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This past Sunday Andrew Marr said, “Ministers had their ‘Traffic Light System,’ their ‘Five Tests,’ their daily monitoring of the ‘R’ number, but, all across England at any rate, the simple message has now been heard and, for the moment, a great Lockdown is beginning to end.” Like a deer caught in the headlights this Tory Government keep robotically repeating their insane messaging in the vain hope that a fantasy pledge repeated often enough will convince the public of its vanishing reality. The critical ‘R’ number is based on vague, well massaged, estimates rather than the solid data that could have been available if we had not abandoned community testing in mid March. Like everything within the Tory agenda, policy is based on a maliciously manipulated set of lies!
Marr elaborated on the obvious caveats preventing the economy roaring back into action, those unable to return to work due to access to childcare, the schools with teachers refusing to return unless proper testing and safety measures are in place and he didn’t even touch on the chaos of public transport. He said “we are still playing cat and mouse with this virus and to be absolutely clear, we are the mice!” Who among Marr’s guests would help to move the conversation forward with valuable enlightenment and who would continue papering over the cracks? It is only worth focusing attention on the former because we are already totally deluged with Government dictates, their reckless public messaging, blatant propaganda and incessant ongoing deception.
Labour’s new Deputy Leader was a former Care worker; Angela Rayner was Shadow Education Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn so Marr asked: “Do you think the schools should reopen on the first of June?” Rayner replied, “Well I think it’s really important that we recognize that schools are open actually and have been open throughout this whole crisis, for vulnerable children and children of frontline workers, so I think it’s important that schools feel safe, in bringing, in introducing more pupils back into the classroom as quickly as possible. And I think what Gavin needs to do, the Education Secretary, is publish the science to why they are making the decision they are making now and insure that there is testing and tracing which he promised yesterday that on the first of June that would be available, but at the moment we have not seen any evidence that they can provide that, they haven’t got the staff in place that they said they needed to have the tracing. So testing and tracing and isolation is really important to tracking the virus.”
Marr probed further: “and as you say, safety is everything, but have you seen any evidence at all that schools going back would be less safe for teachers and children? Because you know you look around the world and there seems to be no outbreaks of Covid based on schools anywhere.” Rayner confidently replied, “well we know from the science and the experts that children can catch the virus and we believe that they could transmit the virus, we’re not entirely certain. So we have to make sure that obviously the Social Distancing measures where possible are in place.”
Rayner went on to emphasise the dire consequences, “We know that teachers have died as a result of catching Covid, so it’s important that when we introduce more children into the classroom that we’re able to test, track and trace wherever the virus is and take action to isolate it and that’s important for wider as well as we ease the lockdown. Cos I believe we were too slow it to take lockdown decisions and we’ve been too quick, without the provisions in place, to ease the lockdown and it’s really important to track that for the ‘R’ rate.” <
Marr tried to negate her point saying, “but this is all about how we measure risk individually and collectively and Ann Longfield, who is the Children’s Commissioner for England has pointed out that of the 62 in the NHS, attached to NHS Hospitals were where able to stay open 60 had absolutely no Covid problems at all. In other words, and the ones where there were Covid problems were related to people coming into the nurseries not the kids, so it seems that it’s pretty safe for children to be mingling in nurseries or schools.”
Rayner stuck doggedly to the science and the need to establish solid testing data saying, “well I think if we’ve got these tests and the tracking and tracing in place for schools that would reassure parents and Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, has said that on the first of June that will happen. I want to see Gavin working with the parents to reassure them publish the science behind why they are saying the 1st of June, we do want pupils, as many pupils as possible to go back to classrooms as quickly as possible, but we’ve got to reassure the teaching professionals, who do want to see their pupils back in school as quickly as possible, that it’s safe to do so and that we have the provisions in place to make that happen and that means testing has to be there. We’ve seen in Care Homes what happens when you don’t have that testing and now we’ve seen the difficulties at Care Homes.”
