The Prime Minister welcomed the united stance taken by the G7 in condemning the recent coup in Myanmar and the detention of Alexey Navalny in Russia.
During the past two weeks the population of England has been threatened with the prospect of delaying the final release from lockdown that is expected on 21 July. Suddenly the news has changed to circa 80% of UK population having SARS-CoV-2 antibodies; this immunity is a result of 41 million first dose and 29 million double dose vaccinations and 4.3 million cases of SARS2 in a UK population of 66.7 million. This means eight out of ten adults have unknown and individual degrees of immunity, and yet herd immunity on this green and pleasant isle remains a chimera. There is no data yet to determine how long antibodies last. The unvaccinated, young people and children, and those who have only had one dose are thought to be the spreaders, but the under 25s are the age range least likely to be severely affected. The suggestion is that the vaccinated can get SARS2 again, and again; the disease has become endemic, the doom mongering about a third wave seems to suggest it. This is what Philip Thomas, Professor of Risk Management, writing for the Spectator calls an “Exit Wave” and it has to be got through as thanks to vaccines and therapeutics it carries much less risk than this time last year.
Regarding the release on 21 July, Boris Johnson is notoriously evasive, avoiding a direct answer, the preferred phrase being “there is no data to suggest (whatever was in the question), at the moment”. The last three words are often a clue that changes are forthcoming.
It is timely for Johnson that the G7 presidency is in the UK. Johnson can be King of Global Britain and Johnson is king of narrative, telling the story folks want to believe in. Like former President Trump he believes in the British equivalent of “tathastu”. His natural charisma enchants. Friends of Boris Johnson tell me that he lights up a room and folks fall over themselves to talk to him; this guile will be put to good use during the Democratic XI summit. Johnson’s brilliant idea to expand the summit to involve the world’s most technologically advanced democracies of India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa for conversations about civil liberties in China and China’s hegemonic exploits regarding free and open traffic in the Indo-Pacific. Johnson is promoting “the values that unite us: openness, freedom, democracy and free trade.”
The Prime Minister said “the international order and solidarity were badly shaken by Covid”. The G7 will ensure reliable vaccination supply chains, and that vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics reach those that need them, wherever they are in the world. Lessons learnt from Covid-19 will be used when setting up the future Pandemic Preparedness Partnership. On 10 June, Johnson said “At Carbis Bay, the G7 will pledge to distribute vaccines to inoculate the world by the end of next year, with millions coming from surplus UK stocks”. The deal done between the British government, Oxford scientists and AstraZeneca ensured their vaccine that is made in India is now being distributed at cost price around the world.
All these are consequences of the SARS2 virus, for which the Chinese have produced a cheap vaccine with a low efficacy rate. In UK, when middle income folks are buying a new electrical appliance or garments they decide whether to buy a cheap “made in China” product that will not last or to buy a more expensive reliable product that will last years; although it is getting harder to tell where things are made, as many Chinese products are made under licence in Germany.
The Prime Minister welcomed the united stance taken by the G7 in condemning the recent coup in Myanmar and the detention of Alexey Navalny in Russia. Russia was referred to when Johnson spoke about “protecting our allies on Europe’s eastern flank and safeguarding our people in the new domains of space and cyberspace.”
President Biden and Johnson are expected to agree a revitalised “Atlantic Charter”, modelled on the historic joint statement made by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, setting out their goals for the post-war world. The new Atlantic Charter outlines eight areas where the Prime Minister and President Biden resolve to work together for the benefit of humanity.
With luck and diplomacy sausages will not become part of the G7 conversation, except at breakfast. Sausages, pies, eggs and chilled meats are part of the continuum of Brexit. At the moment they travel freely over the Irish Sea because of a “grace period” that expires officially in the end of June, but the UK unilaterally extended this until October. The EU claims this was in bad faith. After arriving in Northern Ireland (NI) the products are examined to check they meet EU standards. Thereafter they become subject to EU rules, which means a de-facto regulatory border in the Irish sea was agreed to; this carries the potential of British sausages etc bypassing UK tariffs via the Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border. The border that is currently open and free to each way traffic, is another border that President Biden cares deeply about, evident in the statement from NSA Jake Sullivan that the NI protocol must fundamentally protect the gains of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.
Last but not least because it is the cause closest to Johnson’s heart is climate change and policy, green energy-green deals, Net Zero by 2050 and the G7 is the precursor to Glasgow hosting COP26 in November. The G7 wives will be hosted by the newlywed Mrs Johnson, who is also an active environmentalist and conservationist.