Socialist Worker

Without a fightback, the Tories will survive Cummings’ revelations

Issue No. 2757

Boris Johnson looks worried - but he could still cling on

Boris Johnson looks worried - but he could still cling on (Pic: Number10/Flickr)


The Tories hope that Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds’ wedding will divert attention away from their catastrophic Covid-19 decisions

But testimony that Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings gave to MPs last week was devastating.

Cummings has exposed layers of Tory policies which led to mass Covid-19 deaths. Yet according to opinion polls, Boris Johnson seems to be getting away with it.

Hypocrite Cummings claimed that in the early days of the pandemic, “The prime minister described it as the new swine flu.”

Johnson had even suggested he be injected with the virus on live TV in order to prove that it was relatively harmless.

Cummings added that Johnson is not a “fit and proper person” to lead during the pandemic. He confirmed that Johnson said he would rather “let the bodies pile high” rather than impose a new lockdown.

And he accused health secretary Matt Hancock not only of rank incompetence but of lying to ministers.

Cummings said Hancock had reassured him and others that the NHS had adequate supplies of personal protective medical equipment. This was just as stocks ran out and panic spread across hospitals.

Hancock had also lied about ­throwing a “protective ring” around care homes. He said this as thousands of infected hospital patients were being ­discharged into their care.

After Cummings’ ­testimony, Hancock was asked repeatedly in the House of Commons whether he had told Downing Street that people being discharged had been tested. He refused to answer.

The cost of these, and dozens of other serious errors, could be measured in tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, Cummings said.

Sacked

He said Hancock should have been sacked, and that many key decision makers agreed.

But there’s also a question for Cummings.

He says that in that autumn of 2020 he came to the conclusion that Boris Johnson was unfit for office. If this is true, surely he must explain why it is that he didn’t come clean and tell everyone what was really going on.

Four opinion polls have been carried out since Cummings gave evidence. They all point to a significant Tory lead. The most recent YouGov poll predicted a huge 14 percent lead.

This shows that without opposition to the Tories, Cummings’ attacks will fall flat. The strongest response Labour’s leader Keir Starmer could manage was a column in the Guardian newspaper criticising Johnson’s “mistakes.”

He said these included i­mposing lockdowns too late. He also said Labour had called for lockdown restrictions earlier.

Yet Labour also added to pressure to lift lockdowns, at times ­demanding the government announce plans to ease restrictions.

And it refused to support teachers when they said it was too dangerous to reopen schools.

Trade union leaders sometimes criticised Starmer, but did too little themselves to stop their members being forced into unsafe workplaces.

Cummings’ revelations should be enough to bring them down—but only if we use them to build a revolt against all those responsible for the tens of thousands of deaths.


 


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