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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 May 2020

Going viral - Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic is a world social crisis which touches every aspect of life. The iniquities and failings of the capitalist system are being exposed, and workers and communities are organising in response.

Send us your comments, reports, anecdotes and thoughts, in not more than 200 words (we reserve the right to shorten letters), to [email protected]

Cummings must go

Dominic Cummings, photo RadicalLarry1/CC

Dominic Cummings, photo RadicalLarry1/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Readers respond to Boris Johnson's power behind the throne, Dominic Cummings, and his incredible defence of twice flouting his own government's social distancing rules with family trips to County Durham.

In London, a city of nine million, Cummings, the top advisor to the UK government, just 'couldn't get help'?

Nope: Cummings didn't want to ask a friend to help with his son, because that would put the friend in the line of a "deadly disease." So he put his 17-year-old niece in the line of a deadly disease instead? What a fantastic uncle he is!

Truth: Cummings and Johnson's policy of 'no to social distancing' and 'yes to herd immunity' saw the R number rocket and deaths spiral in London! Cummings did a runner, fleeing the city, while Johnson shook hands and had to take up a Covid-19 bed.

Cummings' trip to Barnard Castle - on his wife's birthday - wasn't a day out. Oh, no. He just needed to take the wheel to test his eyes out! Once tested - having put everyone in danger on the road - his wife took over the wheel, and they returned to London! End of fairy tale.

Janet Gibson, Hull, Yorkshire

Would it not be better if Cummings was made PM rather than having to work through B Johnson?

Patrick Mulholland, Belfast, Northern Ireland

He has lied about everything. He (and Downing Street, for that matter) even had the gall to state the police did not speak with him regarding this matter when they very obviously did, with several officers able to recount the conversation they had with Cummings and his family. It's a clear example of "do as I say, not as I do."

I am actually really blazing mad about this. We have all had to abide by strict regulations for weeks. The overwhelming majority of people have accepted these regulations in the hope that our actions will flatten the curve and help protect lives - not to mention save the already incredibly stretched and underfunded NHS from being completely overcome with patients.

So many of us have had to take care of young children or elderly and vulnerable relatives. Others have been furloughed or lost their job. Many, myself included, have returned to our workplaces, fearful that social distancing will not be possible.

Every time I travel by bus into work, I am terrified I will contract this dreadful illness and transmit it to my family. I am trying to isolate as much as possible at home so I can minimise the contact I have with my parents.

This week I've been on leave, and it's the first time in almost six weeks that I've been able to spend proper time with my parents despite living in the same house. This is the reality for so many across the country.

The sheer arrogance of this sorry excuse of a human is absolutely infuriating. How dare he and all the rest of this government of complete charlatans try to justify this when workers and our families have been thrown to the wolves?

Jac Green, Corby, Northamptonshire

Dominic Cummings travelled 250 miles with his family to Durham to stay with his parents while potentially infectious with Covid-19. It's not just Cummings, though.

Yet ordinary people are fined for lingering in a park alone or cycling too far. Clearly the Tories cannot be trusted to protect the public.

Neill Dunne, Wavertree, Liverpool

And anyway, Cummings couldn't have been in Barnard Castle, because he was at a Pizza Express in Woking! This is distinctly memorable because it was very unusual for him to visit a Pizza Express, especially one in Woking. Witnesses say it was miraculous to see him devour an entire American Hot without breaking a sweat!

Rachel Jenkins, Telford, Shropshire

Freudian slip by the BBC presenter on 25 May when he said that Johnson stated Dominic Cummings had acted "irresponsibly, illegally..." He then gave Johnson's actual quote, but the slip was more accurate!

Juliette Fogelman, Romford, east London

So the Cummings family 2020 Covid Rodeo continued on a romp to nearby Barnard Castle, in the region of the UK worst devastated by the coronavirus. No bother. It's all good. My partner and I, and our health and social care colleagues, really aren't troubled by the destruction and misery wrought on the North East as we toil away with death omnipresent in our daily lives.

William Jarrett, NHS worker, North Shields, Tyneside

Cummings and goings all day long, it appears. Another revelation and he could be gone as Johnson's adviser. But it's the whole Tory cabal we need to see the back of - and their reckless Covid policies that sacrifice tens of thousands of lives for profits.

