Four Thousand Say Scrap Parking Charges At Walsgrave Hospital!

Recently our campaign to scrap the parking charges at UHCW reached the incredible milestone of 4000 signatures!

For years we have been running stalls across Coventry with our petition, rallying ordinary people in Coventry of whom the vast, vast majority agree that parking at the hospital should be free.

And why shouldn’t it be? The point of the NHS is that it is free at point of use! Hundreds of billions of pounds goes into an incredible health service, and then we’re asked to pay up-front if we need to drive to hospital? With millions in poverty and counting pennies, many have to walk long distances, cut the time they spend with loved ones, or even avoid going to hospital at all because of the up-front costs. And that isn’t speculation; we know this is fact from the experiences we have heard directly from workers and residents in Coventry on our campaigning stalls.

In Wales and most of Scotland you wouldn’t have these horrendous and even heart-breaking situations. Because Wales scrapped its parking charges in 2018, and Scotland in 2008 with the exception of their PFI hospitals!

And there is precisely the problem.

The Private Finance Initiative gives a private company the contract to run the car park, and pretty much gives them control over the charges. So of course the private company wants to make however much it can, no matter how many families it keeps apart, how many personal budgets it breaks, how many it keep away from seeking treatment, and how many NHS staff -our heroes- are forced to look for another job so they can stop going to the foodbank!

And at Walsgrave the profits are astronomical.

Coventry Telegraph reported that the car parks across Cov and Warwickshire hospitals cost about £1m to run – but they make £8m from the charges! Every time you pay £8 for parking, £7 goes right into the pocket of a company. As many have said while signing on our stalls, it is disgusting!

That’s why our petition not only calls for the parking charges to be scrapped, but also for the car park to be taken off the private company that runs it for profit and put back into public ownership. The problem isn’t that one particular company runs the car park badly; the whole profit motive that drives the ruthless capitalist machine means that ANY private firm will rip off ordinary people to make as much money as possible. They aren’t accountable to us, only to their bosses and shareholders.

Which is why across the country, PFI deals are VERY expensive. LocalGov says “in January [2018] the National Audit Office reported that there were currently more than 700 PFI and PF2 deals with a capital value of around £60bn and annual charges amounting to £10.3bn in 2016-17. Even if no new deals are entered into, the NAO said, future charges which continue until the 2040s amount to £199bn.”

The PFI deal for UHCW itself is an atrocity. To quote Coventry Telegraph in 2019, “Despite the initial investments for Coventry’s NHS Trust being worth only £379 million, the trust will have paid back an estimated £3.7billion by the time the contracts are up – almost ten times the initial money.” The annual costs mean that an EIGHTH of UHCW’s entire budget goes to private profiteers who made their investment back years ago!

The Walsgrave Car Park PFI alone is harming so many people. That’s why in July last year we pledged to redouble our efforts, and now with over 4000 signatures we are going to keep up that fight!

Help us build that fight – join the socialists or find out more!

NEW LOCKDOWN MEASURES

TORIES LEAVE IT LATE AGAIN – BUT THEIR HAND IS FORCED BY EDUCATION WORKERS ACTION!

While the government has yet again taken far too long to face up to the loss of control of coronavirus, tens and tens of thousands of education workers have said enough is enough.

Boris Johnson and his shower of incompetents have been forced, belatedly, to take further action to combat coronavirus. On Sunday he insisted all schools open, by Monday they’re all shut!

Johnson’s failures are having such serious consequences for so many people, and while it may be some consolation to know he has egg all over his face, it’s not just consolation we need, but to take confidence from the workers’ action, to learn from the people who know best and fought back.

Johnson was forced to retreat not by the science, but by the action of teachers and support workers.

Teachers by the tens of thousands refused to continue to work in unsafe conditions, and only to return when it was made safe. Not that you’d know about this from the media. Teachers’ mobilisation, involving up to 400,000 in union discussions about lack of safety and refusing to work in those conditions, closed hundreds of schools but was largely ignored by the media.

Johnson was forced to admit that schools are ‘a vector’ in the virus spreading. Something that while the government tried to deny it, the world and its auntie have known for months!

But he was forced to act because the public were aware the situation was getting very dangerous and that as teachers refused to work in such conditions and local authorities were closing schools anyway that it would leave him in London in control of nothing. Workers action has now given a clear lead.

We see in this the importance of a union for working people, giving workers the confidence to write in with Section 44 letters (that declare the worker believes the workplace to be unsafe.)   


Below are some reports to ‘The Socialist’ newspaper of how education workers organised.

Local Officers, reps and members have been working flat out since the call was made by the NEU (National Education Union) that staff should assert their contractual right not to attend an unsafe place of work. As well as school, District and Regional meetings, the NEU estimate as many as 400,000 people may have watched this morning’s National Union ‘Zoom’ call – either directly or through social media broadcasts.

Union activists have been so busy talking to members, answering queries and building the campaign that there has been little opportunity (to report) the work being carried out. These brief reports hopefully give you a flavour of what’s been happening right across the Union:

As Headteacher, I have received 50 Section 44 letters from teachers and support staff today.

