Vaccines and the need to once again fight the Covid war on two fronts

20 December 2020 - 00:00

President Cyril Ramaphosa has probably in his two years in office made more speeches than all his predecessors put together. If not so, it must be pretty close. Which probably may explain why on Monday he referred to those watching as his family. He's been communicating so regularly with us it may feel like we're part of his household. But any familial bonding seems either patchy or nonexistent. Instead, public weariness and cynicism are almost tangible.

Nations tends to come together or unite behind the leader in times of a national crisis or external threat. And often leaders with a restless public will conveniently launch an attack against some hapless foreign enemy. There's nothing like a foreign threat or enemy to appease or unite an agitated constituency. Examples abound of leaders making hay from a nation's fear or fury, at times with tragic consequences. George W Bush was highly unpopular and on his way to being a one-term president until the terrorist attacks on 9/11 stunned and then galvanised Americans. Bush seized the moment. That bellicose speech in response to the attacks - "you're either with us or against us" - proved a starting gun to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The US - and the world - is, two decades later, still stuck in that quagmire...

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.