7th November – The October Revolution

Attack on the Winter Palace

Attack on the Winter Palace

Today is probably the most important day in the history of the international working class. Ninety seven years ago workers, sailors and soldiers under the organisation of the Russian Social Democrat Workers Party (Bolshevik) stormed the Winter Palace, the symbolic centre of Tsarism and latterly the headquarters of the ineffectual Provisional Government. That action took place on, and became known as, the 7th November – The October Revolution.

Some people are confused that the October Revolution in Russia took place in November. The simple answer is that the backwardness of the Russian society under the Tsars, an autocratic and theocratic state, was demonstrated not only by its almost feudal relations with the peasantry but also by the fact that the country was still using the Julian calendar which had been dropped by most other countries hundreds of years before. This meant that the day that saw the cruiser The Aurora fire the shot to signal the beginning of the attack on the palace was reckoned as the 25th October in Russia but the 7th November elsewhere. As soon as was practically possible the new Bolshevik government brought the country into the 20th century, at the end of January 1918, by adopting the more accurate Gregorian calendar.

Although this revolution was to change the course of history, as no other had done in the past, it was relatively bloodless on that chaotic morning. There used to be a ‘joke’ in revolutionary circles that there were more people injured in the making of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1928 film ‘October’ (recreating the events of just over a decade earlier) than the real event.

If reaction and oppression couldn’t stop the revolution at the time it did all it could in the next 4 to 5 years to strangle the nascent workers’ and peasants’ state. Those imperialist powers that had been slaughtering each other (or more exactly had convinced their own workers to kill fellow workers of different countries) for almost four years – the start of which is now being cynically and hypocritically commemorated at this moment – banded together against a common enemy, the working class.

But under the leadership of the party that was to become the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik) and its great leaders, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, the workers and peasants prevailed and started along the difficult and uncharted road towards Socialism.

The reason that the Party, having to surmount unimaginable obstacles and at a great human cost, was due to the Bolsheviks keeping their promise to the Russian people, downtrodden in both the countryside and the cities and tired of the slaughter that was the First World War. The very day after the revolution (26th October) a decree giving land to the peasants was passed and the following day (27th October) the Bolsheviks declared that they were not prepared to continue with the crime of worker killing worker.

Revolutions are not the same as dinner parties, as Chairman Mao said, and however well they are organised they rarely go to plan, there being too many variables and this happened to the intention to cease military action on the eastern front. Foolishly Lenin gave the task of the negotiations with the German High Command at the city of Brest-Litovsk to the recent ‘convert’ to Bolshevism Leon Trotsky.

Playing a role that his followers have played in the intervening years Trotsky went against the instructions of the Central Committee of the Party and dragged out the negotiations, thereby acting as the tool for those nations fighting against the German alliance (who wanted Russians to die and keep a large percentage of German troops away from the western front), causing the needless death of thousands of Russian workers and peasants and finally making an agreement that was more disadvantageous to the new Soviet State than it would have been if he had followed orders. (The erroneous ‘theories’ of Trotskyism, demonstrated by this approach, having failed to lead a successful revolution anywhere in the world in the last, almost, hundred years.)

Attempts at revolution in Hungary and German came to nought and the other capitalist nations went through crises and economic depression without the workers following the lead of the Soviets, thereby weakening themselves and the first socialist state.

Being the first is always difficult. Mistakes, as well as many successes, were made but capitalism never tires in its aim to maintain the system of oppression and exploitation. Whilst it had failed in the intervention with the 14 nations in the Civil War it hoped that the Fascists in Europe would finish the job. Unfortunately for imperialism the dogs of war decided to go for the easy touch first and France, Belgium and the Netherlands capitulated at the first opportunity and the British had to scuttle back across the English Channel, a disorderly retreat which is now depicted as a victory.

But the megalomania of the Nazis knew no bounds and it was inevitable that they would seek to destroy socialism in the Soviet Union. However, at a huge sacrifice in terms of human life and the material advances that had been made since the end of the Civil War (with industrialisation and collectivisation) the ‘Thousand Year Reich’ was utterly destroyed. The men and women of the Soviet Union had saved the world from Fascism.

