Coronavirus is the plague that reveals. The global nature of the pandemic has illuminated national characteristics as it crosses borders: China exerts ferocious control over its population; Italy has a large elderly population with a tradition of warm social interactions, ideal conditions for the spread of disease; Korea is the best-organized nation on Earth; Israel can switch to a war footing more or less instantaneously.
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And the United States?
This moment is to the United States what the 1957 Suez Canal crisis was for the British Empire. The coronavirus pandemic is the event that has stripped away any lingering pretensions of global U.S. leadership. It has uncovered an emptiness.
Every empire has its bluff called eventually. In 1957, when Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, Israel invaded Sinai alongside French and British forces. But President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who needed Arab support against the Soviets, insisted on a retreat and threatened to sell American reserves of the British pound if they didn’t concede the territory back to Egypt. Everybody learned who was really in charge. The loss of the canal mattered infinitely less than the demonstration that the British and French no longer possessed the ability to control foreign territories at will. Invincible no more, the Empire crumbled almost overnight. Fourteen French colonies were their own countries by 1960. Within a decade, 24 British colonies gained independence.
Gundogan: Fair to give Liverpool title
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan would be "okay" with runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool being awarded the title if the season was not completed.Liverpool are 25 points clear of second-placed City, but the league was suspended on March 13 because of the pandemic with Jurgen Klopp's side needing just two more wins to secure the title.
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A Norwegian university declared all its citizens should return from the United States as soon as possible because the American health-care system was unprepared to meet the incipient crisis; many countries have been sending the same message in more guarded language. Trump’s unpredictability has strained foreign relations from the beginning of his term; covid-19 has only revealed how dangerous that unpredictability is.
Almost alone in the world, the United States does not consider access to medical care a fundamental human right. In response to the pandemic, the Trump administration made its priorities clear: It suggested a suspension of the payroll tax while covid-19 screening remained widely unavailable. A private system such as the American one simply cannot respond to public health crises. Private companies are being asked to provide the services that states normally provide, often much better, everywhere else: Google was tasked to create a national coronavirus website; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has busied itself preparing at-home testing kits; Amazon must regulate price-gouging (Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post). Meanwhile the Department of Homeland Security, essential to maintaining order in the current situation, is operating with 65 percent of the top jobs vacant or filled only by acting appointees.
Opinion: Crisis will bring opportunity for road testing
Travel restrictions have wreaked havoc on Autocar's diary, but there's a silver liningAnd when it comes to features, much of it is necessarily long-lead stuff – stuff that, frankly, we’re pretty glad to have right now. A white-knuckle dispatch from the North Coast 500, an interview with Stefano Domenicali, an exposé on Toyota K-Series head-gasket failure: all can be researched, written and laid out on the page well in advance of the Friday evening the issue in question goes to the printers.
This American chaos did not begin in 2020, nor with the Trump administration. Americans have been actively dismantling their government for a generation, and the current crisis is the fruit. Ronald Reagan, in the 1980s, made massive cuts to the budget of the Department of Health and Human Services. Reagan famously said the nine scariest words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” I have nine that are scarier: “Contact your HMO if you experience symptoms of covid-19.” In most wealthy countries, and the more fortunate developing ones, the people expect governments to protect them; governments expect it of themselves. But even disease will not affect the hyperpartisanship of the country: Republicans are much less worried than Democrats about the effects of the coronavirus, though the difference is narrowing. As recently as last week, 29 percent of Americans believed coronavirus was made in a lab.
The consequences of covid-19 on American foreign relations are already apparent if not yet manifest. For the foreseeable future, every American product, every American person, every American idea, will be suspect. This is not about historical memory or anybody’s feelings about the United States or even Donald Trump. Because the American networks — informational, political, medical — are so weak, the health of any given American citizen is now an unknown.
British Airways suspends all flights from Gatwick Airport
British Airways is suspending all its flights to and from London's Gatwick airport amid the coronavirus pandemic. The airline has said it will continue to carry out essential functions such as maintenance, towing and cleaning in order to be ready to start up again effectively.British Airways added in a statement: "Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick."We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options."Gatwick Airport in West Sussex is Britain's second busiest airport.
The coronavirus has not revealed any weakness in democracy generally. South Korea and India and Japan have been at least as effective at containment as China. But the American political order under Trump — a half-democracy, half-oligarchy in which corporations possess power but no responsibility — has had its fundamental instability and contempt for people demonstrated in a way that is obvious, at the very least, to those of us outside the borders of the United States.
The effects of the Suez crisis were not immediate, but they were profound. Nationalists throughout Africa realized the British and French capacity to withstand international pressure was nil. The stampede for the exits of European empires didn’t begin until the 1960s, but after Suez, country after country proceeded toward independence with deeper determination and confidence. Britain was no longer a broker in world affairs. It gave up the power of empire for the vague branding exercise of the Commonwealth, a toothless organization that amounts to little more than a goodwill circle. Britain’s influence on world affairs has declined every year since 1957 until the present, when it is just a small country on the edge of Europe. America’s prestige, its impression of dominance, its assumption of the superiority of its political system, its claim to be the most advanced country in the world, has been shattered in the same way.
The fallout of that shattered prestige will be far-reaching and unknowable. It will play out in the decades to come, long after covid-19 is a piece of history. But America’s place in the world is already transitioning: Nobody seems to know whether the Americans are well enough to meet with others.
- here is . If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and Only if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In , anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In , call your GP.
Coronavirus: Chancellor set to unveil fresh emergency package to help workers .
Rishi Sunak has been under pressure from Labour, unions and senior Tory MPs to do more to help workers and the stalling economy weather the crisis. He will reveal new measures on Friday at the daily Covid-19 press conference in Downing Street, where he is expected to be joined by Boris Johnson.The Prime Minister said he expects the tide to be turned in the fight within 12 weeks, as he urged the public to follow social distancing advice and for businesses to “stand by your employees”.