China, we all know, is run by an autocratic, dictatorial regime which brooks no dissent and is highly secretive about the problems and challenges the country faces. That has been the case for very many years. However, although its behaviour does seem to be getting worse, logic would nevertheless still dictate that when faced with the outbreak of a novel disease the Chinese government would work hard to contain it. That was certainly the case in 2002, when China responded to Sars by working with the World Health Organisation to bring the disease under control.
This lockdown has been successful at saving lives and reducing the infection rate and spread of the virus. In doing this, the government has taken the right decision to implement it in full. Yet there is no escaping the vital point that it has come with a heavy yet understandable economic cost.
There is no doubt now that the Covid-19 crisis is a national emergency. The NHS is already being pushed to full capacity. Our healthcare professionals are working around the clock, and we need access to appliances such as ventilators that are crucial for patients with respiratory problems.
The other day in the House of Commons, the Foreign Secretary admitted that the Government accepted that China was a threat to the UK. Yet at the same time, the Government decided to give Huawei significant involvement in our next generation communications structure – 5G.
The result of the last general election wasn’t just a substantial victory for the Conservatives but a marker for a new era in British politics. It was as significant as Margaret Thatcher’s victory in 1979, where she gained a majority of 43, drawing hundreds of thousands of votes away from Labour’s traditional support base. The same happened again in 2019, as life-long Labour supporters voted Conservative for the first time.
It seems strange to be sitting in the chamber of the House of Commons last week when the Brexit Bill completed its Third Reading (its last stage) and was officially sent to the House of Lords. After all, it was only a matter of weeks ago that we were unable to get any agreement on Brexit through the House of Commons. All those endless days when one was unable to leave the building waiting for one knife edge vote after another, most of which seemed to have been lost by the Government. Casting my eye over the Labour benches, as the result came in, I was struck by how empty they looked, the fight in them gone and so were they – back to their homes.