Although defeated on the battlefield Fascism did have the effect of weakening the Soviet Union, the best and most committed communists being prepared to make the supreme sacrifice in order to save their revolutionary gains. This meant that when the revolution was attacked this time from the inside, following the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, those revisionist elements within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were able to move the country off the road of socialism.

The Soviet Union as an entity ceased to exist in 1991 but it ceased to be a socialist country long before that, the date being accepted by most Marxist-Leninist is that of the time of the 20th Congress of the CPSU in February 1956, when Khrushchev made his attack upon Stalin – but really on the whole concept of revolutionary socialism.

But in the same way that the October Revolution was made by the people so the defeat of that same revolution less that 40 years later was also the responsibility of the Soviet people. If they are treated as nothing more than pawns by their rulers then they have accepted that situation. If the working class is the class to move society to a higher level they can’t then cry that they are victims of forces beyond their control.

The slogan ‘ye are many, they are few’ is as valid today as it was when Shelley wrote the line almost 200 years ago.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Russian people have seen virtually all the advances made in those 40 years of socialism destroyed completely in the last 20 or so years, with gangsters and thieves using the natural wealth and the labour of the workers to buy football teams, huge yachts, a myriad of palaces and countless whores no one can take away from their grandfathers and grandmothers the achievements they made in the first half of the 20th century.

The men and women who make revolutions are rare and if a country can produce such a generation once in a millennium they are doing well. Despite the arrogance that oozes out of the capitalist propaganda machine that socialism is dead what those men and women started on 7th November 1917, the October Revolution, will forever be a beacon to the oppressed and exploited of the world.

Lock downs (under various guises) spread like a virus across the United Kingdom

More on covid pandemic 2020

Lock downs (under various guises) spread like a virus across the United Kingdom

Although it’s still unclear what the figures are really telling us (numbers mean nothing unless they are unpicked and put into the context of a particular situation) the chances are that Britain might well be moving into a ‘second wave’ of the covid-19 pandemic.

The problem with the figures is it appears that if anyone dies with symptoms of covid-19 then they are part of the number used to frighten people into accepting all the (increasing) restrictions under which a significant proportion of the population now have to live. What is not being clarified (at least as far as I can discover) is how many of these fatalities would have been classified as caused by other causes in previous years.

How may people are dying of influenza or pneumonia? We don’t know as those figures seem to have totally disappeared from the statistics. At the beginning of the pandemic many people, who might well have died as a consequence of covid-19 weren’t counted as such in the statistics as no one was available to state the actual cause of death. This was especially the case in care homes were the numbers of deaths started to overwhelm the system and covid appeared on fewer death certificates than might have been the case if staffing levels had been able to cope.

Now there might be a situation where covid is blamed for all such respiratory causes of death. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) mentioned this in one of their reports just over a week ago but I haven’t seen anything since (see below).

So ‘second wave’ or not? Perhaps the jury is still out on that one.

At the same time the very actions of the Governments of the 4 nations of the United Kingdom (as well as in most countries of the world) will have contributed to the ‘second wave’ if it ever does arrive.

They are following the science – then they’re not. They are introducing a lock down – and then they’re not. They have an effective test, track and trace regime – and then they don’t. They clarify matters – but people are still confused. They talk about following a similar and coordinated policy – then they go their own way. They make policies – and then they make so many U-turns that we all become dizzy. They say they have a strategy – but they don’t. Still, seven months since they started doing ‘something’.

As ‘something’ is all they have been doing. Just reacting to events as they have failed to have a proper strategy which will lead to certain actions that will have a real effect on the course of the virus but also to actions that will take society back to some semblance of normality.

Governments throughout the world resemble chickens with their heads cut off running around aimlessly rather than the sophisticated, modern leaders they constantly portray themselves as being.

But if the British Government, with the Buffoon at its head, has been inconsistent in its approach to the pandemic they have remained steadfast when it comes to its attitude to the poorest in society.

The way many Tory ministers and others have flocked to support the Government’s official position (notwithstanding the opportunist stance of some Conservative Members of Parliament who had gained their seats in last Decembers General Election in what was considered Labour’s heartland) over the issue of free school meals shows the true colours of these staunch representatives of wealth, privilege and guardians of the capitalist system.

After providing unimaginable amounts to private industry in the last seven months (and for how long in the future at the moment it’s impossible to say) they fight like a dog with a bone to not provide mere pocket change to provide meals to children in those times when they are not actually in school.

