A Wartime Mentality - “Services and Life Will Resume After the Enemy is Beaten”

Leo Olivero

A Wartime Mentality - “Services and Life Will Resume After the Enemy is Beaten”

Nations… are globally tackling the COVID-19 crises with a ‘war time mentality’ the rapid global spread of the virus, already in Gibraltar and many other places, has inspired a strong sense of solidarity among a wide range of services, organisations and importantly the people. From supermarkets allocating hours for elderly shoppers, to community-led initiatives organising volunteers to support vulnerable people who are isolated living among us. It is a collective response perhaps unlike any we have seen in recent history. It may well need to intensify! 

President Trump. has already begun to describe himself as a “wartime president”, well he would.

But if it’s possible, for a moment, to forget the virus-war being waged that has dominated news cycles all over the world. It’s really, only one of many global challenges now waiting in line for political attention by the same world leaders, all currently, breaking sweat to get their respective nations out of the path of the fast-moving corona-disease.

Brexit Now a Million Miles Away

Whatever individual governments are using to gain control of Covid-19, they will ultimately still face the continued urgency of longer-term issues, such as climate change and inequality, some will even have to contend with the survival of democracy as a political system. These potential global crises are also facing us all.

From a more local political perspective, Brexit now seems a million miles away, presently on the political back-burner, at least for the immediate future!

Though I’m sure, the Chief Minister and the Government would like nothing more than to get back to normal politics… like Brexit and the many often lively and critically long-winded parliamentary exchanges, which I already miss, as opposed to life as it presently is.

Without any doubt, the whole of Gibraltar will also want to get their life back…as soon as possible!

The Covid-19 crises, has also brought into sharp focus the urgent need to shift from regular political messages of individuals to a narrative that supports collective awareness, common interests, and international co-operation, particularly, where our neighbour is concerned.

Politicians, who are still entrenched in their pre-virus crises positions, could have trouble adapting, even if they know it’s what the political class should do, to plan and implement effective national policies.

One policy, to the global health crises is the immediate response to enforce control.

And why, looking ahead and if it’s possible, it should be a long-term strategy to ensure that the structural conditions for generating resilience and confidence in each other and politicians…. is actually strengthened!

There are a few lessons, the “public everywhere” would like politicians to absorb. The first… is to prioritise pragmatism and transparency, including legislating to protect critical voices, over ideology; the second… to continue to invest in public services and lifelong learning opportunities and improve worker rights so that countries are prepared for the economic effect of the next crisis; and the third… to understand the relevance of social solidarity for collective wellbeing!