So now there is a “stark warning” from government that at the current rate of COVID-19 spread, there could be 50,000 infections/day by mid-October, if new measures aren’t taken to “suppress the virus”...
Advisors Vallance and Whitty appeared on BBC TV against a sombre grey background, this time on their own, to relay the message. Yes, no political “minders” accompanied them. Johnson wanted them to be taken seriously, because thanks to his zig-zagging policy and the latest fiasco over testing, public mistrust and the open flouting of rules has been growing - and many regard Vallance and Whitty as mere government apologists.
That said, there is no doubt that the rate of spread of the virus is increasing. The picture here is replicating - 2 weeks later - that of France and Spain. The reasons for this are obvious. In the absence of a vaccine, the only way to prevent the virus spreading is for us to keep away from each other. The infection rate went up not long after all lock-down restrictions were relaxed and holiday-makers returned to work. So no, “we did not drive the virus into retreat” as Johnson claims!
It’s common sense that it’s not possible to go abroad, return to work, school, or university, travel on public transport or eat or drink “out” - and at the same time “suppress the virus”!
And if young people have been getting sick, this is not due to their “irresponsible social mixing”, but government policy which sent them into social situations at work, pubs, cafes, etc.
But now, in taking new measures, “liberty and the economy” come first, for all the politicians and on all sides of the House. “There must not be another lockdown” says Labour’s Starmer.
Well, if these politicians did want to stop the virus, there is no balance to be struck, as they claim, between their profits-first economy and the population’s health: another lock-down would be needed. But only because there is no social infrastructure left in this country, under public control, to implement the kind of “test, trace, isolate and treat”which would be needed to cut the spread of Covid - as was successfully done in China and countries like Taiwan and South Korea. Or even in the poor Indian state of Kerala! The irony of this is obvious!
Johnson’s latest rules are now to be subject to large fines or prosecution: instead of collective responsibility and adequate social provision, there is the “rule of law”. That says it all about this society - which is why it is so urgent that we fight to change it... collectively.
We can and must prepare to resist the job cuts: share the work!
Given the pandemic’s huge effect on jobs and rising poverty levels, one might wonder why the Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference last week was such a non-event.
Who even knew that it was taking place, except a few full-time trade union officials and bureaucrats? And even fewer probably took any interest this year, because it was all on-line - and so there were no all- expenses-paid holidays to Brighton or Bournemouth!
Actually this is not surprising. After all, the TUC leaders long since abandoned any form of resistance against the bosses, let alone against the capitalist system. So all they offer is good advice to the bosses on how they can maybe exploit workers just a little less!
But nevertheless, the main issues confronting the working class today, did get discussed even if all the TUC could come up with as a solution, was a polite request to the government to extend the furlough scheme!
So yes, they highlighted the fact that 695,000 workers have dropped off company payrolls since the beginning of the pandemic. And that the hardest hit are 20-24 year-olds (as well as those over 65, for obvious reasons). But this is the tip of an iceberg to come. Whether Sunak extends the furlough scheme or not, many more jobs will be lost. And to imagine that the capitalist sharks will suddenly take their millions out of the bank and create “green jobs” - as the TUC seems to think, is to live in the cloudy land of cuckoos.
So what is to be done? Are we in too weak a position to fight back? Not at all. The working class has fought back in far worse situations than the one we are in. Even in the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s, workers consciously organised themselves, often without any union support, to force the bosses to take on the unemployed and share the available work.
Indeed, no matter how bad things seem to be, no matter how overwhelmed we might feel, we have no choice but to stand up to the bosses' offensive against jobs, and force these greedy blood-suckers to back-pedal. Once we have done that, it will be our turn to go on the offensive and take control of society from this small and ever-shrinking exploiting class which, during this coronavirus pandemic has so conclusively proved its total and lethal incapacity to take care of social needs.