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The Prime Minister’s latest combination of conflicting assurances to encourage children to mix in school after a period of cautious protected isolation over Christmas followed by a very strict lockdown, ordered at the end of the first day back at school, can only be judged as a conscious decision to spread the virus using school children as vectors. The extremely rapid timing of the PM’s U-turn leaves no other conclusion, but an intention to cause deliberate harm to the most vulnerable members of the UK population with his cruel ‘Slaughter of the Sheeple!’ This Tory Government fully realizes that extreme poverty and the dire housing crisis that they created has forced many families to move in with grandparents in multigenerational households where the children are functioning as vectors for Covid 19. These are the people that Johnson contemptuously deems so worthless as to be considered expendable. Our PM is among global leaders who have manipulated the Pandemic to comit Genocide, or perhaps we should call it ‘Covicide.’
In the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “One of most irresponsible, disgraceful public health things I’ve ever seen,” they say, “If you only watch one thing on Johnson’s new lockdown, make it this expert’s take.” They included Video footage of an interview with, “Health expert Adam Hamdy, who has provided numerous reports and analysis to the government on the pandemic and the steps needed to fight it and who is in constant contact with other leading health experts and epidemiologists.” He was featured, “live on Socialist Telly on Monday evening as Boris Johnson made his announcement of England’s new lockdown.” Regarding the stricter lockdown he stated that, “It was no surprise to anyone, as the change had been thoroughly leaked by Downing Street to the media. But Hamdy spontaneously tore into Johnson, when the news was confirmed, in a way you will rarely if ever see on the so-called ‘mainstream’ media.”
Skwawkbox remark that, “Hamdy zoomed in on the fact that only yesterday Boris Johnson had been encouraging parents to send their children into school this morning, and that in doing so, he shattered the period of isolation that would have made grandparents and other vulnerable relatives safe to care for them, only to reverse that position on Monday evening and expose them to the greatest risk.” This was unforgivable, but it was no harmless error of judgement on the part of this Tory Government, it was a well calculated and maliciously conceived intentional population cull. Why? Hamdy explains that, “in shattering that safety, he has fuelled the lethal spread of the virus that is already so far out of control by World Health Organisation standards that it is barely imaginable.” Skwawkbox urge, “If you only watch, and share, one thing about Johnson’s announcement, make it this. You will not see its like elsewhere.”
In promoting the broadcast Skwawkbox say, “Hamdy was joined on the programme by front-line teachers, teaching union representatives and parents, in an unmissable discussion that also laid bare the stress and anguish of teaching staff. Watch the whole Skwawk Talk episode.” This was posted in tandem with another excerpt from the Presentation, “Video: teacher describes stress he and his teacher wife feel about dangerous classroom conditions. He spent Xmas preparing for online classes.” Boris Johnson’s calously tricking the public into using their own children to act as vectors in his nation wide cull of our most vulnerable citizens, with his shallow pretence about concern over the academic harm of school closures on disadvantaged children. This is truly despicable from a Tory Government who don’t give a toss about whether those same children starve, or go to school so hungry they are unable to function properly or learn. How does childhood starvation during the years of learning impact their life chances?
Skwawkbox are cranking up the fight-back with regular interviews broaching subjects you will not see aired on the BBC. An earlier Skwawkbox Article promoted, “Tomorrow on Skwawk Talk on Socialist Telly at 7.30pm: professor’s ‘mind-blowing’ revelations of the effects of poverty on children,” they said, “In a Socialist Telly first, live questions will be taken from the channel’s Twitter feed.”
They reported that, “Tory policies have inflicted such hardship and hunger on millions, one in three, of the UK’s children that the UN’s special rapporteur Philip Alston condemned them as a ‘disaster for the poor’ and the UN’s humanitarian agency for children, UNICEF, has been forced to feed UK children for the first time in the organisation’s history.” This should be enough to shame this Tory Government into taking immediate action, but they are far too busy trousering the bonanza in profits to be made on obscure private contracts loosely related to their shambolic mishandling of the Covid 19 crisis.