It’s their attitude and the way they fight to maintain what they see as a ‘principle’ which demonstrates the sort of people they are.

‘Scum’ is not a strong enough word to describe them.

Preparedness for the pandemic

Government did not have exact measures‘ for tackling Covid crisis. And blames Cummins’s interference for it.

How the State controls us

Scapegoats to frighten the masses – whilst the rich and powerful are never held to account.

Test, track and trace

Covid ‘test-and-release’ system for airlines ‘in place by December’ – if you believe that you’ll believe anything.

Test and trace forced to bring in untrained workers as system is overwhelmed.

The effectiveness of contact tracing apps – not just in Britain.

The ‘world beating’ test, track and race system? Buffoon admits failings as England’s covid contact-tracing system hits new low.

We may be living in ‘unprecedented and challenging’ times but the Government should still be following the rules – although they would love people to forget them. This time it’s all about privacy and the retention of personal information.

Instead of ‘everyone working together’ to ensure the country has a testing regime that works (let alone be ‘world beating’, the cretinous Buffoon’s boast way back in June) capitalism always looks to make money out of a crisis. This time it’s a high street chemist chain. A snip at £120 a time!

Test and trace workers report new problems with troubled service.

Patients discharged from hospitals without covid test results. Considered one of the contributory factors in the deaths in care homes in the spring some people don’t seemed to have learnt from that experience.

Nightingale Hospitals

They’ve been sitting there costing the State money – but doing nothing. Not even making sure they are prepared for a potential ‘second wave’.

Poverty in the UK

I can’t remember a time when so many people have been so concerned about ‘the poor’ in Britain. Barely a day goes by without someone – from millionaire footballers to Pantomime Dames – saying that the poor are suffering disproportionately due to the pandemic and they should be given assistance of one kind of another.

But the problem that underlies all of these concerned interventions is the acceptance that ‘the poor will always be with us’, as if it’s a natural phenomenon about which we can do nothing. This acceptance of a social ill is clearly displayed in the language and words used when discussing the poor – always in the third person as if what they want doesn’t really matter. (In fact, the main thing the poor want is not to be poor.)

The buzzword in Britain in the seven (long, long) months of the ineptly managed covid-19 pandemic has been ‘disadvantaged’. This also demonstrates the patronising attitude of those ‘comfortably well off’ when referring to those who work in insecure, low wage jobs, can’ pay their rent and have problems feeding, heating and clothing themselves and their children adequately.

They are not ‘disadvantaged’ as a specific group, they are just members of the working class who have been forced into a condition by the pressures of circumstance, not being able or wanting to organise to improve their condition collectively. Those other members of that same class, who (again by sheer luck in the main) have managed to secure a decent life for themselves have often forgotten about the less well off members of society and turn their back on what they fear might one day be their fate.

But it’s the very fate of the working class that however secure they might think they are, accepting the limitations of capitalism, everything can collapse at any time without warning. The uncertainty that accompanies the anarchy of capitalism means that any crisis can push those who were relatively content into conditions of extreme penury. The periodic crisis that are the corollary of capitalism have proven this time and time again.

But it’s not just the economic crises that can cause this drop from dizzy heights to the gutter. War, natural disasters and, as we see now, medical pandemics can also be the final push.

And this pandemic has opened the flood gates for do-gooders to spout their condescending and patronising claptrap. The most recent insult I have heard (although she is probably too stupid to realise it) is from Dame Louise Casey – with a background in ‘helping’ the poor in various organisations – who said (in an interview on Radio 4’s, World at One programme on the 20th October) she was concerned about ‘families at the bottom of the pile’. She was also concerned about ‘lone households, often women’ (you have to get your concerns for women in these debates to maintain credibility) without understanding that many in ‘lone households, often women’ work hard to provide for their children and manage (just) but don’t deserve to be talked down to.

The solution to poverty is not more stale crumbs from the rich man’s (and woman’s) table it is the poor getting off their knees and turning that pile up-side-down.

We should remember it’s not always the cream that rises to the top – the shit does as well.

There’s definitely nothing like a Dame.

