Covid-19: Recovery Strategies - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:19 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Birt Lord Birt Crossbench 1:19 pm, 11th June 2020

My Lords, following the global trauma of World War II, a new and more progressive world order was established. At its heart were the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and NATO. At home, in a blaze of activity, we founded the NHS, brought into force the Education Act 1944 and created Beveridge’s welfare state. Our parents built a better world; now we must do that.

A tiny virus has reminded us of the vulnerability of all mankind, and that we are not an island cut off from the world. We must play our full part, but we can mitigate climate change only if the whole world acts together. Let us reinvigorate the depleted forces of global co-operation and collaboration. Let us seek to build on our common interest not to intensify division. Let us renew the attack on poverty and proclaim the advantages of the free flow of ideas and trade. Let us revive the global influence that we have long had.

The UK is at a low. My strongly anglophile French and German friends look askance at our travails. As we emerge from our horror, let us bottle the communal spirit of those who have clapped each week for the NHS. Let us reset our world. Let us drain the poison that has built up in our political system. Let us recover our ability for competent, careful and considered government. Let us address our many problems, as our parents once did, and build once more a fair, tolerant and prosperous Britain.