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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Slow motion disaster

A GRIM milestone was reached on Tuesday when it was announced that that the death toll from COVID-19 passed the round figure mark of 100,000, a statistic proportionally amongst the worst in the world. Johnson got his retaliation in first by saying he took “full responsibility for the government’s actions”, adding: “We truly did everything we could.” At the same time, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for England warns that the death rate is likely to fall only “relatively slowly”, adding that the lockdown was only “just about holding” in lowering infection rates.

On the same day, predictably dire unemployment figures were announced. One would have thought that an opposition party would be way ahead in the polls by now, but Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is not. This is because he has not been doing any of the opposition that is the duty of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, a fact that even Johnson made fun of when being “grilled” by Starmer in the Commons.

Starmer does of course have other matters on his plate, such as persecuting his predecessor and his followers out of the party allegedly to make it more electable. This has not proved very successful. His opposition to demands from the education unions that schools be closed to stop the spread of infections did not do anything to distance him from the Tories.

The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has just resigned over his Government’s handling of the crisis that which has resulted in 85,000 dead. Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis was not exactly successful and did much to contribute to his electoral defeat, but Johnson survives in office. The fact that he almost became one of the 100,000 British fatalities might have done him some political good just as the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan boosted his popularity to unprecedented heights.

Even former Tory Chancellor George Osborne has mocked Starmer for his ineffective opposition, whom he criticises for his constantly changing demands about who should be the top priority for vaccination according to whatever press release was issued that day. This is from a man who unsurprisingly welcomes Starmer replacing that “dangerous Marxist” Jeremy Corbyn, and who is critical of Johnson’s Government for having presided over a public health and economic disaster.

Despite the fact that health matters are in the hands of the devolved assemblies, there have been only cosmetic differences in approach and with broadly equal outcomes as regards both the health and economic matters, despite the enormous public relations efforts made to convince us otherwise. The only positive achievement of the SNP Health Secretary has been to make the Tory one look like a genius in comparison.

It is not always sensible to take every word of advice from doctors too seriously. After all, medical advice about eggs changes on an almost weekly basis from being a health food to a poison. This crisis is one of the occasions that medical advice needs to be listened to however, especially as they have more experience than even just a few months ago.

Outright deniers of the existence of the coronavirus and opponents of vaccination are mercifully rare in Britain compared with the USA, but the recent outbreak of violent protests in the normally boringly sensible Netherlands prove they are a factor to be taken into consideration and need to be opposed before they do any more damage. Those who cannot resist a good party are another danger and need to be dealt with.

For decades people have been fed rubbish by the bourgeois media, so in some cases it is not surprising that they do not always believe what comes from officialdom until it is too late. The task for communists is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and not leave it to ‘the great and the good’.