YCL: “6 months of criminal negligence & profiteering by the Tories leave Britain dangerously underprepared for a second COVID-19 spike”

The Young Communist League has issued an updated statement on the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, in response to the arrival of a second spike across Britain and the imposition of new lockdown measures.

It has now been over 6 months since Britain first went into lockdown to fight the first escalating wave of coronavirus. Even then, the vast majority of scientists agreed that this had come too late and that the government had mismanaged the crisis. They resisted calls for an earlier lockdown in order to keep the economy functioning ‘normally’ for as long as possible. Gambling with the lives of working people, to protect private profits and the value of shares in the City of London.

It was only the bravery and civic duty of working people and the heroic efforts of key workers which prevented an even bigger crisis. Despite this, due to government incompetence and carelessness, Britain has one of the highest infection rates and the highest death rate in Europe. Tragedy, mostly preventable, has hit every working class community across Britain.

In March, Boris Johnson and his Tory Cabinet promised that the next 6 months would be used to prepare the country for a potential second spike expected in the winter. But the delay in implementing a lockdown was just the first in a long list of Tory errors which have continued since. PPE shortages were followed by hundreds of millions paid for PPE that wasn’t safe or paid for at inflated prices from firms linked to Tory ministers and donors or Dominic Cummings.

Exploitative private sector outsourcer’s Serco are due earn around £500 million from contracts, including for the failed track and trace system. The complete failure to implement a credible track and trace system has been key to the government’s total failure to get to grips with the crisis. Other major economies have managed to keep infection at far lower rates and to reopen the country far quicker using far cheaper public track and trace systems.

Only weeks ago the government was encouraging people ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ and talking of forcing civil servants and other workers back to work in densely populated city centres and elsewhere –  regardless of the health risks. Now we have Tory and SNP ministers blaming young people and those visiting family members for a second spike.

At the same time Britain also faces the most severe economic crisis in the EU and among G7 economies. The Tories much celebrated furlough scheme is actually one of the least generous in Europe. Their decision to cut it short now, with no adequate replacement, has the scope to result in millions more unemployed before the end of the year. While the government have been eager to provide as much cash as possible to big monopolies, millions of workers have been thrown on to Universal Credit. We face the prospect of a lost generation of young people with no opportunity for employment or education or a dignified life.

School and university students have been thrown back into classes without proper protection and safeguards in place. The exam results fiasco and the current crisis with university students being locked in their halls, possibly missing the festive period with their families, are characteristic of the government’s complete disregard for the lives and future of the youth.

Britain’s youth and workers face an ongoing crisis as Britain’s ruling class and their Tory Party mismanage the COVID-19 Pandemic. The priority of the Tories and the SNP has been to use the crisis to attack workers rights and living standards and to hand public money to friends and private sector firms. Kier Starmer’s Labour Party have given the government the green light and tacit support for all their policies, completely failing to call out criminal negligence. In this context, Britain’s Communists are calling for a ‘Popular Front’ alliance against Tory and SNP policies that put the interests of big business above those of working people and the youth.

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

There won’t be a return to a ‘normal’ any time soon if the Tories and devolved administrations are not forced to tackle the crisis. Even then, their ‘normal’ wasn’t working for working people. We can’t allow them to continue to use the crisis to attack worker’s rights and living standards and to transfer hundreds of millions of our money to privateers.

2021 can’t be another lost year for Britain’s youth and working people. Only a concerted struggle by working people now can prevent this.

Executive Committee
Young Communist League

28 September 2020
London, Britain