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Sovereignty and the coronavirus crisis – what a mix!

22 May, 2020

• DOUG Crawford attempts to link the present government’s shortcomings in its handling of the coronavirus crisis with the people’s decision four years and three governments ago to renounce our citizenship of the European Union, (That question of sovereignty has come back to haunt us, Letters, May 14).

His magic word is sovereignty but his argument proves too much. “Sovereignty,” he says, “may be a powerful weapon but it needs to be wielded wisely.”

Far from being a weapon to be wielded (polemically or otherwise) sovereignty is a mere descriptor of a nation’s ultimate source of allegiance and obedience, and if it caused Britain’s Covid-19 failure it equally caused South Korea’s, New Zealand’s, Japan’s and Taiwan’s success.

His argument in fact tells as much against the exercise of personal free will as against national independence.

One recalls the reply Dr Johnson made to a reasoner actuated by a similar spirit to Mr Crawford. “You might as well say of a man who has fallen over a precipice: ‘his two legs brought him to that’. Is he not the better for having two legs?”



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