A declassified document published by the Daily Maverick revealed that the United Kingdom’s Cabinet Office’s National Risk Register for Civil Emergencies predicted and warned in 2013 that a global disease outbreak was likely within five years.
Though not exactly five years, seven years after, coronavirus broke out but threats designated by the national security establishment are revealed by the current health crisis to be very different to the primary risks the UK public faces.
Imperatively for the UK, a new security paradigm needs to be developed around public safety.
The Center for Health and Public Interest had warned that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) was not prepared enough for the impact of such a pandemic (like coronavirus).
Perhaps UK latched onto the idea of self isolation because NHS is already struggling to deliver on the ‘day job’ of routine emergency admissions.
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE A POORLY EQUIPPED CONTINENT LIKE AFRICA?
It is surprising that the report had shown that there is lack of skilLs and organisational memory, leaving the NHS poorly prepared for emergencies like the coronavirus. Private service providers would be the alternative.
In 2016, the capabilities of the NHS were tested during a 3-day training exercise – OPERATION CYGNUS – and broken lines of coordination between hospitals, Whitehall and disease-tracking experts were the demerits that surfaced.
“Then UK chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said that during the exercise that the NHS’ inability to cope “killed a lot of people”, adding, “it became clear that we could not cope with the excess bodies
Throughout this period, the UK has continued to allocate billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to “defence” expenditure which has failed to protect Britons from the unfolding impacts of a devastating and long-anticipated global pandemic.
Since 9/11, the British government has increased its annual military spending from £25bn to £40bn. Last year alone, military expenditure rose by £2.2 billion.
Over the last two decades, the UK has spent £648 billion pounds on the military – almost double Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s £350 billion bailout to keep the economy afloat during the coronavirus (COVID19) crisis”.
“The British establishment’s traditional approach to national security has emphasised the military and focused on terrorism, espionage, cyber warfare or proliferating weapons of mass destruction. What has barely been addressed is the likelihood of global pandemics affecting the UK public, including the complex and long-lasting consequences of the novel coronavirus.
The traditional approach to “security” has been impotent in safeguarding the British public from the real challenges of the 21st century”.
The current security paradigm involves massive UK spending every year to uphold a global military posture. This is ultimately designed not to protect British citizens but to serve the interests of the establishment, especially its desire to remain a global power with major military intervention capabilities, and which also benefits corporations in the defence, energy, mining and other sectors.
This focus has meant that robust preparations for an inevitable global pandemic and public health crisis have fallen by the wayside”.
Evidently, there is misplacement of priorities as the British national security establishment has focused on bulking up conventional military forces to counter states such as Russia and Iran.
Additionally, around £5.2 billion was dedicated to the Trident nuclear weapons programme last year.
It will cost a whooping £172 billion to maintain and replace Britain’s nuclear-armed submarines up to 2070 according to an estimate. This is five times more that the official Ministry of Defence figures.
Ironically, threats of terrorism has declined in recent times. Hitherto, (about 30 to 40 years ago), 70-80 of terrorism fatalities occurred in Western Europe.
In Britain, over the nearly two decades since 9/11 there have been just under 100 deaths from terrorism, with the scale of attacks having declined dramatically since the 1970s. As at press time (around 2pm in South Africa), worldometer.info revealed that there were about 177 deaths in the UK and 3,983 with the few months that coronavirus broke out.
see complete article in: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-03-21-coronavirus-exposes-who-britains-national-security-industry-is-designed-to-protect-not-the-public/
this article was partially edited by us.