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Resist the Tories’ Covid failures now and in 2022

The Tories continue to prioritise profits over health.
Issue 2785
Boris Johnson hopes to boost bosses' profits on a trip to car manufacturer, Honda in Japan.

Boris Johnson hopes to boost bosses’ profits on a trip to car manufacturer, Honda in Japan. (Pic: British Embassy Tokyo/Flickr)

The Tories ended 2021 the way they began—by putting profits ahead of people’s lives and failing over Covid.

For more than two weeks after the Omicron variant was discovered, Boris Johnson’s government refused to start measures to stop it from spreading across Britain.

Only when it was already too late—and the government’s health experts warned of up to 75,000 deaths from Omicron—did Johnson act.

It’s the same pattern Johnson has repeated throughout the pandemic Delay measures that might hit businesses, and then act with too little, too late.

The measures Johnson imposed were designed to make sure businesses could keep cramming people into shops, restaurants and pubs over Christmas.

And even they were too much for bosses.

Before parliament had even passed the measures, top bosses complained they had damaged profits.

Tony Danker, director general of the bosses’ CBI organisation, complained it was “lockdown by stealth.” He added, “Whilst we have measures to keep the economy open, we have messages that have ended up closing much of it down,” he said. “People should be worried enough to go and get a booster urgently. But not so worried to stop going to shops or restaurants or airports.”

Instead, Danker wants the government to tell people they should be “confident in living with the virus.” That means living with new variants, along with periodic rises inhospitalisations and deaths.

As the party of the rich, Tory MPs want to make sure they’re on the same page. But so does Keir Starmer’s Labour.

Starmer has also ended 2021 the way he began—by tailing Boris Johnson. He spent the year trying to convince bosses they can trust Labour to be in government. That was his message at Labour’s conference in September and to the CBI last month.

The only time he broke from Johnson over Covid restrictions was when he demanded a plan to lift them and get back to “business as usual.”

It should be up to the left and trade unions to fight Johnson and demand measures that put people’s lives before profit.

There’s a steadily growing pool of bitterness and resentment at the Tories’ repeated mishandling of the pandemic and their corruption.

But there has been no large scale fight by trade union leaders to fight for proper protections at work, for increased sick pay, or to get Johnson out.

Some of the largest anti-government marches this year were those organised by conspiracy theorists against lockdowns and vaccinations.

The left and the trade union movement has to seize on the Tories’ crisis urgently—with demonstrations, civil disobedience and strikes.

We have to begin 2022 far better than we ended 2021.

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