Alternatives to unproven lock downs

It sticks in the craw to agree with a Tory Life Peer (and a Fund manager to boot) but one of that kind was interviewed on Radio 4’s World at One on 20th October (I’m sorry, yet another Dame and on the same day as the patronising one). Helena Morrissey was arguing that an endless cycle of lock downs (or whatever they may be called) hasn’t, isn’t and won’t really get us any closer to dealing with the covid-19 pandemic.

Using the argument of the Barrington Declaration (highlighted in a post a few weeks ago) she said we have to get used to living with the virus and that those, of all ages, who are classified as ‘vulnerable’ should be protected and the rest of us carry on in a slightly modified ‘normal’. Apart from her brown-nosing of the Buffoon there is little with which I disagree.

Now to wash my hands in pure lye after typing that.

Another establishment figure has a critical view of the use of restrictions on freedoms and the feeding of ‘mass hysteria’ by the Government to achieve its aims of control of the population. That can be seen in the growing idiocy about ‘Christmas being stolen’.

What do the statistics say?

‘No sign of second wave’ as ONS data shows normal level of deaths for time of year.

Most of the country’s major university towns are now past the peak of the virus.

Wales is living through a ‘fire break’ (another new term that has little meaning) at the moment but do the statistics of infections and deaths really warrant it?

A potential vaccine

The limits of vaccine trials – if we are after a vaccine to be the miracle about to happen.

‘The sooner we get a vaccine the sooner we can get back to normal’ is the mantra. But it may not be as easy as that.

Do you want the good news or the bad news?

The bad news, antibodies ‘fall rapidly after infection’ – although that sounds more problematic than it might be. A cold is a coronavirus and that keeps coming around all the time. Covid-19 is different as there hasn’t been enough time for society to build up much natural resistance. And even in this study they suggested that any second infection would normally be much milder than the first.

The good news?

New understanding of the neuropilin-1 protein could speed vaccine research. I don’t understand what it means either but I assume that someone involved in vaccine research does.

Zero cases?

Why chase after the impossible? All countries seem to be aiming to eliminate the virus which is considered by virtually all scientists to be an impossibility – at least for many years. That means we will have to learn to live with the virus and adapt to its presence in society worldwide.

Care homes

Care staff ordered to work in one home only. This might be easier said than done. As part of the cuts in funding to care home full time staff were reduced and most homes depend upon part time agency workers to fill busy times. That will not be easy to just switch off like a tap. In a way it could make the situation worse and not better.

Will care homes be ready to face the winter if the country gets hit by a so-called ‘second wave’? Not if early indications are anything to go by. If inspectors can’t get tests what chance anyone else?

If there’s a problem in one sector you can always trust the Tories to make matters worse. Nothing whatsoever has been learnt from mistakes from earlier in the year, with patients being sent from hospital to care homes without being tested negative first. It shows a total disrespect for people in general (as this risks spreading the infection in the community) – but especially the most vulnerable.

Is it corruption?

Somebody has to pay for all those empty trains we have been told not to use. What about the public? If the the State has to pick up the bills then that’s a nationalised industry to me. £50 million in just a weekend.

They might sound cheap but all the adverts from the last seven months haven’t come from a bargain basement. The pounds in their millions were being spent even before the first lock down.

The virus that sticks like glue

Coronavirus can survive on skin for nine hours.

The Nationalists

If there isn’t enough confusion nationwide the Scottish Nationalist are now proposing to introduce a 5 tier system in Scotland – whilst there’s a 3 tier system in England. For no other reason than being different and ‘in control’.

Scots told to prepare for ‘digital Christmas’.

But in Wales the ‘fire break’ was to protect Christmas – or at least the businesses.

The World at One on 23rd October gave a break down on what the Scottish ‘5 tier’ system was all about.

In the last post we looked at the situation of the annual vaccinations against influenza (flu jabs) in England. It’s not much better in Scotland. You and Yours, on Radio 4 on 23rd October, had a look at the issue.

Making money out of a crisis

We knew there would be abuses of the system where the Government was giving out money to companies hand over fist without any oversight – but that much? £2 billion in the hands of gangsters.

The Army gets involved for the first time

Supposedly only in a logistics role but the Army is starting to be deployed.

