Yorkshire Post: Gordon Brown role exposes world health failure over pandemic

This article was published in the Yorkshire Post.

THE World Health Organisation (WHO), which knows a thing or two about wasting people’s money, has appointed Gordon Brown, the man who single-handedly broke UK plc in 2008, as an “ambassador for global health financing”. It beggars belief. What next?

The WHO should be focusing its attention on fighting communicable diseases and preparing for future pandemics. Its failures in responding to Covid have been all too apparent. While it was busy cosying up to the Chinese Communist Party, a novel virus was raging around the world and governments were having to resort to draconian lockdowns and the appalling, unprecedented violation of civil liberties in a desperate attempt to contain it.

What is the point in having a body called the World Health Organisation when a once-in-a-generation health disaster leaves it gormless and useless?

Once upon a time, the WHO used to be good at this sort of thing. In the 20th century, it was effectively responsible for eradicating smallpox. Nowadays, though, its politicisation and mission creep have become so all-consuming that it finds itself far too busy playing politics to devote any time or resources to the public health issues wreaking havoc all over the world.

Instead of fighting malaria or meningitis, the WHO is preoccupied with bullying governments around the world into enlarging their nanny states in an impressive variety of ways. Its so-called ‘Tobacco Free Initiative’ pushes not only for much harsher restrictions on cigarette sales, but also cracks down on healthier alternatives to smoking which help people quit, such as vaping.

The WHO wants new taxes on sugar and salt and new advertising restrictions for what it deems to be ‘unhealthy’ foods. It believes women of childbearing age should not consume any alcohol whatsoever. In other words, it is hell-bent on eliminating even the smallest pleasures from our lives, in pursuit of some dystopian, indulgence-free, miserable world in which every aspect of our lives is policed intensely and we all eat grey sludge.

Rather than policing our lifestyles, the WHO should return to its core purpose. In the aftermath of a pandemic, the work of the WHO is more vital than ever. But its mission creep into myopic and misguided efforts to change the everyday consumption choices we make is distracting from plans for future outbreaks, not to mention spawning countless new threats to public health and civil liberties.

The WHO needs to get its act together. Hiring Gordon Brown as an “ambassador for global health financing” won’t help.

The problem is a quite fundamental one. The WHO is wielding a huge amount of power to affect policy decisions all over the world, acting like a supra-state – but without any accountability or democratic checks and balances. It is nothing more than a closed-door coterie of like-minded elites from all four corners of the globe who conspire to come up with creative new ways to accumulate more and more political bargaining power.

And yet, countless governments – including our own – seem content to maintain this charade by forking out for its funding (to the tune of billions of pounds per year) and lending it unconditional credibility by treating its utterances with undeserved respect when they are politically convenient.

That does not change the reality of the situation. The WHO has no right to make decisions about our politics and our lifestyles on our behalf. It has no mandate and no authority. It is nothing more than a handful of individuals from only one side of the debate taking decisions for everyone else on the planet. It claims to represent ‘parties’ but, in reality, it is a dangerous echo chamber.

How can we expect a balanced, evidence-led debate on any area of public health policy when so many stakeholders, including law enforcement, the media, the relevant industries, and even the general public – you and I – are so brazenly excluded from the dialogue?

But the awful situation at the WHO is unlikely to change any time soon because Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the incumbent head of the WHO, looks set to win a second term at the helm unopposed.

Tedros, it seems, will be granted a mandate by the WHO’s inner cabal to continue his disastrous leadership of the organisation, meaning that when the next pandemic rears its ugly head, we will not be any better prepared.