Fighting Covid19 – government must put the people first

Graphic from Keep our NHS Public

Coronavirus – a socialist response

The coronavirus pandemic confronts our society, in particular our National Health Service, with an unprecedented challenge. Staff and public services infrastructure are already at breaking point after years of underfunding. This will not be fixed by last week’s panic budget, launched with much bluster but shamefully no significant boost for elderly care and no plans to protect private renters – nearly one fifth of the British population – from eviction or rent arrears. This petition calls for that to be corrected.

Over 70s are being told to self-isolate for four months and the NHS must rent 8,000 private hospital beds at a cost of £2.4million a day. To its credit the GMB union is demanding that private beds must be requisitioned. Sign their petition here.

The Keep our NHS Public campaign says, “A return to the founding principles of an NHS for all – embodied in the vision laid out by Nye Bevan in ‘In Place of Fear’ – would immediately strengthen our response to the COVID-19 threat.” Read their statement here.

In the face of a dangerously inadequate government response, labour movement and community organisations are stepping in. This site lists self-help groups as they spring up around the country. A Zoom online meeting has been organised for Tuesday March 17 to discuss how the left should response to the Coronavirus. Click here to join in.

No ethnic or national group should be held responsible for the coronavirus, and all socialists will be horrified that some individuals have been subject to verbal and physical attacks because they were presumed to be Chinese, or Italian, or to have some connection with a place where the virus is prevalent. However the government can be blamed for having one of the world’s least adequate responses to the epidemic, according to the WHO. We must demand that they act swiftly in the interests of the community at large, putting people before profits.

We endorse the statement by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in which he said:

“I fully understand the growing public concern around the virus and the number of cases, and legitimate questions are being asked about why the UK government’s advice differs from that of neighbouring countries….

“We also believe the government must take more comprehensive steps to ensure insecure, self-employed and unprotected workers are not forced to choose between health and hardship, and are able to take time off work and self-isolate if necessary, in the interests of us all. We will hold the government to account on this.”


Comments (12)

  • Diana Neslen says:

    I am appalled to read that Ashworth the Labour party health spokesperson has allied with Hancock and thus supports the governments’ unbelievable position on Covid-19. This is a position that tolerates the explosion of the virus with its fatal consequences for those with pre existing conditions and older people.

  • Elizabeth says:

    couldn’t agree more. Capitalists are profiteering already – the NHS must not PAY private hospitals for their beds , these beds must be requisitioned. A teaching agency just rang me up to ask me to teach today in a state school – the young man had no idea about the urgency of the situation, OR that Eaton and Harrow had closed already. We are the only country, in Western Europe, not to have closed schools yet.

  • Anti-fascist says:

    This could be very useful.

    The left has – hopefully – got there before the fascists.

    Mutual Aid groups are springing up in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

    See here, as example, for Glossop in Derbyshire.

  • Starrie says:

    This is the people over them. Heal the divide between the voters.
    This is the wake up the uk need and its blown the top off the level of corruption. Literally crimes against humanity.

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    What exactly did you read, and what was the source? Your comment appears to contradict the statement by Corbyn

  • Dee Howard says:

    I’m rather worried that, with the Corona Virus being the main news in newspapers and on TV and social media, the Tories might sneak something terrible under the radar while we are not looking.

  • Richard Kuper says:

    Putting Covid-19 in international perspective, it is the poor and the oppressed who are the most vulnerable.

    Witness this report by Ahmad Al-Bazz on Mondoweiss on the situation in Palestine: “‘The situation is horrific’: Palestinians face coronavirus crisis at West Bank checkpoints

  • Doug says:

    Can JVL confirm any discussions they have had with any of the Labour leadership candidates and how they feel each candidate is best qualified to lead the party
    Kind Regards

  • William Johnston says:

    Dee Howard

    “I’m rather worried that, with the Corona Virus being the main news in newspapers and on TV and social media, the Tories might sneak something terrible under the radar while we are not looking.”

    What is worrying is that this government are indeed sneaking something in, but are doing so in full view, under the pretext of protecting us.

    It is worth reading this:

    There may not be much that we can do about it; but we certainly need to be aware that it is happening.

    Might this not be a moment to campaign for a government of national unity?

  • Margaret West says:

    Concerning a Govt of National Unity – this was discussed
    on the excellent “The Week in Westminster” program today
    on R4. When BBC is good its very very good indeed!

    It was decided that there was plenty of cooperation already
    but the Opposition should be there to scrutinise and if
    necessary criticise. There is, indeed plenty to criticise and
    this has come from all quarters including even Tories.

    The problem is that the current punitive systems are hard wired into
    the Economy and are difficult to dismantle ..

    I think that on the whole most of those in power are doing their best
    because – belatedly – they realise that “No Man is an Island”. Those people they have treated so badly and stigmatised as “low skill” because they do the mucky jobs have proved to be absolutely necessary to everyones health and well being ..

    Whether this attitude will persist after this is all over – well we will have
    to make sure it does.

  • Anti-fascist says:

    Matt Hancock said today that he wants travellers on the London Tube to be “spaced out”.

    Does this foreshadow a change in government policy on recreational pharmaceuticals?

  • Preserving life is an overriding Jewish value. The biggest peacetime danger to life since 1918. The UK projected to have the second highest rate of deaths per million of population, second only to the USA. Tories have us stockpiled and prepared for war, but not for viruses predicted by Bill Gates way back in his 2015 TED talk. Johnson chose eugenics strategy, then veered to inadequate measures, late, under pressure from The Lancet. And Labour’s plan is … to support Johnson. Clapping the health workers (as they march, unprotected, to their deaths) is naive. Demand full PPE now from every house and street. Make posters for your windows. Bang noisy saucepan lids on Tuesday 8:00 pm.

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