‘Collateral damage’

It’s been said may times here that the brunt of the effects of the pandemic – but more especially the manner in which it has been approached by the Buffoon and his Government (just as in other parts of the world) – will be felt by the young, those who are just about to start work as well as those who have been working for just a few years (and school children will be effected in ways we won’t understand for some time). However it does no harm to re-iterate the issue by reference to the unemployment figures.

The background to the deaths

There are many reasons for the high numbers of deaths in the UK since the start of the pandemic. Decades of underfunding of the NHS and the general health of the population being just two. To the list can now be added air pollution.

More on covid pandemic 2020

Seven months into the pandemic – yet back to square one

More on covid pandemic 2020

Seven months into the pandemic – yet back to square one

When I posted the first article under the heading ‘Journal of the Plague Year 2020’ on 23rd March of this year I didn’t (in my most fearsome nightmares) think I would still be posting about the crass incompetence of the Buffoon and his Government just under seven months later.

In that first post I bemoaned the fact that it seemed that society (or at least those who are in charge of its present day capitalist manifestation of it) hadn’t seemed to have learnt anything over the seven hundred years since the Black Death took with it at least a third of the population of Europe before it eventually fizzled out in 1351.

If the feudalists and the capitalists hadn’t been able to learn anything in 700 years I suppose it was foolish to believe they would learn anything in seven months.

The oppressors and exploiters haven’t moved on – there’s no incentive for then to do so as they consider they are masters of the universe and even if a few of them die their system will carry on without them. However, the rest of society is very different from what it was all those centuries ago.

Science, technology and education have all moved ahead in leaps and bounds. Even though there are still fundamentalist sects (which can include mainstream religions) that still live in an ideological past the majority of society – at least in the more established capitalist societies where workers have been able to extract a few concessions, including education, from the exploiters – looks at the world in a very different way from the subsistence farming peasant of the 14th century. Or so I would like to believe.

In Britain (without looking at the experience of other countries throughout the world) there are countless examples where working people have stood up against the failings of the ruling class. In Britain one of those examples was the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 which had a direct connection to the consequences of the plague of 30 years before.

The capabilities, opportunities, knowledge and potential to make sure we never have to live through such chaos are there in a abundance. However, alongside those positives we still have the disease of subservience and a culture of parliamentary cretinism which prevents too many people from taking direct action outside of the electoral process.

In the last seven months the Tories have shown themselves incompetent and incapable of coming up with an effective strategy to deal with the issue at hand. But not for the first time and like the proverbial ‘bad penny’ they keep on bouncing back. The Parliamentary opposition in the form of the Labour Party is no different – and have constantly failed to deliver when they have been in the position to change society for the benefit of the majority. None of these groupings will ever change.

As we in Britain (as in many other countries worldwide) start to face another sequence of lock downs – whatever they may be called; local, partial, national, ‘fire break’, ‘circuit breakers’, or any other meaningless term some bright spark will invent – if we stick to the present system the future will just be a succession of ‘Groundhog Days’ where the future only offers us more of what has gone before. But probably worse.

I have little doubt that I’ll have to change the name of this collection of posts to Journal of the Plague Years 2020-2021 – if we are lucky.

Preparedness for a pandemic

In the last post I stated that there didn’t seem to be any specific plans for a pandemic in Britain – although in past years and even in the early days of he covid-19 outbreak we were ‘reassured’ that the Government had a considered plan in place. But I was wrong. However, you wouldn’t think so with the chaotic and uncoordinated manner in which policy has been made since the end of March.

I don’t know what’s worse, having a strategy and ignoring it or not having a strategy at all. It’s all about crimes of commission or omission.

The theory, and a few guidelines, can be read in an article entitled ‘How to prepare for a pandemic’.

For a detailed (very detailed) strategy was produced by Public Health England in 2014. Specifically two documents, the Pandemic Influenza Response Plan and the Pandemic Influenza Strategic Framework. The first is a very long document, with suggestions of who, what, when where and why at the different stages of any pandemic. The second is a much shorter overview of what should happen. (It has to be remembered that these documents where designed for a hypothetical outbreak and recognise that actions and decisions would be subject to change and alteration in the event the hypothetical becoming the reality.)

Annotated versions, where I’ve picked out the items I thought were the most important, are also available of the Plan and the Framework.