Some staff were already either shielding or self-isolating in any case. I have obviously responded by informing parents that the school will be closed tomorrow. It looks like a number of Southampton schools are closing. Support from the leader of the council has helped.

* UPDATE ON MONDAY MORNING – 31 Southampton primary schools closed = about two-thirds of them!

Liz Filer, Southampton NEU

Lots of primaries will be closed in Bristol.

My own school was up to 22 staff on a Section 44 letter when it was announced it will be closed to everyone tomorrow and then there will be remote learning for at least the rest of the week. I’ve also had 10 new names appear on my membership list, including several support staff who have never been unionised before.

Sheila Caffrey, Bristol NEU

Coventry saw over 300 members join an online meeting.

We have recruited more reps and members have grown in confidence.  A number of schools are fully closed and more are partially closed. This is a great start to the campaign. The response of the Local Authority has angered many members, being told that schools are safe whilst the data on Covid cases has increased by over 50% in a short period of time.

Jane Nellist, Coventry NEU

I have spoken to eight Multi Academy Trust CEOs. All bar one were very supportive of our stance.

Over 100 members attended our District ‘Zoom’ meeting this afternoon. We also invited the UNISON convenor to attend and that helped to strengthen the resolve of our members. We’ve already gained 27 new members since the union came out fighting.

Mike Whale, Hull NEU

Responding to a growing anxiety about the return to school, I worked as part of the senior leadership team to review and tighten up our risk assessment. However, given the growing risks (we) felt this would be insufficient to guarantee staff safety. After the national NEU rep’s briefing on Saturday, our school rep organised a members meeting. All 17 of our members (including 3 former NASUWT members) agreed to sign the S44 letter. We decided to contact and share the letter with all school staff. Within an hour we had 50 names on it!

Staff were keen to sign, given confidence by the union taking a stand. Our Head, fully respected the views of the staff and the school has moved to online learning as per NEU recommendations for the next 2 weeks at least. Even Tory-led Norfolk Council has now issued advice saying that “as a head teacher you may find it difficult to be certain that you will have sufficient staff to open safely on Monday”. At the latest count, I already know of over 50 local primary schools who will not be opening – and the list is being added to all the time!

From a NEU member in Norfolk

Why we supported the education workers: A fuller explanation of the education workers view….


Organise a mass refusal to attend unsafe schools on Monday

Posted on 2 January 2021 [https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31785]

Our schools and colleges are not safe.

Full classrooms provide an environment where the new variant will quickly spread. No member of staff and no pupil should have to work in such dangerous conditions. That’s why, to protect their safety, and the safety of their wider school community, school union groups should boldly make clear this weekend that they are not prepared to return to work until safety can be assured.

For months, the Government has been ignoring growing evidence that school aged children have high levels of infection and that poorly ventilated, closely packed, schools have been an important factor in the spread of Covid-19.

Keeping schools fully open has nothing to do with keeping children safe. Instead it has put more lives in danger, more pressure on an overwhelmed NHS, more chaotic disruption in schools.

Before Christmas, even their own scientific advisers warned Ministers that “accumulating evidence is consistent with increased transmission occurring amongst school children when schools are open”. Yet the Department for Education still insisted on bullying Councils like Greenwich into keeping their schools open. Now these bullies have to be faced down.

With the full opening of secondary schools delayed by a week, the immediate battleground is in primary, nursery and special schools.  With the new, more contagious, variant of the virus spreading quickly amongst young people in particular, even this Government has been forced to concede that primary schools in London and some other South-East authorities do not open fully at the start of term. But, as things stand, most school staff still face entering an unsafe workplace on Monday – and the virus doesn’t respect geographical boundaries.

Insisting workers enter an unsafe workplace, and without risk assessments in place that address the new dangers from the new variant, is a breach of Health and Safety. That’s why the National Education Union met in emergency session today (Sat 2nd Jan) and agreed it will be calling on members in primary and special schools to exercise their rights under “Section 44” and that the Union will support them in doing so, including through balloting for industrial action if necessary. Letters will be sent to all employers by the Union.

Members will be advised to insist on a new risk assessment and that they are available to work in school to teach key worker and vulnerable children only or, otherwise, work from home to support remote learning.

This is a very significant step and one that now needs to be fully backed by the trade union movement. It should also be replicated by UNISON, GMB, NASUWT and other school unions.

By failing to act earlier in this decisive manner, the NEU has left itself with a very short timescale to get this message across to its members and to give them confidence to act. Nevertheless, it is a stand that has to be taken given the serious dangers facing all of us.

Discussing Biden Win With American Socialists

Coventry Branch Online Meeting: 10th November 7.30pm

Biden appears to have won the US presidential election.
🔍How do we analyse this win, that saw twelve million more people vote and came down to the wire in the Electoral College system?
✊What will workers and youth in the United States have to do to fight for things like free healthcare, free university tuition, a decent minimum wage, to fight climate change?
🚩How do we get actual socialist change in a country in the grip of two parties that represent an incredibly powerful capitalist class?

Join us on Tuesday to discuss how socialists can build that fight!

