The Tories are casting about for someone to blame for rising coronavirus cases. Their current favourite scapegoat is young people.
Health secretary Matt Hancock claimed this week that young people aren’t sticking to social distancing. “Don’t kill your gran by catching coronavirus and then passing it on,” he warned.
Of course it isn’t good if people disregard safety measures. But the real threat to people’s lives comes from the Tories.
From 4 July, hailed by some MPs as “Super Saturday”, the Tories have pleaded with us to visit pubs and restaurants. Chancellor Rishi Sunak went so far as to subsidise restaurant meals throughout August to entice more people out.
And they undermined social distancing by dropping advice that people should keep two metres apart.
The government is pushing children back to unsafe schools.
And, crucially, they and their media backers are waging a propaganda war to drive people back to work. Daily Mail front pages complain that train stations aren’t crowded enough.
The Tories, not young people, are driving up risk. And their chaotic responses to the virus and mixed messages have sowed confusion. Many people rightly just don’t trust the Tories.
People in local lockdown areas have been told that family members can’t visit them at home or in their gardens. Yet they can meet in pubs, restaurants or parks.
Grandparents in locked down areas have been told they can’t look after grandchildren in their homes. But those grandchildren can go to childminders or nurseries—where they will mix with far more people.
It’s little wonder that some people disregard the advice because it simply doesn’t make sense. And the Dominic Cummings scandal has rightly left many feeling there’s one rule for them and another for us.
The vast majority of people have tried to follow the rules and this has made a difference. But the Tories are in a position to make a much bigger difference.
Young people aren’t responsible for the diabolical test and trace system—the Tories are. Young people haven’t spent years underfunding the NHS—the Tories have.
And now they are overseeing a situation where sick people are being asked to travel hundreds of miles for a virus test.
Labour MP David Lammy this week tweeted that a student in his north London constituency had been offered a test in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. As the Tories disgracefully ration testing there are many similar reports.
The Tories would love it if we got angry with people who don’t wear masks, or with young people holding parties. That would distract from their deadly policies.
But the real problem is a government that is risking our lives for the sake of profit.