In the run up to the worst and most deprived Christmas in living memory, the Skwawkbox had announced. “Tomorrow night’s Skwawk Talk on Left Media TV (Socialist Telly) will feature what Liverpool Labour MP Ian Byrne has described as a ‘mind-blowing’ presentation by professor of paediatric health Ian Sinha on how that poverty and hunger impact poor children’s development and life prospects, even down to a cellular level: Byrne, who has seen the presentation and will also participate to talk about his ‘Right to Food’ campaign, and in a new step for Socialist Telly, both will take questions that viewers can submit to the Socialist Telly Twitter feed. Millions of children in the UK are living in poverty and will face a bleak Christmas, so don’t miss the chance on Monday evening to find out more about what they face and how to help them.” You can still access, “Socialist Telly on Twitter or the SKWAWKBOX Facebook page – make sure to follow the accounts on all platforms and share this article to raise awareness.”
I quoted McCann’s confusion over the PM’s assertion on Sunday when he insisted with regard to schools that, “The risk is small.” I relayed how Sky News had reported that, “During an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr he clearly stated that schools were safe, and parents should send their children back if their school is open. Boris Johnson had cited advice from Public Health officials about the safety of schools, but this was written before the spread of the new coronavrius variant, which has been rising rapidly in younger age groups, though it’s still not causing serious illness.” But the warning was apparent as McCann pointed out, “The prime minister’s message, coupled with his repeated assertion that coronavirus restrictions will get tougher in some parts of the country… …no timetable for when changes could be made, or an explanation about what a potential new Tier 5 could entail.” Then, directly after encouraging children to mix in school, after isolation over the holiday, he ordered a lockdown later on Monday!
The Morning Star Article entitled, “The NEU shows what a fighting union looks like,” marks another positive step in the progressive left’s fight-back to elevate people, especially children, over profits. “When teaching trade unionists realised that the government was ignoring the advice of its own scientific advisers, they stepped up to defend pupils, staff and communities, says Robert Poole. The latest U-turn, I’ve lost track of how many we’ve had now, sees primary schools switching to remote learning. This dramatic about-face comes only a day after the government refused to heed the calls of scientific advisers, doctors and teachers. This victory should be laid at the feet of brave National Education Union trade unionists who made the decision to refuse to attend unsafe workplaces on Monday morning.” With the Labour Party ‘under new management,’ why wasn’t Sir Keir Starmer outspoken in support of these key workers who had sacrificed so much. The Captain of Capitulation was still loyally supporting the Tory PM!
Poole reports that, “Teachers and support staff up and down the country invoked their individual right to protect themselves, their families and the NHS.” He said, “This can’t have been an easy decision, especially as it had to be made as an individual rather than collectively as is the case with strike action. This was, though, the correct decision and one that only needed to be made only due to the government’s chaotic handling of the situation. Bringing all pupils back into classrooms when the rate of infection is so high was a reckless decision. Even though the Prime Minister went on the Andrew Marr Show to order parents to send their children to primary school in England (except London of course), reiterating that it was safe to do so, schools very clearly were not safe. When you look at the statistics, it is obvious that schools are the engine of disease transmission, and Johnson finally admitted this in his announcement on Monday night, saying that schools were ‘vectors of transmission’.”
Poole rightfully asserts that, “Schools are not safe, they never were and until we have a vaccine they cannot be. It is also almost impossible for the government to make this claim as the Department for Education has admitted that it ‘does not hold information related to the number of deaths as a result of Covid-19.’ In fact I sent a question months ago asking what its predictions were and received a response that it did not hold any information on this. So it has not only not modelled the disease but also not collected any data it would seem. Thankfully children still seem to be less affected than adults, but we must remember that schools also have teachers and support staff in them and that pupils can also take the virus home with them. The question is what damage did the government do with it’s dither and delay? Three million primary schoolchildren were ordered back to school on Monday. That is three million little vectors mixing with numerous households before returning home.”
