The Young Communist League has issued an updated statement on the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic in response to the fiasco at Downing Street.
- YCL: Tory government’s response to Coronavirus is criminal – 13 March 2020.
- Communist Party of Britain statement on the COVID-19 crisis – 19 March 2020.
- YCL: negligent Tories failing to protect working people from COVID-19 – 21 March 2020.
- Common Announcement of Communist Youth Organisations on the COVID-19 Pandemic – 3 April 2020.
- YCL: Tory lies and negligence in face of mounting COVID-19 crisis – 24 April 2020.
- YCL: Tory negligence has killed tens of thousands; the drive for profit risks millions – 11 May 2020.
The ongoing media circus surrounding Dominic Cummings is symbolic of the wider approach of the UK Government’s response to the Coronavirus Crisis.
In doing so, Cummings has issued a slap in the face to the sacrifices being made by everyone across Britain. Thousands of families have been unable to go to the funerals of key family members, unable to support those they love, unable to celebrate Easter, Eid, birthdays, weddings and other occasions. Everyone has sacrificed everyday freedoms and many their lives in order to protect others. Meanwhile Cummings, an unelected weasel thinks he sits above the law and has put peoples’ lives in danger while also damaging the legitimacy of the required measures.
The Durham Miners Association released a statement noting that “Cummings’ shameful actions are an insult to our communities & the values that bind us together. We look after each other. We do not put people in danger through acts of blatant selfishness.”
Cummings’ actions have stripped away any credibility that the government had and have significantly reduced support for the ongoing lockdown measures, which were already failing to protect the most vulnerable members of society. Amid the fury at his actions, it is crucial to remember why the lockdown is needed: to save lives.
Reports have already emerged that people are increasingly becoming frustrated, and are breaking the lockdown measures, travelling unnecessarily, without social distancing. Members of the Government’s key scientific advisory groups have all highlighted the effect of Cumming’s actions and the added difficulty it presents for those trying to beat this virus.
All this does is serve Cummings and the Tory Party’s wider purpose – to end the lockdown and reopen the economy in the interests of profit over people’s lives. Instead it is crucial that we direct this entirely justifiable anger at this corrupt Tory Government. Cummings must resign, and those Tory MPs and supporters who stand by his actions have to go as well. Many Tory voters, particularly from the North, are starting to see the mask slip. It is our job, as part of the wider labour movement, to maintain this pressure to get rid of Johnson and his lackies in government.
Across the country, communities have been coming together to support each other. Building upon this solidarity, we have to ensure this continues long after the crisis is over. The selfish individualism at the heart of neoliberalism, demonstrated so explicitly by Cummings, has come to an end, and it cannot be allowed to continue. As schools in England plan to open from next week, it is essential that pressure on Johnson is maintained, and support offered to teaching unions aiming to protect the lives of children.
Cummings’ power amid all of this signifies the underhanded politics at the heart of this government. An unelected advisor has seemingly more power than the Prime Minister, as Johnson rushed to defend his actions. Today Cummings held his own press conference to take questions, an entirely unprecedented move that highlights the ongoing shift to consolidate power in the far right wing of the Tory party.
During the press conference, held in the Rose Garden at Downing Street, usually reserved for the most important of announcements (e.g. announcement of Tory/Lib Dem Coalition Government in 2010), Cummings further highlighted his contempt for ordinary working people, arriving half an hour late and failing to answer crucial questions.
Cummings clearly tried to complicate and overload the public with information, in a poor attempt to obfuscate the situation. However, his attempts to blur and mask his wrongdoing have not worked. Cummings defended his actions repeatedly, saying he did not regret what he did, further highlighting his contempt for the lives of ordinary families. He also tried to blame the media for public anger, rather than accepting any wrongdoing.
People are angry, and rightfully so. We must turn this anger against the government, for their inability to protect working people. There cannot be one rule for them and one rule for us.
Young Communist League
25 May 2020