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Letters: Say no to the sick idea of the ‘survival of the fittest’

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Issue 2700
Reject the idea of survival of the fittest
Reject the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ (Pic: Michael Kappel/flickr)

Every day, the coronavirus pandemic further exposes the murderous nature of capitalism in crisis. A new scandal over Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) orders has breathed new life into previously unthinkable eugenic notions about the “survival of the fittest”. 

Last week new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence was judged as likely to discriminate against some groups of disabled people. 

By categorising them as “frail” it could limit their access to critical care during the pandemic. 

Days later, a Welsh GP surgery asked patients with serious illnesses to sign DNAR forms. 

This was in case their health deteriorated after contracting coronavirus.

In the same week, elderly care home residents in Hove, East Sussex and south Wales had DNAR notices applied to their care plans. 

In Leeds, district nurses were reported as asking care homes to “revisit DNAR conversations with people who said they didn’t want them”. 

What these revelations have in common is the idea that some people’s lives are worth less than others. Apparently some people need to be sacrificed because services are overstretched. 

When capitalism fails such beliefs get a hearing, and it’s people who are deemed to be failing. In the 1930s, Nazi Germany went a step further with a state policy justifying the murder of people deemed “unworthy of life”.

Deciding that one person’s life is more valuable than that of others is a decision no health or care worker should ever feel forced to make.

But the new Coronavirus Act allows local authorities to assess care and support needs of individuals at an even lower standard than previously.

And the government’s strategy to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak was dictated by a refusal to give the NHS the necessary resources.

The scandals over DNAR are the result of a sick system. It’s time to get rid of it.

Roddy Slorach

East London

Keep choice for take at home pill

Women who need the abortion pill will be able to have them sent to their homes during the lockdown.

These measures will last for two years or until the coronavirus crisis has ended. 

But why does it take a global pandemic for abortion legislation to be relaxed?

The abortion pill taken at home is a safe alternative to having an abortion in a hospital. 

Activists have been campaigning for people to be able to take abortion pills at home for ages. 

Our argument is that women should be in a comfortable environment if they choose to take the pill. 

The unwillingness to allow people to take abortion pills at home comes from a distrust of women’s ability to make decisions about their bodies. 

Some argue that making women take abortion pills in a clinic or hospital is safer and any side effects are easier to treat. 

Of course the safety of women is of the greatest importance.

But why is this only applied to those wanting an abortion? 

People are allowed to take other forms of medication in their home.  

The fact is abortion is treated as an entirely separate thing in the medical system. Women should always be trusted to make their own decisions about their bodies. 

Molly Doherty 


Luxury furniture on sale shows  double standard

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown the government ordered all “non-essential” shops to close. 

What counts as “non-essential” has since been interpreted with considerable elasticity.

Many retailers have shut their high street outlets and moved operations online. 

As a result staff working in distribution centres across the country are still having to work and being exposed to needless risks. The managers running their workplaces are, in many cases, working from home. They are protecting their families from harm in a way their staff are not able to.

That fact that mostly luxury items are still being sold during a global crisis represents the dictionary definition of a false need. 

It is one that has been created and exploited by a capitalist system that puts maintaining profits ahead of protecting lives.

A retail logistics worker

The Tories are gambling with our lives

The hypocrisy of the Tories’ friends in big business is shocking. 

On Saturday 4 April a  “Virtual Grand National” was televised following the cancellation of the actual event due to the coronavirus crisis. 

Betting companies involved in the event encouraged us to have a flutter by promising that the profits would go to “NHS Charities Together”. 

This is a charity which funds NHS staff caring for Covid-19 patients.

Yet the owners of Betfred bookies took £5.2 million in dividends in 2016 from a company they had set up to treat gambling addictions. They also donated £375,000 to the Conservative Party.

Betting companies frequently hand out freebies to MPs which include trips to Ascot, Doncaster and Cheltenham races and dinner at the Conservative conference.

We cannot allow the Tories to continue to gamble with our health.

We need to kick out the spivs from the NHS. 

That means ending the Private Finance Initiative and the stealth privatisation of the NHS immediately without compensation. 

Only then will the odds of avoiding a future crisis in the NHS improve.

John Carr


Workplace’s bad approach

I want to talk about my induction as an engineer to the estates department at a local workplace—which lasted all of three minutes.

I arrived wearing a mask and noticed three people in the small office were not, despite their close proximity. 

I asked whether it was appropriate that I wore a mask.  

I was told it was not appropriate because, “That’s not how we operate here.”

I asked what happens if one of us has Covid-19 and could pass it on. The manager shrugged.

That shrug told me everything I needed to know about the prevailing attitude to health and safety at this place.

John Atkinson


Media wants to divide us

A few media outlets have been photographing people in parks, blaming them for their selfishness. 

These photos are often taken with a wide angle lens that often compresses perspective to make it look like people are very close to each other when they aren’t. 

Again this is another attempt by some of the media to pit us against each other. 

Sally Larken 


Can we trust Keir Starmer?

I think new Labour leader Keir Starmer is Blair 2.0. 

He is bringing back those right wingers that left when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.

Andres Viveros 

On Facebook 


The left should try to support and work constructively with Starmer. 

He—and most of the shadow cabinet—are “soft left” or left-leaning liberals. They are not neoliberals. 

We don’t want to make an enemy out of people we can ally with—if they retain much of the Corbyn policy platform— and who were initially a large part of Corbyn’s support base.

Patrick William 

On Facebook 

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