The problem is that the Government doesn’t seem to have read, or at least understood, documents which have been published in their own name. Public Health England (PHE) seems to have been marginalised from the start – not least because it places an emphasis on matters being dealt with at a local level – and has now been abolished because it was considered (probably by the puppet master Cummins) to be ‘not fit for purpose’. That’s why everything has been pushed into the hands of private companies and we can all see the pig’s ear they have made of everything they were paid a huge amount to do.

One matter that is stressed in the Plan is the necessity and infrastructure needed for testing, which has become such a contentious topic in the present pandemic. Again, if the Buffoon or his acolytes read that they don’t seem to have understood what were the implications.

Whitehall told to release secret 2016 files on UK pandemic risks. The Government has until the 23rd October to accede to the Information Commissioner’s Office request – or explain way not.

Protests against restrictions

There have been plenty of complaints about some of the lock down measures but little actual action. One minor one was the dumping of ice from the bars that were closed down in Central Scotland earlier in the month.

Students aren’t too happy about the food they’re being given when forced to self isolate, saying they are being given cheap junk food instead of decent, nutritious food.

This was announced, but little seems to have moved forward. England’s hospitality bosses prepare legal challenge to covid lock downs.

Deaths in the UK 2020

A report that looked into the total number of deaths in the UK in 2020, most of which would have been under the time of the lock down due to the pandemic, found that Britain didn’t fare too well in comparison with 20 other countries. This was mainly due to the manner in which the NHS had been run down, attacked as a social structure and starved of investment in terms of both materials and staff in the last few decades. In a sense, whatever the Buffoon had done we, in Britain, were on a hiding to nothing. This was highlighted in an interview on Radio 4’s World at One on 14th October with Professor Majid Ezzati, from Imperial College, London.

The ‘herd immunity’ argument

Life can go back to normal if we make it our common goal to achieve herd immunity.

Consequences of covid-19

Another to add to the list – covid may cause sudden, permanent hearing loss.

Protests that there should be more restrictions

Scientists want much stricter measures to curb what they consider is the infection rates getting out of hand – and have been saying so for some time;

Planned new rules for north of England are not enough.

UK at ‘tipping point’.

Sage scientists called for short lock down weeks ago

Two-week circuit breaker ‘may halve deaths’.

Covid the new Scrooge

First your holidays now covid has its sight on Christmas.

Fear used to ensure ‘compliance’

Man gets covid twice and second hit ‘more severe’. Even though of the millions who have caught the infection only twenty or so have been recorded as having been infected twice. Isn’t that statistically insignificant? If so, why does this make the headlines?

University of East Anglia party students fined £10,000.

More on ‘collateral damage’

Although it’s been mentioned before, as time goes by more details start to emerge. Three million patients have missed cancer screenings since start of pandemic. With a lcak of any strategy and with a possible ‘second lock down’ on the way these figures are not going to get any smaller. This could end up causing more suffering and deaths without any real advantage being achieved by the Government’s ‘response’ to the situation in the country.

‘Protect the NHS’ message led to 90 per cent drop in hospital admissions.

More than 26,000 extra deaths this year, mainly in their own homes. A statistic which cries out for a more strategic approach to dealing with the pandemic – not just in the UK but other parts of the world as such figures will be duplicated in many countries.

Nightingale Hospitals

What has happened to England’s seven Nightingale hospitals? A good question as these have cost a fortune and most have never been used.

A few days later, as part of the campaign to create a climate of fear and aid compliance it was announced that those in the north locations were being brought up to a state of readiness.

Earlier in the pandemic some scientists were calling for the establishment of ‘fever hospitals’. If the number of infections is putting a strain on the normal hospitals, and reducing capacity due to distancing measures, wouldn’t it be a good idea to send all covid cases to these temporary hospitals from now on and create specialist teams which only deal with covid cases? If there were fears of a heightened risk of infection amongst staff (or other possible psychological pressures) then surely it’s not outside of the bounds of possibility to rotate those working there? Always the emphasis is on the problem and not the potential solution.

The shortage of nursing staff in the UK

There’s been a crisis in the NHS for years – and the way successive governments have sought to deal with staff shortages (and to save money by not training nursing staff in the UK) is by stealing valuable staff from the poorer countries of the world. This has been a disgrace and is a continuation of colonial exploitation by taking resources from the poor and giving them to the rich – although here (as with slavery) human resources. Self-sufficiency is the answer.

