THE devastating report on how the British government handled Covid should give pause for thought. Thought for bereaved families and a devastated health workforce, but also thought for modern political norms where accountability is no longer achievable or even sought.
The report outlines the political culture of arrogant dimissal with our generation’s catastrophe. It outlines how this culture led to the deaths of thousands upon thousands. The majority of whom were the most marginalised and vulnerable. It tells us how the intentional policies of sending Covid patients into homes for the elderly cut down swathes of mothers, fathers and grandparents before their time.
It is a heartbreaking and enraging read that would have shamed any other administration into resignations. But not this one. Not Boris Johnson. For the truth of this report is that it not only shines a light into decision-making, but into a way of thinking.
This British administration would make Marie Antoinette blush. Boris Johnson missing five Cobra meetings to have weekends off, to make divorce arrangements, to make birth announcements, without a word of apology or even excuse, tells us everything we need to know.
Of course, that type of thinking is infectious and we on this island did not escape the impact of the Tory pandemic catastrophe. The initial dithering by the DUP and continuing kicks against all-island approaches cost lives.
The early days of the pandemic were an arrogant litany of Covid denials, telling everyone to shake hands, visit their mothers and go to school, always couched in first person guffawish: “I shook hands” or “I am visiting my mother.” It was a deliberate denial of science, controlled by the toxic right-wing world of Brexit-mania. A fall-out from the Brexit ‘We are sick of experts’ thinking, it was a part of the anti-intellect politics that tells people experts are just as valid/invalid as conspiracy theorists.
RT @CNN: The British government failed to act quickly enough in its initial Covid-19 response enabling the virus to spread rapidly through communities & resulting in thousands of deaths, lawmakers said in a damning report https://t.co/d9VJj4cLFO— 😷 Jim From Woodburn 😷 Wear A Mask! 😷 (@JimFromWoodburn) October 12, 2021
PM Johnson on holiday in Marbella
It continues the evangelical myth that mayhem and lies are just as valid as science and proof. It also says that there are expendables in society: the old, the foreign, the people of different colour, the poor. This blokeish anti-truth crusade got Johnson the Premiership and continues to keep him there without effective opposition or even scrutiny. As long as everyone goes to Facebook for the “real story” (ie conspiracy) he is safe as houses.
And it is not over. Not by a long chalk. From making the poor pay for the economic costs of the pandemic, criminalising “foreigners”, criminalising international courts, this is one of the most right-wing governments seen in Europe since the 1930s, given the cover of normalcy because, as the clown at a bullfight distracts the bull from those pushing the swords into its flesh, the bumbling PM acts as the distraction from the real agendas of hate and plunder.
Of course, that type of thinking is infectious and we on this island did not escape the impact of the Tory pandemic catastrophe. The initial dithering by the DUP and continuing kicks against all-island approaches cost lives. How many we will come to know, but the DUP, like the Tories, will never accept blame.
The rest of us, fortunate to have survived Covid-19, many grieving the loss of loved ones, or struggling with the effects of long Covid or the scars of Covid, must now face the uncertain future with a clear eye and lessons learned. There are those with power who will never have our interests at heart and many of them reside in the seats of power in Westminster.
Independence from them cannot come quickly enough.