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ADDING 8,000 beds from the private healthcare sector and some 20,000 staff was essential. It reminds us that private healthcare provision couldn’t even scratch the surface of caring for the nation’s health needs.
It reminds us too that healthcare professionals are not just brave and skilled but bound ethically to enhancing and saving life regardless of any characteristics of their patients other than their common humanity.
Compare this with bankers and big corporate capitalists. Hopefully their house cleaners will be working from their own homes and emailing instructions on how to dust.
Strangely social-care workers do not appear on the government’s essential workers list, yet they are doing extraordinary things to keep the generation that fought to give birth to the best of our world in comfort and safety.
What workers are essential? All workers are essential. Thieves, spivs, selfish stockpilers, those screaming at supermarket cashiers because of empty shelves, people who break the law and risk infection, are entirely reprehensible and are not needed.
Believing someone is less worthy than you are yourself is the fault line in the whole political system. Being scared of the majority is the other.
The most useless to us in this situation are the super-selfish, the super-rich, the super-inhuman. In shorthand it is the 1 per cent and their “filles de chambre:” the bankers, the big corporations and their disease-ridden shareholders.
Their backers in the House of Commons and House of Lords are also hopeless.
Only a government elected to enable us to get through and be independent yet newly internationalist in outlook can help. Thank goodness we got out of the EU.
For years capitalists have been killing people across the globe in wars and deliberately engineered starvation with economic policies designed to destroy wealth-creating industry, welfare and public services.
Only every individual country’s accountable government and internationally co-ordinated science, combined with the natural compassion, skill and solidarity of workers can do anything about the current situation.
Proof of the point is workers in Cuba; there they have state power and can, despite every deprivation caused by the blockade of the mighty US and its altar boys, harbour an infected ship and care for its passengers at the same time as pioneering the advanced work on the Covid-19 vaccine in conjunction with China, sending 59 doctors to northern Italy and to 39 other countries in the world.
China has selfish people, like everywhere else in the world, and the penchant of a few there for wild flesh, contrary to law, which may have caused this virulent virus, although they have now outlawed the eating of wild animals. But China also has courageous scientists and health workers who are now trying out a potential vaccine on themselves.
The problem is deeply embedded in nature. Humans can control and destroy nature. As a species we have been good at both. We’ve jeopardised the climate and understood how to rescue it. But viruses, like parasites both natural and economic, have a clever momentum of their own.
They can’t, of course, defeat us, and every time they go wild we defend and prevent, we don’t just survive but we advance afterwards. We, through technique and science, learn how to avoid difficulty in the future. That is why public investment has been the source of progress throughout the world instead of private profit.
Humans are infinitely creative, even when smothered by the dull necessity to earn a wage. Imagine how much more so if relieved of this burden?
Day by day, minute by minute we do what we do to survive. But we are no longer hunter-gatherers or small subsistence farmers condemned to a few patches of land.
We are a world of workers who have had enough of the 1 per cent. We are taking over in a new way. Governments gave the people’s money to the banks, who had been killing us for years. They made us destitute to swell the pomp of the super rich.
They now mostly, with the exception of China, Cuba, North Korea, Laos and Vietnam, intend to leave the banks and billionaires intact, self-isolated from our travails.
In Britain, that pioneer of industry, trade unions, great scientists, superb universities, exceptional social-care professionals, wacky comedians, imaginative teachers, disciplined civil servants, a magnificent NHS, a dislike of division between workers and a calm approach to radical change, we now have a revolution going on.
The people are reclaiming the nation. Socialists better catch up and help.
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