Sunday 22 March 2020


This blogpost will be a medley. First, more insights from Skwarkbox:

'Suppress and release' plan still means letting virus spread, with huge loss of life - just in a series of peaks instead of one

Louise and I watched this BBC news item broadcast live - I remember crying out from the sofa, 'This is nonsense - it doesn't add up - the BBC is in collusion with the Government!' I wasn't wrong.

'Earlier this week, spooked by public outcry and a university report telling them that their plan would kill hundreds of thousands of people - something the SKWAWKBOX warned weeks ago - the Tories claimed that achieving 'herd immunity' was not their policy.

Herd immunity would mean simply managing the spread of the virus but allowing it to continue until almost everyone has been infected and those who recover have antibodies against the virus. At current mortality rates, vast numbers of people in this country would die.

But the Tories and their advisers have not abandoned their plan. As a BBC presentation of the government's strategy made absolutely clear last night, all that has changed is the chart and language they are using to describe it:

Even the new language used still makes clear that the plan is to allow the virus to infect people - to "suppress and
release" it.

To "turn it on and off like a tap".

The Tories claim they can do this with enough control to prevent NHS intensive care units being overwhelmed. But even if they were right, the death rate of the virus even under ideal treatment circumstances would mean a strategy of deliberately allowing huge numbers of people to die each time they 'turn on the tap'.

They'd just do it over a longer period - instead of 'taking it on the chin' all at once, as Boris Johnson described it originally. And as a vaccine is at least a year away, the total numbers involved will still be huge.

The Tory 'herd immunity' plan has not gone away. Anything but. It has just changed its clothes.'

Next, I'd like to share the insights and optimism of David Rosenberg, the author of Dave's Rebellion posts and a London socialist. Here's a taste:

As coronavirus sweeps through, it shines a beaming light on inequalities and vulnerabilities. it reveals a hopeless eugenicist government of the rich that has abdicated most responsibilities, except the ones it feels to bankers. A government that defends markets not people. In their eyes, we are simply collateral damage.

People are discovering in this crisis what many from minorities experience every day – how it feels like to be considered of secondary importance.

But something else is taking place. Waves of solidarity, that ignore artificial divides, are sweeping through our communities, as mutual aid groups spring up.

While we were reeling from the pandemic, the Windrush Report came out. It was very damning but still pulled some punches. Under pressure to avoid the term "institutionally racist", it spoke of "institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness" and "unintended consequences".

Don't take us for fools. The architects of the Hostile Environment knew exactly what they were doing, and what the consequences would be. They didn't care. A few weeks before publication the Tory Home Office were still heartlessly deporting people to Jamaica who had served time for past crimes and were trying to rebuild their lives.
The right wing media try to associate antisemitism with the left, but Jewish anti-racists know that it lives and breathes on the right and far right, where it rides in tandem with Islamophobia, anti-Roma prejudice and other bigotries.

With the economic fall-out from the virus – which will hit the working class and its most marginalised elements hardest, we must be ready to counter racist scapegoating against different minorities, especially against migrants and refugees, and argue against antisemitic conspiracy theories. We must resist all attempts to falsely divide us, but fight instead to deepen real social solidarity, real empathy, real unity, and, build, as we say in Yiddish, a shenere un besere velt – a more beautiful and better world.  The future is now.
Here's the link to the full text in David's blog:

I love David's optimism - yes, bring me hope for a more beautiful and better world.

And finally a Skwarkbox petition for recognition of the frontline troops fighting this war against Covid 19. Such bravery in the face of such incompetent and question-begging leadership:

'It is time to remake our society so that the people who are really essential are recognised and protected - instead of the usual elites. The number of people who will be putting their lives on the line in the coming months is going to be huge - and none must be taken for granted when the war is over.

A petition has been started to build public pressure on the government to commit to this recognition and reward for the incredible service that the crisis will demand of so many.

Sign it here and share it widely.

The petition says:

'As the coronavirus crisis begins to bite in the UK, our front-line staff - in the NHS, emergency services, teaching, retail and other essential roles are risking their lives to save our lives. The strain can already be seen on the faces of tearful, exhausted health workers and others.
Suddenly, millions of low-paid and undervalued workers are officially 'essential' - but when the pandemic is over, the so-called 'elites' will revert to type. We must not tolerate that.
When this crisis passes, it simply will not do for the government to make a speech about their heroism and then go back to its habitual cuts, disrespect and destabilisation of these mostly low-paid heroes.
These front-line workers are fighting a war with the virus for us, knowing many of them will get sick and die as a result of their dedication. Those who do not survive will fear that their families will be left in hardship.
When this war is over, they MUST receive not just thanks but LIFELONG
A distraught, exhausted critical-care nurse

support: a 'war pension' to ensure their security and the security of their families - and it must go to the families of those who do not survive the fight, too.
Anything less than this will be a disgrace to our nation and our humanity. Make a UK that rewards and values those who really serve this country - and do it now.'

Bring me hope - but first bring me understanding and a time to express anger. Here's more from Skwarkbox, yesterday:

Boris Johnson reacted angrily today when journalist Sam Coates dared to tell him that a hospital consultant had described the folly of Johnson's reaction to the coronavirus pandemic as 'falsely-placed optimism'.

The present PM - stung by the truth

A clearly-stung Johnson's anger grew more and more visible at the exposure of his flip-flopping and unfounded claims - but a comparison of his response with his claims and admissions yesterday showed that the Coates was absolutely right to raise the NHS expert's assessment:

Johnson's false outrage cannot disguise his culpability. He has misled the nation - and has failed even at that, forcing him to flipflop from day to day and rely, as the Tories so often do, on the media to cover for him.

But now, lives are at risk on a scale even greater than has been tragically normal under Tory government.'


  1. Does Boris think that the only people who are people are those who look and think like him? (a quote from the film Pocohantas)
    I hope that he will hear the people singing - singing the song of angry men - the music of the people who will not be slaves again.. form Les Miserables