Niall Mulholland, Forest Gate, east London

Government statements increasingly resemble the ramblings of Donald Trump's "campaigning" media! A 13-year-old dies alone in hospital, as do countless elderly patients. One elderly woman, having been sent home from hospital a day after her husband dies, died alone.

Yet a government advisor is exempt. One law for the rich...

Sue Powell, Gloucester, Gloucestershire

As most Tory frontbenchers try to excuse Dominic Cummings' disregarding of lockdown laws, some on the Tory backbenches break ranks and demand his resignation. With EU negotiations needing to reach a meaningful agreement by June to avoid a disastrous no-deal Brexit, these divisions in the Tories will only worsen.

If Dominic Cummings can ignore the government, then teachers and parents should do likewise, and refuse to return to schools on 1 June.

Ryan Aldred, Plymouth, Devon

Cummings must go, and go now!

John Viner, Isleworth, west London

Scotland virus incompetence

How to spread a virus in a small country like Scotland, by the SNP government.

Learn about an outbreak at Nike's international conference in mid-February in Edinburgh. Keep it secret, and stop contact tracing and testing on 12 March.

Move elderly patients from the Govan super-hospital - despite having enough bed capacity - across the city to Gartnavel. 25 of these patients die as over 80 are infected. Discharge 1,000 hospital patients into care homes in one month, without testing them.

Matt Dobson, Glasgow, Scotland

Wales virus incompetence

It's good the Welsh government has not followed Johnson off the cliff and announced the reopening of schools in Wales in June. But don't sit back and think they've done all that's necessary to keep us safe.

Virus reproduction rates in Wales are among the highest in Britain, thanks in no small part to reckless private companies like EE dragging as many employees as they can get away with back in to work.

The Welsh Government should give trade unions the power to determine whether a workplace is safe to reopen - or the unions should take that power themselves.

Ross Saunders, Cardiff, Wales

Bring back football?

As the lockdown continues, it's not so much the football I am missing but the sense of solidarity. Last weekend I should have been at Wembley cheering my team to promotion alongside 90,000 fans, but that can wait.

There are more important things now. You can't visit relatives, friends have been critically ill, and the bosses' attempt to bludgeon us back to work must be resisted.

When football does resume, it must do so safely. But what sort of football will it be, and when? Club owners have spent weeks squabbling, with their conflicting commercial interests, over how to end this season - let alone start next season.

It is unclear even whether it makes commercial sense for some lower leagues to resume next season without fans present. And so some owners, many of whom are multimillionaires or even billionaires, push the case for a bailout.

Let us be clear: they might be the legal owners, but the fans are the moral owners. While I have supported my club, it has had at least a dozen different owners. Mostly they have been short-term, seeing if they can make a quick buck and then sell on.

No bail out for the multimillionaire owners. If clubs are in financial difficulty, and this is highly likely, any public funds should be for community ownership of clubs - clubs run democratically by elected fans, staff and community representatives, for the benefit of the local community.

David Maples, Clapham, south London

No return to 'normal'

Their 'normal' should never be returned to. An underfunded NHS being sold off at an alarming rate; poverty pay and insecure employment; homelessness, unaffordable rents, and poor housing conditions; the planet being destroyed at an alarming rate. This is their 'normal'.

We don't want that 'normal', so they can take it and shove it where the sun don't shine. Let's get organised and fight back! The new normal can't be the old normal that failed the majority of us!

Dave Moody, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Tory library cuts

You gotta laugh, Justine Greening banging on on Newsnight about libraries complimenting education. Well, that's what they did do, before your party closed them all!

Nancy Taaffe, Walthamstow, east London

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 27 May 2020:

What we think

Reckless lying cheats


Schools aren't safe

United action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan

International news

Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

Coronavirus news

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

More blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

Eerily quiet before second wave - don't reopen schools!

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief

BAME Covid-19 deaths

Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

Workplace news

Strong union response needed against job cuts

No return to unsafe construction sites

Energy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

Lessons from history

The 'Lucas Plan'

1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"


Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20

Fighting fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis

Readers' opinion

Going viral - Socialist comments and letters


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