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Migration “made worse by simplistic rhetoric”, Tory MP Liam Fox tells the Big Issue

Once David Cameron’s Defence Secretary, Sir Liam Fox is now urging politicians to “get a grip” and act on “reality” over “prejudice”.

Liam Fox

Liam Fox. Image: Martin Dalton / Alamy Live News

As campaigning for the UK general election gets underway, the Big Issue has spoken exclusively to Sir Liam Fox, long-standing Tory MP and former cabinet minister in David Cameron and Theresa May’s governments.

In an interview for this week’s Big Issue, out today (Monday 27 May), Fox calls on his fellow politicians to “get a grip and make your judgements based on reality and empiricism, not on instinct and prejudice.”

Urging governments to make global water and food security a top priority, Fox accuses his peers in parliament of politicising issues that should be seen as scientific fact.

“The data is there and unless we want to fall back into an anti-Enlightenment society, we better wake up and not smell the coffee but read the figures,” Fox says.

“I still hear people on both the left and right of politics saying ‘I don’t believe in globalisation.’ Well, that’s nice, that’s like saying, ‘I don’t believe in nighttime.’

“In business they’ve understood globalisation much better than in the world of politics. Politicians don’t really like globalisation very much because it limits their ability to have an impact over their own domestic events.”

So Fox is woke on climate related issues which includes migration, a situation he notes in his new book as being “made worse by simplistic rhetoric”. Rhetoric from government focuses on demonising people coming to our shores and “not the causes,” Fox admits.

“We have got to try to get our debate out of the weeds and start to focus on bigger issues, because those bigger issues will have a huge impact on us, whether we want to think about them or not.”

Liam Fox wrestles with these issues in his new book, The Coming Storm, which tells the story of water from how it arrived on Earth eons ago to how it influenced our evolution. It also points out potential pressure points regarding scarcity, global security and its importance in healthcare and climate change.

“When Boris [Johnson] relieved me of my cabinet duties in 2019, I decided to spend some time doing quality reading on climate,” Fox tells the Big Issue. “From my own position with a science background [Dr Fox was a GP before an MP], what did the science actually tell us?”

Being out of the thick of it helped Fox appreciate the bigger picture. “It’s not so much being outside as having the time. Government is very siloed. We think of our economics in one place, we think of security and risk in another and so on. We need to learn to join the dots.”

You can read the full interview with Liam Fox in in this week’s Big Issue, out now. Find your local vendor to buy a copy, or subscribe online, at bigissue.com

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