International law and global legal frameworks represent humanity at our best. In our increasingly interconnected world, the issues facing our citizens frequently ignore borders. Climate change and breakdown, global pandemics, tax avoidance, terrorism, increasing social and economic inequality, and instability in the international order – these are just some of the issues facing our generation and the ones to come. It’s only by working together to a common set of values that countries can truly cooperate for mutual benefit, and begin unpicking these complex challenges.
Our world is changing beneath our feet. January saw multiple Western military leaders sound the alarm over our general lack of preparedness, resources and resilience in the face of this historical inflection point. The ‘peace dividend’ won at the end of the Cold War threatens to unravel. Whilst of course interstate conflict, terrorism and civil war has not completely ceased since the fall of the Soviet Union, there has been a remarkable decline in large-scale wars between power blocs and, crucially, nuclear superpowers. Markets, first of a social democratic flavour then neoliberal, have lifted millions from extreme poverty and spread development, wealth and democracy in their wake.
‘The freer the markets, the freer the people’, once espoused in the optimistic hope Amazon and ballot boxes would develop side-by-side, has stuttered. Democracy is on the retreat across the world – failing to ignite in autocratic states like China and Russia, and shrinking across Europe as support for far-right parties grows. The contradictions of rampant corporate profiteering, a lacklustre response to the cost of living crisis and shuddering economies have reached a crunch point for the democratic order.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and now recent events in Israel and Palestine, have underlined the fragility of the global order. The UK Government has a role to play amongst this growing chaos. So long as the UK Government represents Scotland on the world stage, we in the SNP must do everything in our power to ensure Scotland’s voice and values are heard amidst the growing din of calamity.
Aid to prevent growing climate instability from engulfing whole countries, and the resultant exodus of whole populations. Speaking out in global forums for the values of democracy, freedom and justice. Taking international law seriously; the role of Scottish and English legal scholars in first crafting it, and our mutual obligations to uphold and abide by it. Working with fellow democratic allies to shore up their defences, increase our own defence production and spending, preparing domestic resilience and enshrining our values on what we do in the international community.
In such an unstable world, we can no longer afford the politics offered by the Tories. We cannot afford to indulge the chaos of a Tory UK Government, nor feed into their barrage of hate, disinformation and departure from reality – as so aptly demonstrated by the doomed Rwanda scheme. The constant drama, the sniping from the sidelines, the backstabbing, the intrigue and the lies are merely the death throes of a finished government.
The Prime Minister should recognise the seriousness of this point in history and call an immediate general election – so we can get on with preparing ourselves for this brave new world.