Click here to visit our Facebook page

Click here to email us or copy CoventrySocialistParty@Gmail.Com

Click here to visit the Socialist Party’s national website

Live in the US? Visit the Independent Socialist Group!

Disgrace of over 4 million children in poverty!

Low pay, no way! photo Paul Mattsson

Article by Jane Nellist, Socialist Party Member and Coventry NEU [Personal Capacity]

Austerity policies from successive governments have pushed an increasing number of  families into poverty.  Over 4 million children live in poverty in the UK and that number is rapidly rising.  That is over 30% of all children in a country that is one of the wealthiest in the world!

The Tory cuts to welfare benefits and the underfunded Universal Credit scheme has left families in crisis- whilst the rich continue to be insulated from austerity.

Children from black and minority ethnic groups are more likely to be in poverty:   45% are now in poverty, which makes the Black Lives Matter campaigns even more important.

Disgracefully, two thirds of children living in poverty have at least one parent in work, many working long hours with very low pay.  Rising living costs, low wages and cuts to benefits are creating a perfect storm in which more children are falling into the poverty trap.

But it’s not just the lack of money that impacts on  poorer families. Services that families would turn to for support, are no longer there.  The huge cuts to Local Authorities funding, down 49%, with an unwillingness of councils to mount campaigns and use their reserves, hits the poorest families hard.  Children’s centres,  youth clubs, libraries and other support services are either cut to the bone or have disappeared. The safety net the working class had fought for has huge holes or has been taken away all together.

Barnsley Unison lobby of council cabinet 29.5.19, photo A Tice

Free school meals and  breakfast clubs, whilst not enough, have helped to ensure that children get a balanced meal during the day at school but ‘holiday’ hunger takes it toll on families.  The absolute catastrophe of the government’s voucher system during Covid-19 saw more and more families turn to food banks to feed their families.

The decision by the Tories to discontinue the  free school meals vouchers during the summer holidays has enraged families was spectacularly overturned following the letter from  Marcus Rashford, Manchester United and England footballer.  He wrote passionately, highlighting his own experiences. He wrote, “The system was not built for families like mine to succeed, regardless of how hard my mum worked.” This system does not work for millions of people which is why we fight so hard to change it!

Housing and childcare are two of the costs that take the biggest toll on families’ budgets.  But it’s not just finding a roof over your head, it’s the quality of housing that has the biggest impact. Energy costs for poorer families are high due the reliance on pre-paid cards. Families should not have to make choices between heating or eating!

Too many disadvantaged families are living in cramped conditions, especially in cities with no outdoor space, sometimes in just one room. It’s a nightmare at any time, but during the ‘lockdown’ it’s even worse. The lack of good quality council housing is a scandal – with private landlords making a fortune!

With schools still closed to most pupils, and a reliance on home schooling, much of it ‘on-line’, a national free Broadband scheme and free laptops would ensure young people could access the tools to help their learning. Yet again, the government’s promises have failed, and educational inequalities will increase enormously.

Thousands more families are living on the edge of poverty. One unexpected setback,  like redundancy or an illness or even cuts to hours- could push them into the poverty trap. The furlough scheme has helped in the short term to alleviate some of the risk, but as the government seek to pull back from this, we will see a huge rise in the number of families facing catastrophe.

The storms that were already  gathering because of a worldwide economic crisis, and made worse by the pandemic, will mean even more misery for millions, unless a mass movement of the working class rise up.  Capitalism is designed to serve the bosses and keep the rich enveloped in their wealth.  Our job as socialists, is to turn the world upside down and fight for the 99% and ensure that every family and every child has all their needs met through a democratic planned socialist system.

Help fight for a socialist society to end poverty for good – be one of the hundreds of people who has registered to join us this month!

 

 

“We’ve got to organise and overthrow capitalism” – Socialist Party member speaks at Black Lives Matter protest

Below is the speech from Deji Olay [Birmingham Socialist Party] at the massive Black Lives Matter protest in Coventry on Sunday 7th June.

Click to hear Deji’s speech yourself on our Facebook page!

My name’s Deji, I’m a member of the Socialist Party, and I’m here for the same reason as all of you. Because we’ve seen too much injustice, we’ve seen too much police brutality, and we’ve seen too much harm being done to our communities, and to our world around us.

And its not a bug; its a feature. This is systematic. The country’s democracy is a sham, and these laws are there to protect the elite. They’re there to protect capitalism, order, to protect the guys that control everything. But they don’t protect our communities, they don’t protect us. Its a racist elite that choose these laws. Its a racist elite that choose police violence because it protects their stores, and it protects their wealth. But we don’t own the stores; we just work in them. We don’t choose these laws. We don’t own these offices, we just work in them, and these laws aren’t for us.

We need to change the system. We need to protect our communities, we need to protect our libraries, and we need to protect ourselves. We need socialism to fund our libraries, and we need socialism to fund our gyms, and we need socialism to fund our community services.

