IN RETURN for leaving the EU, we were sold a vision of an “outward-looking and truly global Britain that is fully engaged with the world.”
Yet, as is so often the case with this Conservative Government, when you look beyond the glossy slogan, the reality is very different, writes Jonathan Edwards MP.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Prime Minister’s decision to cut International Aid, whilst pressing ahead with spending £200 million on a new royal yacht that is nothing more than a flag-waving vanity project.
The decision to cut International Aid directly contravenes the commitment made in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto, upon which all Conservative MPs stood, to retain the 0.7% spending on aid.
It is not only a betrayal of a manifesto promise but of the poorest in the world.
The consequences of the cut will be as far-reaching as they are heart-breaking.
700,000 girls will now go without 12 years of quality education.
250,000 will go without food assistance.
Opportunities to prevent avoidable deaths will be lost because of an 80% cut to a UN programme supporting people who have AIDS and HIV.
Aid to Yemen has been slashed by nearly 60% in the face of catastrophic famine.
Meanwhile, the UK Government continues to profit and prolong the war as the largest supplier of weapons to the Saudi-led coalition.
The British Government might not care about their rank hypocrisy, but I am certain that history will not judge this kindly.
The decision is reprehensible in any context, but it feels particularly callous when the world is struggling with a global pandemic.t
The World Bank predicts that, as a result, the fallout could push up to 115 million into extreme poverty.
Beyond the moral argument, the British State fails to understand that no country can win the fight against Covid-19 in isolation.
Clean water and sanitation are key in the global fight against the pandemic. Yet, some 10 million people will now go without due to the cuts to international aid.
This severely undermines the British Government’s commitment to helping eradicate Covid-19 worldwide and increases the risk of new and more dangerous variants developing.
The British Government have turned their back on any pretence of moral leadership and eroded their credibility on the world stage.
In doing so, they have also undermined any potential for COP26 to be a transformative moment in the fight against the climate crisis.
How can any country take UK Ministers at their word when they cannot keep to their promises?
If this is what global Britain taking its place on the world stage looks like, then we in Wales have to ask ourselves the question, what kind of country do we want to live in?
If the answer is a compassionate and outward-looking nation, it seems clear that we cannot achieve this within the British state.
The only way for us to take our place on the global stage as a country ready to step up to help those most in need is to do so as an independent Wales.