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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2020

Covid and poverty rising - Welsh lockdown ends with little progress

Cwmcafit/CC

Cwmcafit/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Joe Fathallah, Cardiff East Socialist Party

Wales emerged from a two-week lockdown on 9 November. There is little evidence that the 'firebreak' introduced by the Welsh government had much impact on the spread of the virus.

Case numbers are still rising. Seven local areas have a positive result in at least 20% of tests, and nearly a third in Merthyr Tydfil. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says restrictions should be maintained until the figure is less than 5%.

Over 1,300 people in Welsh hospitals have the virus. NHS workers report intense pressure on their ability to treat patients.

First Minister Mark Drakeford was pressured to introduce restrictions in the hope that they will be enough to allow a normal Christmas in Wales. But once again the Welsh government has opted for half measures which won't contain the spread.

Maximum profits

Drakeford focuses on limiting personal freedoms while leaving maximum freedom to make profits. The firebreak was not used to accelerate the development of mass testing.

A properly functioning publicly funded 'test and trace' system would probably have meant the second lockdown wouldn't have been needed. The Welsh government should have broken with the Tories' nepotism on this.

Once half term was over, schools were open to all but the oldest children. These measures are to make sure parents of young children are kept working, but do significant damage in containing the virus.

On the other hand, far-lower-risk environments, like small shops, have been forced to close. The restrictions were imposed in crude top-down fashion.

In an attempt to pacify small business owners - forced to shut their shops and on the verge of bankruptcy - Drakeford announced supermarkets would only be allowed to sell 'essential items', so they didn't cut across sales from local shops.

This led to a significant backlash. People pointed out that a can of beans isn't much use without a tin opener.

If small businesses genuinely need assistance to survive the restrictions, then this should be provided directly from the Welsh government.

Socialist Party Wales demands:

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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.

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In The Socialist 11 November 2020:


News

Capitalists vs working class - not in it together

Tory U-turn: Free school meals

Tory U-turn: Furlough extended - not enough to save jobs

Covid and poverty rising - Welsh lockdown ends with little progress

Covid law used against striking workers - for workers' control of safety measures

Schools need union action for safety


US election

After the polarised elections - what way forward?

Trump out! But mass workers' struggle needed

Trump is out - our readers react


Spycops

Spycops inquiry : why the capitalist state feared and continues to fear socialism


Workplace news

Rolls-Royce: Lancashire workers' strike shows the way to fight aerospace cuts and job losses

RMT union AGM votes to defend union democracy

Sainsbury's and Argos: Closures, cuts and soaring sales

Fight the witch-hunt of Corbyn and his supporters


Campaigns

Donate to the Socialism 2020 appeal now!

Solidarity with Manchester students - fight for democratic control of campus safety

Southampton trade unionists demand: "We won't pay for Covid"

Labour movement conference to defend Corbyn and discuss new party

The struggle for a new mass workers' party

Selling the Socialist


Review and readers' opinion

Trotsky's ideas live on in the CWI

The Socialist Inbox

Readers of the Socialist react to effects of lockdown


 

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Related links:

Wales:

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: The National Question - Scotland, Wales & N Ireland

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Should Wales be independent?

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: Should Wales be independent?

triangleLocal, Wales and mayoral elections

Poverty:

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier

triangleLife in lockdown - being home from school when you're poor is hard

triangleMake the super-rich pay, not the poorest

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Lockdown:

triangleTeachers: On the front line, in their own words

triangleThe Tory blame game: scapegoating the working class - 100% pay for all now

triangleLockdown 3.0 - fight to make our shops safe!

Covid:

trianglePolice use Covid laws to intimidate BLM protesters

triangleVaccine confidence - a worker's response

Government:

triangleNews in Brief

Welsh Government:

triangleWelsh schools close for safety after union pressure

Test:

triangleMass testing - we need trade union oversight and full pay for all

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