Poole describes how, “When trade unionists realised that the government was ignoring the advice of its own scientific advisers, they stepped up. Rosa Luxemburg is quoted as having said that ‘the most revolutionary thing one can do is always to proclaim loudly what is happening’.” He said, “that is what the National Education Union did with a mass meeting online viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, suggested to be the largest union meeting ever. The NEU proclaimed to the country that the government was ignoring its own advisers and putting the nation at risk and if the government wasn’t going to do anything then it would have to. The place I want to be right now is in my classroom with my pupils. I don’t know any teacher who relishes the thought of a full day of Zoom lessons.” People who do not have close friends who are teachers fail to realize the immense volume of work expected of teachers outside the classroom quite aside from the burden of providing online lessons.
Poole justifiably claims, “We should not have been forced into this situation. We must not rest on our laurels but think now about the challenges going forward. We can be certain that we will need the collective pressure of trade unionists across the country to ensure that the working class does not lose out. That’s why the NEU has put forward a 10-point recovery plan to ensure this doesn’t happen. Among other things, the government has said that GCSE and A-level exams will not go ahead. We must ensure that pupils receive a fair grade and there is not a repeat of the debacle of last summer. The government has also said it will provide more laptops to pupils. We must ensure that every pupil can access remote learning. We must also ensure that free school meals will be given to pupils who qualify.” All of these issues are really important considerations that require union solidarity. It is time to expose the reality that debunks the PM’s ‘lev…up’ lie and brace against the harsh truth of Tory ‘Decimating Down’ with austerity.
Poole optimistically reports that, “The NEU’s proposals are far reaching. These are ambitious suggestions which will require significant investment if we are to meet the challenges of an uncertain future. The union added 16,000 new members over the past few weeks, 6,000 of them this weekend alone. Hundreds of members have expressed interest in becoming reps. By looking closely now at how well different districts, branches and workplaces organised will be invaluable in the coming period. Our current situation should be seen as a stress test. An opportunity to find strengths and weaknesses and plan for our next struggle; this is what a fighting union looks like and it is about time.” The NEU have set an impressive example of solidarity, plus the massive increase in Union membership is very encouraging. If this growing strength and bold vision can be emulated in other sectors then perhaps the working poor can be rescued from the increasing exploitation the Tories have planned for our post-Brexit future.
Back at the very beginning of June 2020, Byline Times Chief Medical Officer wrote an article entitled, “Blinding Science Boris Johnson is Unravelling a 200-year-old Tradition of Public Health” Byline Times said, “Dr John Ashton, a former director of public health, argues that the Prime Minister’s handling of the Dominic Cummings scandal is a tipping point in the politics of the COVID-19 pandemic.” He said that, “Since COVID-19 made its appearance in January the language of epidemiology and public health has dominated the mass and social media alike. Arguments over numbers, the meaning of Ro and Re, trend lines and histograms have competed for headlines on a daily basis with speculation over the vicissitudes and moral failings of the Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings and other government advisors.”
Ashton complained that, “Evidence-based politics has become a thinly veiled disguise for politically manipulated science. We have been invited to accept that the arcane machinations of statistical modellers from Imperial College, Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine represent ‘Science’ of the highest order; perhaps to be seen as on a par with Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, where the equivalent to E=MC2 might well have been brought down from the mountain by Moses himself. For the past three months opinion has been dressed up as solid facts the provenance of which is too complicated for the comprehension of other scientists, never mind the media or, God forbid, the public at large.” Ashton goes on to list some of the ridiculous ‘facts’ that didn’t stand up:
• On TESTING AND CONTACT TRACING. In a country with such a robust and resilient public health system, it was said that the WHO Director General’s instruction to ‘test, test, test’ was an irrelevance, applicable only to underdeveloped countries. The truth was that we no longer had the capacity to test and trace because Andrew Lansley’s disastrous NHS reforms of 2013 and the centralisation of Public Health England had stripped bare the capacity of local and regional public health teams to fulfil their historic mission.
• On PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT. Unique to this country it was decided to downgrade the risk of the virus from a ‘High Consequence Infectious Disease’ requiring full personal protection for those in clinically exposed roles to ‘ Haz Group 3’. This enabled the government to pass off the failure to maintain supplies of personal protective equipment for major incidents as irrelevant in the face of a less serious viral threat.