Hospitals battle coronavirus outbreaks as workforce shortages drive cancellation fears.

Testing

This issue continues to be problematic, aspirations not being matched by capabilities.

Used coronavirus tests handed out by mistake.

Trailblazing’ plans to cut travel quarantine.

Health and safety breaches at testing lab.

Test and Trace records worst week yet.

Boris Johnson promised a ‘world-beating’ system – but Government’s Sage committee says all three pillars aren’t working.

Buffoon ‘won’t hit target of 500,000 Covid tests a day by end of month’.

The Government can’t get the test, track and trace regime working but they can find time to give PC Plod more powers as they are to be given access to NHS self-isolation data.

The Buffoon promised a ‘world beating’ test, track and trace system. A report compared the UK with five other countries throughout the world. Britain didn’t come out to well. The results of this study were presented on Radio 4’s Inside Science on 15th October.

There are many conclusions from this study which should have an impact upon pandemic preparations in the UK in the future (that is, assuming we all don’t die due to the incompetence of our ‘leaders’). But what is obvious is that the majority of the problems that have arisen in the last seven months have been down to policy decisions of the last couple of decades (where both major political parties have been in control) which have basically decided that everything should be determined by the ‘market’, that economic liberalisation – which has been accepted as given by far too many people, including the working class – should decide what happens. Such an approach was questionable in the past but the pandemic has shown that such an approach is totally incapable of dealing with a medical, economic and political crisis.

People with suspected covid sent to non-existent test centre.

What was most interesting about this news is the way the Department of Health and Social Care reacted to this;

‘We are aware of an issue with an incorrect testing location in Sevenoaks. This issue has now been resolved and people are being redirected to the correct site. … NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at the unprecedented scale of more than 270,000 tests per day nationally and we are on track to achieve capacity for 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.’

In place of responding to the chaos all we are given is more spin, more smoke and mirrors.

Annual influenza vaccination

The Government extended the coverage of those it recommends should have a flu jab to those above 50 (and not 65 as is generally the case). However, this statement was made without the Government making sure enough of the vaccine was available and also establishing the infrastructure that would deal with a doubling of the numbers of those eligible for the injection. It also came across problems due to the virtual privatisation of this task with private chemists being able to provide the service. This matter was covered in a Radio 4, You and Yours item on 16th October.

Poverty in the United Kingdom

Two recent reports illustrate the level of poverty in the United Kingdom. The covid-19 pandemic hasn’t caused these problems – only exacerbated already existing issues. The level, depth and widespread nature of poverty in Britain has been a disgrace for decades. For that to exist in the fifth or sixth richest country in the world just goes to show the lies of capitalism that it is the best system for the majority of people.

In the 1970s there was a phrase that most people in Britain ‘were only one pay packet from destitution’. The truth of that has been demonstrated innumerable times in the past 50 years. The pandemic, by concentrating matters in weeks when it would normally show itself over years, has only made this dire situation more obvious – both to those who are losing their jobs and the rest of the ostrich population who have been happy to continue turning their backs on a situation which they might have found distasteful. Also those who thought they might have been immune from this particular disease of capitalism are now beginning to realise that no one who doesn’t have a private income and depends on their standard of living by their employment is entirely immune.

The first report, by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, entitled Poverty in Scotland 2020, concentrates its focus on the northern part of the United Kingdom. The situation in Scotland hasn’t improved significantly with the growth of the Scottish Nationalist movement in the country – no surprise as all nationalist movements devoid of Marxism-Leninism are bound to only benefit the local capitalist and not the majority of the population.

Although focussing on Scotland there’s no reason to believe the situation is not similar (if not worse) in the other parts of the UK.

The second is by Save the Children and is entitled Winter plan for children. It would more appropriately be entitled No winter plan for children. This report predicts severe problems for even more children and their families this coming winter with the pandemic only (again) exacerbating and already well entrenched and almost institutionalised system of child poverty.

This obscene reality should make any right thinking person in Britain angry but it sometimes becomes difficult when people were interviewed pre-December 2019 General Election leaving food banks and making positive comments about the Tory Buffoon for whom the same cretins were going to re-elect in a matter of days. Chickens coming home to roost?

Poverty campaigners estimate 1 million pupils have recently signed up free school meals for first time.