Rest in peace, everyone that died because of police brutality. Rest in peace, everyone that died in Grenfell tower.

deji

This country has weaponised racism for profit. This country, the leaders, have got their wealth on the back of slaves. They got their wealth from Africa. They got their profits from exploiting Nigeria, South Africa… and they’re still profiting from Africa.

In America, in the UK, in the Caribbean, in Africa, we are all one people.

We’re all living under the same system. And nothing will change until we change this system, until we get rid of this racism, until we get rid of capitalism.

We’ve got to organise. Like the Haitians when they overthrew slavery, we’ve got to organise and overthrow capitalism in this country and in the world.

We need to educate ourselves after this demo. Because these people, they promised us education, but all they’ve given us is tests and scores and bull**** educations.

We need to learn about the Black Panthers Party, and we need to read about Huey P. Newton, and we need to read about Freddy Hampton, and we need to learn about the Black Panthers’ revolutionary programme. And we need to read Karl Marx because they did.

We’ll learn that racism won’t go without changing the entire system. Because its not just a few bad apples, its structural problems. Its these problems. Fred Hampton was the leader of the Black Panthers, and he built a rainbow coalition, uniting white people, Asian people, black people against racism, sexism, and capitalism. That’s why I’m so happy to see so many to see so many different people out here tonight…

I’ll finish with his words: we’re going to fight racism, not with racism, but we’re going to fight it with solidarity. We’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, we’re going to fight it with socialism!

Join the struggle against racism and capitalism! Join the Socialist Party today!

West Mids Socialist Party Discusses The Fight Against Coronavirus In Workplaces

On Thursday Socialist Party members in the West Midlands met online in a forum to talk through workplace situations during the coronavirus pandemic, and discuss strategy to defend workers’ health against some truly despicable management practices from the private and public sectors.

The meeting included tax officers, teachers, union staff, probation officers, railway staff, shop and warehouse workers and more, as well as comrades recently made unemployed.

We heard that some MoJ and HMRC office management have been flagrantly ignoring government advice on working from home, that most supply teachers have been furloughed but no money has been paid out from the furlough scheme yet, that rail staff have had to fight for weeks to get social distancing in work. Despite heaps of praise for shop workers by their employers, supermarket upper management have utterly failed in protecting their staff by denying them PPE and anything close to social distancing.

Success in health and safety has only been won by the organised determined action of workers. Vigilant campaigns have ensured adequate PPE, social distancing, remote working, and even furloughing at 100% pay.

27440

Workers have been winning PPE and protective measures to protect from Covid-19 at work.

In an incredible success of worker action, one non-unionised office in the West Mids organised their own rotas to ensure skeleton staff to keep the office functioning, keeping the majority of workers home and the rest safely distanced. Management there had insisted they would all need to be in office, but the workers forced the managers to adopt their rota model!

Many workers have successfully struggled to ensure their safety from coronavirus in the West Midlands and across the country, but too often this has been with the absence of trade union leaders.

The leaderships of some of the biggest unions in the UK representing hundreds of thousands of workers have failed to lead the fight to defend their members’ safety. In this meeting Socialist Party members spoke out against union right wingers and careerists who have been far too concerned with bureaucracy and stalled negotiations with the government and employers, risking workers’ safety week after week in a rapidly changing situation.

27488

The Socialist -our weekly paper- details workers’ fights and the need for trade union action.

During and after the coronavirus crisis there will be massive attacks on workers as the capitalist class seek to recuperate their losses and minimise any increased consciousness among workers. Events so far have only been a small test in terms of what fighting leadership is needed from trade unions as the core organisations to defend the working class.

The Socialist Party branches and union caucuses continue to meet online regularly, discussing political and workplace situations and organising for militant working class action.

We fight for socialism -for workers’ democratic control and management over the economy- and will push the case for a determined fight for socialist change within the trade unions. Only the working class finally taking control will end the endless battles with bosses that workers face even during a global pandemic!

JOIN US! – IT’S EASY TO GET INVOLVED!

The week government lies caught up with them

THE WEEK THAT GOVERNMENT LIES CAUGHT UP WITH THEM

  • If we’re to beat Covid 19, it can’t go on like this!
  • One of the worst death rates in the world.  
  • Testing doesn’t meet needs
  • PPE shortage letting down our health and social care workers
  • Care homes becoming death traps
  • Government then blame health workers for misusing PPE!!

This has been the week where much has been revealed. The lack of preparation for the virus, the weakened state of the NHS   due to austerity and privatisation for profit is broadly recognised by people. Many people of course want to get on with fighting the enemy at the door, Covid 19, rather than argue about things.

But failure of both our economic system and government has consequences, different responses have different outcomes.

There is still much for the British people to learn and absorb about the lack of preparation that has left us short of PPE, staff, ventilators and the rest – not least the ignoring of operation Cygnus in 2016 that warned we were unprepared for a pandemic.   But it’s also the week the government tried to shift the blame, and largely failed.

London Transport workers fighting private companies and TfL to secure health and safety

Postal workers’ anger over profits before health and safetyPostal workers’ anger over profits before health and safety

27440


 

BLAME THE POPULATION….NOT THE PREPARATION ?

