“We are all in this together”

George OsborneGeorge Osborne told the Conservative Party Conference eight times:

we are all in this together.

This is a powerful message.

When 15 million peopleĀ  face starvation in East Africa this Christmas, let us say:

we are all in this together.

When twenty thousand children die tomorrow from easily preventable and treatable diseases, purely because they don’t have enough money to buy drugs that cost cents to produce but for which we charge rich world prices, let us say:

we are all in this together.

When the developing world demands proper compensation for their part of the atmosphere, which we have filled up with carbon emissions far beyond our share, resulting in the risk of destruction to entire nations, let us say:

we are all in this together.

When the people of the Niger Delta demand a share of the wealth lying beneath their ground, and an end to the environmental destruction caused by our oil companies so that we can drive our cars and cool our houses, let us say:

we are all in this together.

When we complain about corruption in the developing world, forgetting that all the money that pays for those bribes comes from us, and then choose not to prosecute our own companies that pay the bribes, let us say:

we are all in this together.

When we continue to be one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of arms in the world, fuelling conflict all around the world, but are more concerned about a hundred jobs on the Isle of Wight, let us say:

we are all in this together.

When people are forced to leave their homes, their family and their country because they lack freedom or face persecution, or because they cannot find work that pays them enough to support their family, and they look for a new beginning in rich countries, and we decide how we will treat asylum seekers and immigrants, let us say:

we are all in this together.

When the world’s poor demand fair payment for their coffee, cocoa, and minerals, and for their labour which provides us with the cheap clothes and electronics which we take for granted, let us say:

we are all in this together.

When the world economy recovers, companies of the rich world begin to prosper, when bankers get their bonuses again and the rich start to become richer, and we decide how to share the proceeds of that growth within and between nations, let us say:

we are all in this together.

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Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and