Again from Scotland – but applicable in the the rest of the UK – a warning about bad living conditions, poor housing and inadequate heating leading to a disproportionate amount of suffering being dumped on the poor.

A footballer campaigns for the extension of free school meals but he doesn’t realise that he is merely perpetuating poverty and is nowhere closer to eliminating it. His reward in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List only confirms the uselessness of his campaign – and how it is appreciated by the State.

Is re-infection a real issue?

Not really. A little over 20 people have been recorded as having been re-infected after an initial dose of the virus – out of the millions who had contracted the disease worldwide. That makes the numbers statistically insignificant so why are these few cases given such prominence in the media? A rhetorical question – it’s obviously designed to maintain the ‘fear of death’ level.

Peter Openshaw, from Imperial College London put this matter into perspective in an interview on Radio 4’s World at One on 13th October.

All in this together!

It’s just a sign of their insensitivity. Members of Parliament could be due a £3,000 pay rise. Will it make those who are being made redundant or put on short time angry? It should, but the British have accepted more in the past so no reason for the politicians to have too many fears of the gates of Westminster being stormed ala Petrograd in 1917.

Dominic Cummings continues to use the system to his advantage – this time by avoiding council tax.

Care Homes – and the re-writing of history

Jeremy Hunt, who a few years ago was the Health Secretary and oversaw the break down of the NHS and the care system, continues to attempt to re-write history. Following on from his attempts highlighted in the last post he continues to paint himself as reasonable and caring whilst at the same time trying to divert criticisms away from the Buffoon’s Government. Hunt may resent being pushed to the sidelines but his loyalty is still to the Tory Party and his class.

In an interview on Radio 4’s World at One on 13th October he claimed that the reasons the percentage of deaths in care homes was so high (an estimated 40%) during the outbreak earlier in the year was due to causes which have now been rectified. Those were: agency workers transmitting the disease from one home to another; patients not being tested on leaving hospital and being sent to a care home; and a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

He approaches these problems as if they were not identified at the time (which is a lie) and that the Government was the entity to sort the issues (which is another lie). A drop in infections generally and not as many old and vulnerable people to kill pulled the Tories out of their mire. The most recent pronouncements by care home providers (let alone those who care for people in their own homes) don’t paint too promising a picture for the coming winter months.

The panic-mongers

It never does any harm to introduce a bit of peripheral ‘research’ to increase the fear levels and introduce a bit more baseless panic. Your mobile phone and cash in your pocket might be out to kill you! If certain circumstances are manipulated you can prove anything. However, they are only ‘infectious’ when kept in the dark – a bit like the population of the country.

Corruption accompanies any crisis

The issue of corruption and contracts being awarded without proper process have come up a number of times in the last seven months. The only difference is that the numbers keep on getting bigger. At the moment there’s a legal case being brought by some Members of Parliament against the Government (doesn’t that illustrate the failings of the British ‘democratic system’ not its strengths?) for Ministers ‘keeping the public in the dark’ over private contracts.

Consultants’ fees ‘up to £6,250 a day‘ for work on covid test system – and they still can’t get it right.

Government pays BA and Virgin £70 million to fly PPE from China – PPE travels in First Class.

Nationalists

In the (rejected) pandemic strategy adopted in 2014 (illustrated above) it was hoped that the four ‘nations’ that comprise the UK would act in concert. In your dreams! The nationalists, whichever their variety, will always seek to make their own decisions – whether it is for the benefit of the whole island or not. The latest example if the so-called ‘three tier’ lock down system.

There are still things going on behind the scenes

Obviously it’s the pandemic that’s hogging the headlines but we should not forget that government still carries on. And in the UK we have a government of self-seeking Tories with a huge Parliamentary majority. In such a circumstance so-called ‘rebels’ can make a lot of noise but they know that their future is secure as there will always be enough toadies (not wanting to risk their lucrative positions) to ensure the Government gets its way. That was the case of maintaining food health standards after Britain leaves the European Union at the end of this year. (Start dipping your chicken in the local municipal swimming pool – if it’s still open – to know what it will taste like in a year or so.) Under normal circumstances there would have been much more noise and the outcome could have been very different. Almost certainly there are other matters just going through on the nod which will come back to bite the British population in the not too distant future.

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