From PPE, to ventilators, to testing, to delayed lockdown, to considering ‘Herd immunity’ (which would have led to 500,000 deaths) the government’s lack of preparation and slow reaction has hamstrung our reaction to Covid19. Now, even ‘The Times’ a Tory supporting paper, has joined the condemnation of the wasted months (in an astonishing attack). Faced with this the Government moved to shift the blame and shift our gaze, with a “Don’t look there, look here” policy.

It started with “blame the public” -get us all to blame each other re shopping or going out in public. It was classic divide and rule, but the reality was very different. Of course, social distancing is vital and that it came too late has allowed to virus to kill over 20,000 already (16,000 in hospitals, 4000 in care homes and community as of 20 April) **

Then it was footballers – note: not billionaires, or more ‘upper class’ entertainers.

Then the biggest mistake of the government, they tried to start blaming health and care workers for the lack of PPE. As health workers saw increased deaths amongst colleagues and feared going to work, that the government tried to blame them brought howls of outrage across the country.


 

OBEYING THE LOCKDOWN: You wouldn’t think it from government and media blaming and shaming, but the public response to social distancing has been remarkable. With rare exceptions, the lockdown has been well observed and community support for one another has soared. We’ve seen the best in people. Many have been surprised at how well people have recognised the rules. Especially young people, for whom misleading talk might have led them to believe they would not be affected.

That didn’t stop TV pictures of a couple walking a dog in the big spaces of the Peak District. Of one woman alone on a beach being moved by police, or of Central News last Friday showing pictures of (much reduced) traffic on the M42 asking ‘where are they going?’ Yet on the mile long section of road filmed, there were only 4 cars!

But, as government finger pointing at the public went against what most of us experienced, and even the Government had to admit “they were surprised at the public response to supporting lockdown” (BBC), they had to start ‘backing off’.

FOOTBALLERS: Matt Hancock pointed the finger at wealthy footballers not donating. There can be few of us sports lovers who welcome the huge salaries for the minority of super-successful footballers, but this attack was not made on absentee, Tax dodging billionaires, or the less working class elements of the entertainment industry and just revealed Tory dislike of working class kids doing well. But to their credit, footballers organised themselves to donate directly to health services and not hand money back to their often very wealthy owners. Again the government had to back off.

HEALTH WORKERS ‘MISUSING’ PPE. The government shot themselves in the foot here. Some Trusts were close to or actually running out of PPE over the weekend. Dr Rob Harwood chair of the BMA Consultants, said: We “should not expect people to expose themselves to potential risk to their lives during the course of their work. It’s a real disappointment to us that Government has been unable, even after a month, to address this progressively worsening shortage of PPE”.

Note from his comment that the situation is “worsening”. Ministers have tried to claim it was a distribution problem but it’s becoming clearer it’s a supply problem. Meanwhile they admit to 27 health workers dying from Covid, As of April 18, The Guardian says it knew of at least 58, the Times confirms this figure.

If we might advise the government: people are sick of this deflection and hiding. If there’s a shortage, say so. Don’t keep pretending there’s enough and blame shifting. Get on with putting it right! Stop debating contracts with private firms, and mobilise the relevant parts of British industry to get the stuff made.

To add to all this, is the horrible truth coming out about infections and deaths in care homes, the deaths of transport workers and while Mr Hancock claims cancer and other treatments should be carrying on, there has even been talk of up to 60,000 deaths from other illnesses that are not fully treated as hospitals are diverted to Covid treatment.


 

Does all this matter for the immediate future?   –   Simple answer ‘Yes’.

When government supporters say ‘keep politics out of it’ are they right?  –  Simple answer ‘No’.

As we all fight to win against Covid, we want the best ways to win. It is widely recognised now that the government squandered time despite the warnings from China and Italy. Sir Jeremy Farrar of the government’s own SAGE committee said ‘UK is likely to be one of the worst, if not the worst in Europe’ for deaths and infections.

Government supporters cry that ‘Politics should be taken out of it’, but the problem is two-fold.

First that past ‘politics’ got us ‘behind the curve’ in the first place, with decisions to run down pandemic preparation due to austerity, decisions to break up and fragment health and social care for their ‘market’ in health care that has led to uncoordinated procurement of materials and uncoordinated Laboratories, decisions to rely on ‘just in time production’ and to outsource production of vital materials to cheap labour economies. This has already cost thousands of lives.

Secondly, we want to win the war against the virus and we don’t think this lot are up to it. We had the wrong preparation and then the wrong response. The Times revealed government simply didn’t take this seriously enough. Fortunately for us all, the government dropped ‘herd immunity’ and started using the state to organise, but their love of relying on the market means they are still way behind catching up with the virus. Cabinet members who ‘hate the state’ are clearly unsuitable for the job.

These issues are biting government now and instead of spending time covering their backsides at press conferences, they need to get on with it and mobilise all resources to fight this virus.

27439

 

HOW TO GET OUT OF THIS?

The growth of the death rate appears to be levelling off but we are not out of the woods by a long way. The ‘plateau’ that they talk about looks like hundreds of deaths per day for a significant period. Without adequate testing any attempt to leave lockdown risks a deadly second wave and cycles of release and lockdown.

