YCL: Tory negligence has killed tens of thousands; the drive for profit risks millions

The Young Communist League has issued an updated statement on the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) in response to yesterday’s (10 May 2020) government announcement attacking lockdown protections.

According to official government statistics over 32,000 have now died in Britain as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This places Britain behind only the United States in terms of overall number of deaths, having overtaken Italy and Spain in Europe However, even these shocking statistics are misleading. The real total is far higher due to government efforts to obscure figures and a choice not to include deaths in care homes and the community. The total number of excess deaths is estimated to be around 56,000 as of today (11 May 2020).

Behind each of these deaths is an individual human tragedy and terrible loss to families and communities. It is indisputable that a massive proportion of these deaths were avoidable. They are the result of government negligence and the decision to prioritise profit over human life.

The government was slow to implement a lock down in order to allow private businesses to keep running for as long as possible and to avoid a shock which would affect the value of shares in the City of London. It was only mobilisation by working people and the trade union movement which forced them to take action. Months into this crisis there is still no comprehensive testing regime.

The government has missed its 100,000 a day target for the last 8 days in a row, and have only hit the target once, having obscured the numbers to include tests being sent out, rather than tests completed. Only as of today are individuals entering Britain being made to quarantine themselves, just one example in a long list of failures which rest at the door of this government. This is not simple negligence. It is a calculated gamble with the lives of working people in the interests of private profit. 

We all know Boris Johnson is an enemy of working people. But his latest announcements are an open declaration of class war. He will make us pay for Covid-19 with our lives – many already have.

Workers on the frontline have been without PPE for months and many without any social distancing or safety measures. Yet this government, this cold and callous government, feels it appropriate to send people back to work, with infections still at alarmingly high rates.

Astoundingly,  yesterday’s announcement of the government’s move to a so-called “Stay Alert” policy gave working people less than 12 hours notice, before they were expected to be back at work, ahead of a massive and entirely unclear change to restrictions. This shift has given unscrupulous employers carte blanche to force workers to return to work without PPE and without proper safety measures in place. He is forcing working people to take unsafe commutes, putting transport workers at an even higher risk. He is putting our NHS on the line and our health and social care staff under more pressure.

The shambolic press briefing from Johnson today confirms the inadequacy of the government’s approach. Lacking clarity, the Tories aim to shift the blame off their shoulders and onto ours. This cannot be allowed to happen. There can be no return to ‘normal’ once this crisis is over. ‘Normal’ wasn’t working for working people. The pandemic has exposed the real priorities of the Tory government, Britain’s ruling class and the capitalist system. Working people have been left dangerously exposed by attacks on our NHS and the lack of a manufacturing base which could have been used to produce ventilators and PPE.

Not only has the pandemic exposed the callous nature of our Tory Government, it has also exposed the inadequacy of social democracy. The Labour party have failed to fully stand up for workers’ rights. The blame also lies partly at their door. Keir Starmer, and his right wing lackies in the Shadow Cabinet have, in a few short weeks, managed to roll back any of the successes of Corbynism within the Labour Party. Rather than fighting tooth and nail to protect working class communities, we have a Labour Leader, who cannot even explicitly offer support for Trade Unions. 

The devolved parliaments in Scotland and Wales are to be applauded for their integrity in maintaining existing guidelines to protect working people. However, failures remain, with PPE shortages still at critical levels. The SNP’s support for landlords, and their failure to protect renters, also represents a key area where their pro-business agenda comes to the fore.

Britain’s working people and youth can’t afford the ruling class’ bill for the mismanagement of the crisis. Working people need to mobilise for a ‘Popular Front’ alliance against Tory policies that put the interests of big business above those of working people and the youth.

The recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic will be grossly uneven, unless we fight. Monopolies and big business will attack the working standards of living people and squeeze out small business, unless we fight. The Tory Party will try and shift the burden through another decade of austerity and hand public funds large companies through privatisation, unless we fight.

The time to fight is now. If you are not a member of a trade union then join one TODAY.

We need to organise and build strong Trade Unions TODAY.

It’s your workmates, your workplace, your health. 

Join together collectively with your workmates and fight for safe working practices! 

Britain’s bosses can’t gamble with our lives. We won’t pay for their criminal negligence.

No return to the ‘normality’ of the ruling class.

The fight starts now.

Executive Committee
Young Communist League

11 May 2020
London, Britain

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