Socialist Worker

Christmas shoppers blamed for following the new rules

Issue No. 2734

Tory Christmas rules benefit bosses profits

Tory Christmas rules benefit bosses' profits


The attempt to blame ordinary people for the spread of coronavirus shows no sign of slowing down.

Right wing press sneered at people queuing late at night or early in the morning outside some Primark shops.

Around 11 shops were open all night after England’s national lockdown ended on Wednesday of last week.

And across England, bars and restaurants were busy with people after opening for the first time in a month.

But people are merely going along with what the government has encouraged.

Pictures flooded social media of shoppers filling London’s Oxford Street and Covent Garden and a Nottingham Christmas market.

It’s not that people are stupid or reckless. People are attempting to fulfil the promise of a so-called “normal Christmas” that the government is insisting should happen at all costs.

Occasional shopping trips are not driving the infections up. Reckless government policy, such as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, are.

Tory plans won’t bring festive cheer
Tory plans won’t bring festive cheer
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And even top government officials were confused about new guidelines.

In tier two areas, which affect 32 million people, pub customers were only able to be served if they were also eating a “substantial meal”.

Initially, the Covid Winter Plan document described this as “like a full breakfast, main lunchtime or evening meal”.

Yet government ministers gave conflicting advice on what constituted “substantial”.

Opening shops and restaurants is a result of the government wanting to increase bosses’ profits.

Blaming people for following the rules is not only hypocritical—it also lets the real culprits off the hook.


Starvation on the increase

Hundreds of millions of people are “marching towards starvation” due to the handling of the pandemic.

That was the message from David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme, to a United Nations general assembly special session last week. Beasley said 2021 will be catastrophic. “Famine is literally on the horizon and we are talking about the next few months,” he said.

He warned that 2021 risks becoming the worst humanitarian crisis year since the Second World War.

Mark Lowcock, a UN humanitarian affairs agency leader, said the lives of 235 million people are at stake—a 40 percent increase. Poverty is rising globally for the first time in 20 years while life expectancy will fall.

In many poorer countries just one in five might be vaccinated against coronavirus by the end of next year. World Health Organisation head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reacted to this news.

“We simply cannot accept a world in which the poor and marginalised are trampled by the rich and powerful in the stampede for vaccines,” Tedros said.

These are powerful words. But the poverty and profit-first priorities that lead to such outcomes are maintained by the powers that make up the leadership of the UN.


Ethnically diverse areas hit

Some of England’s most ethnically diverse areas have suffered up to four times more coronavirus infections than mostly white neighbourhoods. A Guardian newspaper study of England’s ten worst-hit council areas found huge disparities in the effect of Covid-19 on residents living alongside one another.

In Blackburn with Darwen, which has experienced Britain’s highest coronavirus cases per capita, the contrast between neighbouring areas is stark.

One in ten people have had the virus in Bastwell, where 86 percent of residents come from a black or Asian background.

This is four times higher than a neighbourhood five miles away where only 2 percent of people are non-white.


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