The only way out until a vaccine is available for all, is by testing, tracing isolating – hunting the virus down and keeping people away from it, and to stop it spreading in hospitals and care homes protecting our health, social care and other workers.

But with testing at only 20,000 per day when what’s needed is 500,000 per day, things don’t look good. That’s why there’s cabinet division on coming out of lockdown.

What is required is a huge mobilisation of our industry and our labour to provide a system of testing tracing and isolating. Something we simply aren’t seeing.

SOCIALISM

Against their will and to save capitalism amidst the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s, the capitalists and their parties have been forced to use massive state intervention. However the example of the nationalisation of the Banks in the crisis a decade ago shows they will bail out the bankers and wealthy shareholders at the expense of the working class.

An editorial in the recent issue of ‘the Socialist’ commented: “A genuine exit strategy – not just from the pandemic, but from the austerity, poverty and exploitation that the capitalist profit system generates – will only be possible in a fundamentally different kind of society.

“This would be based on public ownership of industry, services and finance, in which the planning that governments have been randomly groping towards in this crisis – to build the hospitals, secure essential equipment such as ventilators and masks, distribute food, etc – could be extended to the whole of the economy.

“Working-class people could then democratically decide and prioritise where the enormous wealth that already exists, and will be created in the future, should be spent.”

Join us!

 

**Breaking: April 21st Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that deaths are 40% higher than government figures.

 


Comments seen this week on social media…….

“Definition of an essential worker: Someone you treat like sh*t, until you realise you need them”

‘Britain in 2020. A 99 year old man has to haul himself round his garden to raise money for medical supplies while billionaires sit on private islands with more money than they can spend in a lifetime. And the worst part is people think this is normal. This country is fu*ked, absolutely fu*ked.’

‘Captain Tom should be praised, but while we praise the heroes, we must also hold the villains to account.’

‘By the way, what happened to the Chancellor’s ‘doing whatever is necessary’. Why is charity money needed then?’

If thousands of beds can be found for Nightingale hospitals, why couldn’t they be found in the past when the NHS was stretched to breaking point?

If thousands of beds can be found for Nightingale hospitals, why couldn’t they be found in the past when the NHS was stretched to breaking point?

When on so many occasions people were forced to wait in ambulances or trolleys?

Coronavirus response could create ‘very serious unintended consequences’ says the HSJ (Health Service Journal)

HSJ says ‘Non-coronavirus patients at serious risk due to huge focus on fighting virus’

‘National NHS leaders are to take action over growing fears that the “unintended consequences” of focusing so heavily on tackling covid-19 could do more harm than the virus, HSJ has learned.’ 

NHS England analysts have been tasked with identifying patients who may not have the virus but may be at risk of significant harm or death because they are missing vital appointments or not attending emergency departments, with both the service and public so focused on covid-19.

A senior NHS source was quoted “There could be some very serious unintended consequences. While there will be a lot of covid-19 fatalities, we could end up losing more ‘years of life’ because of fatalities relating to non-covid-19 health complications.

“What we don’t want to do is take our eye off the ball in terms of all the core business and all the other healthcare issues the NHS normally attends to.”  “People will be developing symptoms of serious but treatable diseases”

Unless urgent action is taken people suffering strokes, or from Cancer, Heart conditions and more could end up as part of a silent death toll.

img_6558

A member comments:   “What does the Catherine Armstrong case tell us?

Scotland’s chief medical officer was the public face of the TV campaign to get people to stay at home and then bobs off to her second home for two weekends!

The lockdown is being largely effective because of the responsible actions of millions of working people and the bravery of others. Yet, every day people are being shamed for being 10 yards apart in a park while the chief medical officer does this!

I’ve met no-one who isn’t shocked at the selfishness and stupidity. And few who aren’t angry at the ‘One rule for us, another rule for them’ mentality.

Doesn’t it echo the MP’s expenses scandal and many similar stories we’ve heard? Where expenses claims were beyond the outrageous. Where Ian Duncan Smith could proclaim ‘the end of something for nothing’ regarding Benefits and at the same time make expenses claims for a hair-cut? (What hair?)

Just how corrupt or out of touch are those who climb the greasy pole to the top of our system?

For a chief medical officer to tell people stuck in flats, often with kids and no gardens to go in, that they must stay at home while not only can she go to her first home’s considerable garden but buggers off to a second home ( – a pre-requisite it seems for our upwardly mobile upper professional class.)

How is it they can feel no pressure from the rest of us to be accountable or even considerate, never mind do their job properly?  Is it the breakdown of social solidarity following the “no such thing as society” mantra of Thatcherism? The mantra that meant MP’s could fiddle their expenses without a tinge of guilt? Or what else could make them feel no connect to others in society, no being bound by the same rules as the ‘rest of us’?

Whatever it is, we must fight to put an end to this hypocritical ‘I’m alright Jack’. There needs to be a huge democratic and accountability shake-up to end a situation where elected and appointed officials feel no connection to we ordinary millions. The ordinary millions without whom nothing would work anyway.

