No to school reopening and a forced return to work – for a general strike to kick out the Tories out

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WHILE the Tories were hailing the relaxation of the lockdown rules that came into effect yesterday in England as a giant step forward, senior public health officials were making a last-minute plea for them to scrap any easing.

The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said that the new rules are ‘not supported by science’.

ADPH president Jeanelle de Grouchy said they are ‘increasingly concerned that the government is misjudging the balance of risk between more social interaction and the risk of a resurgence of the virus, and is easing too many restrictions too quickly.’

It is not a question of the Tories ‘misjudging’ the risk of a massive spike in the coronavirus, they are being driven by the overwhelming imperative to force workers back into any jobs that remain regardless of any health risk.

All else is secondary to the Johnson government, despite all the lying claims by ministers to be ‘guided by science’. This can be clearly demonstrated over the massive efforts to force a reopening of schools.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), in an interview on Sunday said: ‘The government’s plans on reopening schools since they were first produced on May 12 have been changed 41 times. And that’s because they’ve constantly had to be revised as things they have forgotten, things they didn’t know, and things they got wrong had to be added in.

‘That’s hugely added to the stresses of school leaders and teachers, because we have a government who, they think, is simply just making it up as it goes along.’

Bousted pointed out that the government’s ‘five tests,’ which they claim are ensuring a ‘sustained and consistent’ fall in the rates of death and infection from the virus, have not been met according to members of the government’s own scientific advisory body SAGE.

Professor Peter Horby, chair of the New Emergency Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), along with fellow SAGE scientists Sir Jeremy Farrar and Professor John Edmunds, have all warned that ministers are taking a risk by easing lockdown.

Last week the UK recorded a higher rate of death (approaching 40,000) than any other country for which accurate data exists – the highest rate in Europe and second only to the US – a deadly record achieved by a Tory government that refused to introduce restrictions when the virus was beginning to spread like wildfire.

It is a mistake to see this as just Tory ineptitude.

Since it was forced to lock down after its proclaimed policy of achieving ‘herd immunity’ – of letting the virus spread throughout the country unchecked – met with the massive resistance of the population, the Tories have worked day and night to force a return to work regardless of the consequences.

School reopening is pivotal to their plan as it releases workers from childcare responsibilities. The stakes for the Tories couldn’t be higher with manufacturing reported yesterday to have slumped at the fastest rates since records began and the economy crashing under the impact of the world crisis.

If they are to salvage anything from this historic crisis a forced return to work is essential for the capitalist class, and if it costs the lives of workers and their families that is the price worth paying as far as capitalism is concerned.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds warned that parents must not be put in a difficult position if they feel it is unsafe for them to send their children back to school.

The Labour and trade union leaders throughout have abandoned any responsibility for leading the working class, instead placing the responsibility on the shoulders of individual workers and parents to make decisions under the intense pressure from the Tories and bosses.

These leaders must be removed and replaced with a new revolutionary leadership that will instruct union members to refuse to return to work and send their children to unsafe schools in order to keep the bosses in profit, and mobilise the entire working class in a general strike to bring down the Tories and go forward to a workers government and socialism.

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