WITH British capitalism up to its neck in hundreds of billions of debt, and with the middle class small proprietors ruined, the cry is going up to end the coronavirus lockdown of the UK economy. It is due to finish at the end of June as is the Chancellor’s massive giveaway, paying 80 per cent of furloughed workers wages, at a cost of £380 billion.
The big bosses want action now. When the giveaway ends in June the UK will face 11 million unemployed, a cure that will be far worse than the coronavirus cause, says big business. The virus has already caused 20,319 deaths in hospitals alone in the UK.
In fact, the British ruling class was completely unprepared for the pandemic, after a 2016 Tory government inquiry gave up, after concluding that the UK would not be able to cope with such a prospect.
The government exercise four years ago predicted a deadly virus from Asia would arrive in the UK and leave the NHS on its knees. The findings were not published because the results were ‘too terrifying’.
Epidemiologists from Imperial College London told government ministers what Britain would look like seven weeks into a pandemic. Exercise Cygnus showed a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors and nurses, inadequate numbers of ventilators and mortuaries overflowing.
The results were never revealed. Instead the bankrupt Tory government went on slashing and smashing the NHS, battling the junior doctors in the process, and proving in practice that it was an aider and abettor of the epidemic.
When the crisis hit it did nothing but express its fear that the NHS would be overwhelmed. One feature of this crisis was how rapidly the virus took hold in care homes wiping out thousands of the elderly.
It has now been revealed in two policy documents published on March 19th and April 12th that government officials told hospitals to transfer elderly patients into care homes, and set out a blueprint for care homes to accept patients who had Covid-19 or had not even been tested.
Three weeks after the first policy document was published it was revealed that care home deaths were more than twice the rate of hospitals and has now reached 7,500 and over.
The NHS and government chiefs are now boasting that the pressure has come off the NHS and even the new Nightingale Hospital in the City of London is empty – the fact is that the care homes took the strain and that hundreds of elderly people paid with their lives. They are now dead but the figures look better.
In fact, Baroness Altmann has expressed her concern that the elderly are being targeted to take the bulk of the coronavirus strain. She has warned peers in the House of Lords that older people will be subjected to a ‘blanket ban’. She said: ‘I have real fears that ministers are considering blanket bans to prevent the elderly leaving their homes during the current crisis.’
In fact, the military is taking over testing essential workers around the UK in mobile units which will operate in ‘hard to reach’ areas. This comes as the government looks to reach its target of carrying out 100,000 tests per day by Thursday to prepare the workforce for a return to work.
There is talk of issuing those who don’t have the virus with ‘immunity passports’, which will be the basis for them to return to work.
This will then leave the elderly without such passports imprisoned in their room. Pensioners are already receiving letters from the government and the NHS cancelling health appointments and telling them that ‘you should not leave your home’; ‘do not attend any gatherings’; ‘don’t go out for shopping, leisure or travel’. Also: ‘When arranging food and or education deliveries these should be left at the door to minimise contact.’ Amongst the duties of the ‘house arrested’ pensioner is to ‘aim to keep two metres away from others and ‘encourage them to sleep in a different bed’.
A pensioner without an ‘immunity passport’ or the equivalent, is to be nothing but a prisoner of the state, suffering for the benefit that ending the lockdown will bring for the ruling class.
The reality is that in the period up to the end of June the furlough scheme will be collapsed leaving 11 million workers battling for jobs and basic rights.
The issue of the hour is uniting the whole of the working class, youth and the pensioners together in a massive movement led by the revolutionary party, the WRP, to overthrow capitalism and bring in socialism!