The first thing to say is we are approaching a quarter of a million Covid-related deaths in the UK. This is a shocking number — the populations of several towns wiped out! And it’s shocking that the broadcast media rarely mentions it. It’s as though there is mass denial across society — and especially within the right-wing establishment (within which, sadly, I include the BBC).
It is critical to remember that the Tories were slow to sanction lockdowns and hasty to end them. The sluggish response to the pandemic and the haste at culling public health measures (driven by hard-right Tories, who were a threat to Boris Johnson’s ‘rule’) caused the UK to have a shockingly high mortality rate.
With 325 deaths per 100,000 citizens, the UK has fared worse than many much poorer countries — in fact, it has fared much worse than most of the world, as this list from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine shows.
Certain Tories took advantage of commercial opportunities CREATED by Tory mismanagement and their negligence of the NHS. Whether contracts for cronies to ‘produce’ equipment they had no expertise in, the meandering mess of the ‘track and trace’ scheme or taking every opportunity to claim the private sector was critical to ‘support’ the NHS. In reality, many of the Tory-fast-tracked ventures hindered and took resources from the NHS. People who had never shown the slightest interest in supporting the NHS became like crocodiles in a bloodbath.
Tories talking up the value of the public / private ‘partnership’ seemed to me to be primarily pushing an anti-NHS and pro-privatisation narrative. MPs who I knew to be long-standing advocates of the destruction of the jewel of the welfare state were suddenly apparently fans of the NHS. But, though clapping the NHS between parties, they incessantly droned on about the importance of the private sector (even when ventures were merely leeching off society and undermining the NHS).
Prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was always especially horrified by a particular narrative the Tories routinely came out with — not least because it failed to recognise the reality of new and emerging diseases, let alone the fact that health needs don’t correlate with GDP. The disturbing narrative is that ‘they’ (Tories) can only afford to ‘invest…