Over the last few weeks, important scientific studies have been made public. One shows that bacteria are now evolving faster that we can create antibiotics, with the final antibiotic firewall having been breached. Unless the medical and pharmaceutical professions can come up with new solutions we face a return to the era of pandemics. Our children and grandchildren will be at risk every time they undergo a minor operation. Millions, perhaps billions, of people may die prematurely. That’s pretty serious. Equally, reports showed that in some areas insect numbers have fallen by 75% with an unknown, but presumably not positive, impact on plant pollination and so the fertility of the natural world. Also, potentially, pretty serious.
Any yet the main talking points in the political bubble over that period have been the antics of Harvey Weinstein and now Michael Fallon. It appears that MPs will now face a barrage of investigations and insinuations, some true but many false, while trying to cope with the really important and uphill task of Brexit legislation – let alone being able to turn their attention to issues which may be existential threats to humanity.
That’s not to dismiss the need to do something about sexual harassment in the workplace – it’s a real problem in many walks of life and needs to be tackled firmly.
However, the real scandal would be if vital and pressing issues were shunted aside in the wake of the revelations. Parliament’s vote to release the economic impact studies on Brexit yesterday was a major and important step forward, both in shedding light on what Brexit means for ordinary people and in ensuring that Parliament retains it sovereign role, and yet Michael Fallon’s resignation has pushed it off the front pages. Whatever he may have done wrong, Fallon was brave enough to take it on the chin and go quickly and with dignity. It is critical for the future of the UK that other MPs are brave enough to speak the truth about Brexit and the disasters it would bring, not hide behind the “will of a hoodwinked people”. As Jeff Flake, another brave politician, just told us:
“When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do — because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseum — when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations. Those things are far more important than politics”.