Ignoring the dire Care Home analogy, Marr was determined to discredit Rayner’s logical provisos, citing a few centrists, “the other side of the equation in schools a whole series of former Labour Education Secretaries, David Blunkett, Charles Clark, Anan Johnson have all said it’s really, really damaging what’s going on in terms of social divisions, kids left behind, inequalities starting right at the early stages, these are all being worsened quite fast by the fact that the schools are not back already and it’s really, really urgent to get the schools back and the Unions should be backing that.” It was another plea to do the Government’s bidding, no questions asked.
Rayner fended off the attack by saying, “well it’s important to recognize that teachers have been working throughout this process to get home learning the education, the DFE department has been trying to insure that home working is available. I think that it’s patchy they need to increase that because we know this virus isn’t going away, we need a vaccine so in the meantime we need the testing regime, we need the support there for the hybrid model of some pupils being back at school when it’s safe to do so and others that are going to have to continue to work from home and that the DFE and the Government have to support the teachers and the professionals in doing the right thing and supporting their pupils.”
Rainer Continued, “And I want to place on record my thanks because we’ve seen the tremendous amount of work that teachers and teaching professionals have been doing to help our children over this period and I think the DFE and the officials there have been working incredibly hard in extraordinary times. Now is the time for them to come together to reassure parents and make sure that plan us in place.”
Marr’s next line of attack was to demand, “so what’s the Labour Party’s attitude towards Liverpool and Hartlepool which are saying we will not reopen schools on June 1st do you back them?” Rayner defended their decision saying: “well if you look at what Andy Burnham has said in the Guardian last night the communication from Government in terms of the safety measures for areas like greater Manchester like Liverpool, like the northeast, has been patchy so the information hasn’t been there. We believe the “R” rate is higher in those areas in those regions and therefore we want the Government to publish the science behind it and to provide the support.”
Rayner continued, “So for example in greater Manchester we’ve seen we had 12 hours notice for people to go back to work and yet our transport system was not put in place geared up to help people to do that safely and guidance for workers wasn’t there. So we’ve got to make sure that the PM and the Government are working with our regions to insure that they know that it’s safe and they’ve got the resources to support for people going back to work and back to school.”
Marr was searching for a standout headline insisting, “So for the time being, you support those Councils saying we will not reopen schools on the 1st of June?” Rayner resisted handing him a tabloid punch-line by sticking to logical caveats, “I urge the Government to publish the science and to insure that the testing and tracing is in place to safeguard. Councils want to make sure that their citizens are safe I support entirely in trying to do that. I urge the Government to not make the mistakes it made in the past and to publish the science and to give them the resources they need to make sure we help people as much as possible to do the right thing to keep themselves safe.” It was all far too reasonable to get trashed in the media so Marr moved on.
Shifted to a new topic Marr reminded the viewers that: “I mentioned at the beginning you worked in a care home yourself before you became an MP, became a politician, how badly so you think we have let down Care Homes?” Rayner was justifiably scathing saying, “Terribly badly, I mean If you look at what the 26,000 deaths that were in April from the ONS figures 18,000 of them are additional deaths from last year’s figures. Therefore we’ve seen that the only ones that are related to Covid are 8000, that leaves 10000 unaccounted for deaths within the Care Sector. There should be, there should be some investigation into that and Keir Starmer has requested that as every single death is tragic. We’ve had medical experts Andrew, who have said we seeded the virus into our Care Homes and the guidance wasn’t there for Care workers. I think they’ve been tragically let down.”
