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If we're all in this together why wasn't your boss on a packed train today?

CONFUSION reigns. And whether this is the considered consequence of government policy or the inevitable result of an incompetent administration divided over the best way of avoiding responsibility for the fallout from this faltering lockdown is hard to say.

The wilfully optimistic can hope it is incompetence. Those of an incurably pessimistic intellect will conclude that it is policy.

One way or the other, the statistics tell a grim story, with particular groups of working people most likely to suffer the most damaging consequences of our government’s maladroit management of the coronavirus crisis.

The extreme vulnerability to the infection of black and ethnic minority people, the fact that key categories of workers in transport, retail and social care experience a higher incidence of infection and death, that working men in the lower-skilled occupations have the highest rate of death reveals the truths that are most often hidden in the official discourses of class society.

Every statistic tells us that where you stand in the class structure of our class society is the most active factor in charting the route this virus takes as it works its way through society.

If your job means you can work from home in an environment over which you have decisive control, then your chances of catching this infection, of being hospitalised and of dying are so much less than those who have to travel to work on crowded public transport, work close to others and whose working environment is subject to the prerogatives that class society (and the laws that sustain its procedures) reserve for the employing class.

We are not in this all together. We will know this virus is under control only when bosses travel to work on public transport and when MPs sit close together on Parliament’s benches.

So long as the Covid-19 culls CEO and top executives with the nothing like the ferocity that it levels care workers and bus drivers, we will never see an even-handed approach to managing this crisis.

If our rulers, the rich who need not work, individually fear for their health and their lives, collectively they fear more for their profits.

And this is why the monopoly media ran last week’s corrosive campaign that, in raising expectations that the lockdown was ending, weakened our collective resolve to stay at home.

The Daily Telegraph, owned by a pair billionaire brothers safely tucked away on a tax-free rock in the English Channel, and which speaks to and for the conscious and unconscious minds of the reactionary middle classes, tells its readers that “the trade unions must not stand in the way of Britain’s progress.”

The fact is that with a government of the rich and the propertied in office, the trade unions are our best barrier to the progress of this coronavirus.

A specious line of argument is promoted that the NHS has been protected, is no longer vulnerable and that production and profits can resume.

The unspoken subtext is that the NHS has proved its capacity to handle a continuing throughput of the stricken and the dying, and that maintaining a tolerable level of continuing coronavirus deaths is an acceptable price to pay for the resumption of economic activity.

The metric that measures the credibility of the government is the level of support it enjoys. Up to the weekend, it was up in the nineties. Today it is halved.

But don’t think for a moment that this Tory government is guided exclusively by polling figures. It is not your opinion that counts, but the opinions of the rich and powerful.


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