We should ensure that democratic and accountable bodies run our public services. Public representatives like MP’s should get the wage of an average skilled worker not way more. Stop the gravy train where people stand to be reps to fill their pockets instead of fighting to improve conditions for all. Then they can rise with the rest of us.”

Reports are emerging that MP’s are to get an extra £10,000 to work from home. This can’t be true, someone tell us it’s fake news….

Hypocrisy as Tories lecture us on selfishness and Branson seeks a bail out.

After years of telling us ‘there’s no such thing as society’, that we’ve ‘all got to look after number 1’, and of MP’s feeding in the trough and of taking lucrative executive positions in private companies, it’s a bit rich of Tory ministers to tell people not to be selfish!

And while they pick on predominantly working class footballers, demanding a pay cut, they don’t talk about the billionaires and super rich in society. Indeed one of them, Mr Branson is appealing for a public bailout for his company despite having a personal fortune that could cover those financial issues many times over.

And, while there’s talk of hoarding…What about £13 trillion hoarded in tax havens around the world? Money that could be used to improve economies and peoples’ lives across the world.

👉 If you agree, join us: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/main/join

 

Corona Crisis commentary latest 3rd April

MATT HANCOCK FRONTS UP

At least at yesterdays’ government press conference (Thursday 2nd April), Health Secretary Matt Hancock faced up to the governments’ failure to provide PPE and testing. Unlike previous government evaders, he answered some questions and made promises to dramatically improve provision. Let’s all hope he’s successful.

He also promised to write off NHS Trust debts –worth £13.5 billion – for debts read money Trusts couldn’t cut from their restricted budgets. It sure would have helped if the Conservatives had done this before instead of worshipping austerity.

Also, most interestingly Mr Hancock acknowledged that ‘Britain’s diagnostic industry starts from a very low base’….Why is that?

In an earlier article we carried by Dr Jon Dale, (Is there a cure on the Horizon?) he explained why this was the case. Essentially there is a lot less money going into diagnostics because there is less profit in it compared to producing medicines.

There is some amazing work being done by many companies to understand and seek cures or palliatives for this virus and no-one can blame a company having to work in a ‘Market system’ for needing to make a profit to survive. But what it reveals – yet again – is that the market cannot deal with human problems. Hence the huge government intervention needed in this crisis.

Health priorities cannot be left to the profit motive but must be decided by society for the interests of all.

See latest article from our journal Socialism Today – Another market system failure

If our health industries are to be improved they must be brought into public ownership and integrated and planned and alongside our NHS.

– What Jon Dale said: “Small biotech companies employing 20-30 scientists are rapidly developing faster, more accurate tests. But they may be too late for this pandemic.

– Private investment in these bio-tech companies between 2015-19 was 6 times less than in companies researching treatments where higher profits are hoped for. (One expert commenting on inadequate diagnostics) said it was “a market failure” that diagnostics were less valued than treatments.

– Large companies making diagnostic tests don’t invest in tests that may not be needed, they want guaranteed sales. A Socialist plan of production would combine laboratory research with modern purpose built factories, prepared for new infectious outbreaks.

– Public ownership and investment, not short term profit hunting, would save many lives.”

Tests for all now!

Nationalise production and research!

While we await a cure, we can cure the system that holds us back in the our fight against epidemics

27410

Corona crisis: Lack of Preparation – Government evasions exposed

  • Stop the promises!

  • stop the Bull****!

  • Provide the Equipment!

  • Provide the tests!

Lack of Preparation – Government evasions exposed

CHECK OUT OUT OUR WORKERS CHARTER
AND SEE ALL OUR COVERAGE AND ANALYSIS OF THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS IN ONE PLACE!

Below we have 2 items that reveal:

1) That the “terrifying” results from a major pandemic exercise were kept secret from the public. (Sunday Telegraph)

The Telegraph reported exclusively that Britain had undertaken a major pandemic-readiness test, known as Exercise Cygnus, three years ago and that the NHS failed to pass it. Yet, the “terrifying” results of Cygnus were kept secret from the public.

This confirms a report in the New Statesman on March 16“Government documents show no planning for ventilators in the event of a pandemic”

27410

 2) From the editor of the Lancet that the lack of testing and PPE is a national scandal…………

 “They had a duty to immediately put the NHS and British public on high alert. February should have been used to expand coronavirus testing capacity, ensure the distribution of WHO-approved PPE, and establish training programmes and guidelines to protect NHS staff. They didn’t take any of those actions. The result has been chaos and panic across the NHS. Patients will die unnecessarily. NHS staff will die unnecessarily. It is, indeed, as one health worker wrote last week, “a national scandal”. The gravity of that scandal has yet to be understood.”

“Government documents show no planning for ventilators in the event of a pandemic” “ventilators, which are now in such high demand that Matthew Hancock, the Health Secretary, told British manufacturers on 14 March, “If you produce a ventilator, we will buy it. No number [you produce] is too high.” He urged firms from Rolls-Royce to JCB to stop what they do and to begin making ventilators”

As with the late and inadequate supply of PPE for frontline health and care workers and GPs, the non-appearance of rapid testing, tracking and confining suspected cases, which is the WHO guidance (and the successful policy of countries, such as Korea), so we also have a shortage of ventilators. This need not have happened, had there been planning and investment in good time. This was explained in The New Statesman (16 March) edited excerpts below.