In a devious pro-Tory tactic Marr agreed: “They have been tragically let down. Let me put it to you by Labour Governments as well as Conservative, this is a long term problem, the ignoring of the Care Home sector, the underfunding of the Care Home sector and in Wales for instance, where Labour is in charge, we’ve seen exactly the same problems about lack of testing in Care Homes. So this is something that both of the main parties at least have to share responsibility for?” Nice try Marr, spread the blame around like marmite on toast…
I was really relieved that Rayner did not fall into the classic far-right media trap of accepting any share of the blame on behalf of the opposition for shambolic Government policies that have caused so much chaos, damage and unnecessary death. Rayner kept her cool to respond by citing the blatantly obvious, “well the national framework from the Government and the guidance that was set out was totally inadequate.” This focused the responsibility for the “Holocaust in Care” solidly with the Tories who are trying to cull the “economically inactive” pensioners by seeding Care Homes with Covid 19. Rayner made exactly that point saying, “We allowed people to be discharged and the Government were pushing them to get people out of Hospitals as quickly as possible without the testing, so as the Medical experts said we seeded the virus in Care Homes.” The Government was responsible for that. Period!
Rayner continued, “Care Home workers are not given the support that they needed to help and they’ve been doing a tremendous job many of my ex colleagues are not even paid the real living wage, half of them are not paid the real living wage, so, and there not even able to get statuary sick pay in many cases to do the right thing when they need to self isolate. So the Government has really let these Care workers down and really let people down. They really do need to step up, even the guidance now is saying that they won’t have that testing regime in by the 6th of June. So they’ve really got to step up now. We’ve seen the devastation and the effects of what’s happened because the Government failed to do that. They’ve got to go with the experts and you’ve got to provide the support; our Care workers cannot continue to be undervalued as they have been in the past.”
Marr tried for another line of attack targeting an outspoken Labour MP who dared to blast the PM with both barrels. The enabling Tory press and the BBC consider this not playing ball so Marr balked at the criticism of Boris Johnson saying, “Your former shadow cabinet colleague Dawn Butler said recently, ‘I think the Prime Minister’s actions are pretty disgraceful he is literally sending people out to catch the virus,’ do you agree with that or do you think Labours been a little bit too aggressive in its response to Government with this?” If anything a growing number of people in this country would like to have heard several opposition PM accuse this Government of criminal negligence and genocidal policy decision making, which is what they are still trying to actively pursue!
Rayner’s response was justifiably self assured as she insisted: “well no because Keir Starmer has been quite clear from the start that we wanted to be a constructive opposition and honestly Andrew, I really want them to succeed. I was working with the DFE as the Shadow Education Secretary and I was working with Gavin to try and make sure that provisions were in place and I think that’s the absolute right thing to do, but we are supposed to call out when things are not done correctly.” Marr tried to interrupt, reluctant to let his slap-down fizzle out so easily; he butted in, still aggressively on the attack with, “sure, but it’s not exactly cooperative, it’s not exactly constructive in the middle of a crisis to use that kind of language is it?” It is certainly extremely well justified if you intend to prevent a mass “Slaughter of the Sheeple!”
Rayner defended the Labour stance saying: “well what Keir said and he said at PMQs, he made it absolutely clear, 26,000 deaths 18,000 additional deaths this year from the ONS figures 10,000 unaccounted for in Care Homes. That’s something that he’s right to highlight and ask people what’s happened there because those relatives deserve to know the answers to why their loved ones died and to insure that as we lift the restrictions that the expert advice is followed and it’s published so that people can have confidence in that.” Marr had run out of road so he thanked Rayner and let her go with that important message solidly drummed home without ridicule or rebuttal. We have too few opportunities to hear the opposition criticism of the Government while the BBC host the Tory Party Political PR stunts on a daily basis under the euphemistic excuse of airing an important press briefing.
Despite the deeply disappointing change of leadership, there is still fire in the belly of the Labour Party. It would be hard for centrist factions that are gathering strength and enabling current Tory tactics to change the Labour agenda set at Labour Party Conference shortly before the disastrous Covert 2019 Rigged Election. A few months from now and the rot will set in moving the Labour Party back towards the establishment accepted right. An investigation of the Election results would not only remove the legitimacy of the Tory Government it would restore the credibility of the wrongly ousted former Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The best hope we have for this country is to take this action as swiftly as possible to restore justice, sanity, safety to prevent any further “Slaughter of the Sheeple!”