• On the DISCHARGE of thousands of INFECTED HOSPITAL PATIENTS to CARE HOMES, starting a second epidemic that would kill thousands. This was dismissed as a misunderstanding and a misrepresentation — that no clinician would have knowingly done that — just one of many such examples of outsourcing the blame for decisions by sleight of hand.
• On allowing MASS GATHERINGS to take place in Bristol, Cheltenham and at Anfield in the week of 9 March, on the grounds that people at such gatherings are only in close contact for a short time, insufficient to spread the virus.
• On the DELAY in instituting a LOCKDOWN in March on the grounds that the public will tire of it and it will be difficult to make it stick. Despite treating the public like children from the beginning of the emergency the level of compliance was extremely high but sadly too late to prevent thousands of deaths. These could have been avoided if it had been implemented earlier, according to former Chief scientist, Sir David King.”
That was when Ashton commented, “The Gloves are Off” saying that, “From early in February, when it first became apparent that the Government was failing to get a grip on the emerging public health disaster and that its advisors were failing to provide the informed challenge that was their responsibility, those of us who tried to raise the alarm were first written off and disparaged as ‘ranting’ and somehow deranged. Later, as the emperor’s clothes came into clearer sight, became the object of a politically orchestrated campaign as being political, left-wing loonies, unrepentant ‘remoaners’ and worse. However, the public has become increasingly suspicious that, in setting up the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientist together with a confusing array of deputies as a Praetorian guard, we have been led down a rose garden path in which evidence-based politics has become a thinly veiled disguise for politically manipulated science.”
Ashton had reported that, “If the week beginning 9 March 2020 was the one in which the UK epidemic spiralled out of control, the last week of May, the week of the Dominic Cummings’ rank hypocrisy is another; political intimidation of the BBC to control an independent-minded Emilie Maitlis; desperate attempts to divert attention from the meltdown of government support by a reckless abandonment of lockdown; the humiliating put-down of the Chief Medical and Chief Scientist by the Prime Minister at a press conference. Last week will surely stand out as a tipping point, not only in the political management of the COVID-19 emergency but also in a reappraisal of the place of public health, its representatives and its institutions in national life.” Boris Johnson’s fierce protection of his wayward Special Advisor, insisting on keeping him in post as if he had committed no wrongdoing, seriously enraged the British public, some of whom had refrained from visiting dying relatives to adhere to restrictions for the greater good.
Ashton describes, “Two Centuries of Policy Undermined,” saying, “The roots of public health run deep in the UK. The origins of the study of epidemiology ( literally ‘the study of that which is upon the people’) lie in the urban slums of the industrial revolution and the poverty studies begun by Rowntree and continued until today by Marmot. The tradition goes back 150 years to the epidemics of cholera that led to Liverpool appointing William Henry Duncan as the world’s first Medical Officer of Health in 1847; John Snow famously confronting the select vestry in Soho to remove the handle from the Broad Street pump in 1854. The scope of this calling was first describe by Charles Winslow, in 1920, and subsequently revived by our former Chief Medical Officer Sir Donald Acheson in the 1980s:”
“The science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting physical health and efficiency through organised community efforts for the sanitation of the environment, the education of the individual in principles of personal hygiene, the organisation of medical service for the early diagnosis and treatment of disease, and the development of the social machinery which will ensure to every individual in the community a standard of living adequate for the maintenance of health.”
Seven months ago Ashton warned that, “Now is the time to remind ourselves of our proud history of public health over that almost two hundred year period, and to be aware of the cul-de-sac of treating it as a purely technical rather than a political endeavour.” Sadly the PM is still not listening as he remains driven by his own personal priority to ‘spin’ the headlines rather than keeping the public appropriately safe and well informed. As we face the duel crisis of Covid 19 and dealing with the negative fallout from Brexit, the British public deserve more than bluster and lies from the incompetent showman who slithered into Downing Street after the dubious result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. We will need courageous Trade Unions like the NEC to gain strength and show their muscle, byt the only way to set the UK on track for a meaningful recovery is to correct injustice by challenging the legitimacy of the result with an Investigation to expose the truth thereby removing Boris Johnson and his corrupt Tory cabal from office.
DO NOT MOVE ON!