A parliamentary inquiry has concluded that the handling of Covid-19 was “one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced”.
The MPs’ report essentially confirmed that the Tories sacrificed tens of thousands of lives with their fatal approach.
But it lets ministers off the hook. It says its purpose is “not to point fingers of blame, but ensure an accurate understanding of both successes and failures”.
That’s a cop-out because there is plenty of blame to be handed out.
The joint report says the government backed a strategy that amounted to “herd immunity” in the early stages of the pandemic.
Essentially, people were abandoned to the virus.
Despite Britain having “some of the best expertise available anywhere in the world”, ministers decided to delay safety measures.
This was because Boris Johnson wanted to put bosses’ profits before people’s health.
Lockdowns simply weren’t a financially savvy option. And there was an “inexcusable oversight” in failing to launch a successful test and trace operation.
When the test, trace and isolate system was eventually rolled out it was “slow, uncertain and often chaotic”.
The Tories decided to hand over millions of pounds to their friends to create a rotten system, ensuring they helped each other out instead of ensuring people’s safety.
Hundreds of thousands of people could have been spared from the virus if the £37 billion track and trace system had worked.
This money could have been spent on equipment and staffing for the NHS and care homes.
But the report has massive failings. It fails to identify the root of the killer policies. It wasn’t some technical or bureaucratic incapacity—it was a deliberate elevation of profits before people.
Protecting big business and keeping as many people in workplaces came first. That’s why schools were reopened too soon, and why restrictions were ripped away too early.
We already know Johnson’s response in October last year to further lockdowns was to “let the bodies pile high in their thousands”.
This should have been enough to see him gone for good.
Now, the first official investigation into the British response to the pandemic should be enough for everyone involved to resign. But they won’t.
A key factor in that is that the Labour Party and most trade union leaders went along with almost everything the Tories did.
The Tories are getting away with mass murder because there is no one organising sufficient struggle to push them from power.
Labour and parliamentary reports will never hold the Tories to account.
Only action can do that.