“After failing to prepare, the UK now faces a grave shortage of the machines that will keep critical patients alive.

In October 2016 the UK government ran a national pandemic flu exercise codenamed Exercise Cygnus. The then chief medical officer Sally Davies commented “We’ve just had in the UK a three-day exercise on flu, on a pandemic that killed a lot of people” “It became clear that we could not cope with the excess bodies,” One conclusion was that Britain, as Davies put it, faced the threat of “inadequate ventilation” in a future pandemic.

Despite the severe failings exposed by Exercise Cygnus, the government’s planning for a future pandemic did not change… ..the plans were tested and failed, yet not rewritten or revised. …none of them mentioned ventilators, which are now in such high demand

Hancock’s entreaty to manufacturers was the first time the government has publicly recognised Britain’s urgent need for more ventilators – six weeks after the first cases of coronavirus were reported in the UK on 31 January. But the necessity for the devices in any pandemic has long been clear.

As the 2011 preparedness strategy puts it, “Critical care services… are likely to see increases in demand during even a mild influenza pandemic. In a moderate or severe influenza pandemic demand may outstrip supply, even when capacity is maximised… it may become necessary to make decisions concerning priority of access to some services.”

Pre-existing pandemic plans, an official is quoted as saying, “never went into the operational detail”. Britain now faces a grave shortage of the machines that will keep critical patients alive.

In summary the figures go like this: The government expects between 6080% of the population to contract coronavirus, or between 40-53 million people; that 4% of cases will require hospitalisation; modelling also assumes that a quarter of those hospitalised will need a ventilator; In short, at least 1% of all cases can be expected to need ventilation, or between 400,000 and 530,000 people

Government said that it expects 95% of all cases to occur over a 9-week period, with 50% coming during a 3-week peak. During the peak, –expected to arrive in Britain in late May or June- (that’s why recent talk of a lock down for 3 months has arisen) 15 to 20% of all coronavirus cases will hit the NHS every week for three weeks. Assuming only a 1% rate, rather than the higher rate in Imperial’s modelling, the number of patients needing a ventilator would therefore range from 60,000 per week to more than 100,000.

The United Kingdom has 5,000 ventilators. Many are sure to already be in use, as ventilators are deployed with intensive care beds, and Britain’s intensive care beds run at 70 to 80% capacity most months. Each ventilator will typically be required for at least ten days, making the gap between demand and supply more acute over time.

  • Ed: This article was written before the lockdown and helps explain why the Government is now trying to ‘flatten the curve’ through social isolating.

 

There are fears for people in America because of the lack of an all embracing health service and the inability of people of lesser means to be able to access it. It has led to a joke going round the USA: “For the average American, the best way to tell if you have CoVid19 is to cough in a rich persons face and wait for their test results.”

Outbreak of Crony-Virus

Specialist medical companies are claiming that on hearing of the dire shortage of ventilators, they contacted government to offer to provide increased numbers of them, but never even got a response from government. Meanwhile Dyson and JCB have featured in the media as possible suppliers. Coincidental fact: Dyson and JCB are donors to the Tory Party.

Apparently, the EU also invited the UK to join them in successfully procuring large numbers, but the British authorities ‘didn’t notice the e-mail’ and so missed out.

On panic buying and ‘hoarding’. We’ve all heard of behaviour that’s beyond the mark, but people stocking up have come under much media attack. But underlying this behaviour was a fear to fear that people wouldn’t be able to get supplies or be able to go out to get supplies. It was fear based on a lack of confidence in Government advice, or that their words wouldn’t be matched by deeds.

In fact, Supermarkets say they still haven’t heard from government who the vulnerable 1.5 million in Britain are who need help. Also reports are appearing that some people are finding it hard to get out for the supplies they need.

Public money is being used on a massive scale to bail out market failures again, but we want no return to the past when this crisis fades. Health workers, cleaners, shopworkers etc, previously under rewarded must not be turned from Heroes to Zeroes and there must be no dumping the bill on the rest of us. No going back to the lie that there’s no money for us while the billionaires pile up unimaginable fortunes.

27394

Confusing advice: People walking in the Peak District have drones overhead telling them off, yet planeloads still arrive in London without checks and then go into the tube network – just one piece of confusion that reflects the fact that the government failed to act quickly and clearly enough in dealing with the crisis.

 

Building new hospitals? “Am I the only person becoming increasingly irritated by ‘official’ language? Ministers and NHS boss Simon Stevens (former boss of a private health care company) keep referring to ‘building new hospitals’.

It may appear semantic, but they aren’t building them, they are medically equipping (to what standards we don’t know) giant exhibition centres to be used as field hospitals.

Make no mistake, none of us will care as long as if we get ill we are treated, but again it underlines the lack of preparedness for this crisis that they are constantly trying to bluster-up what they are doing in their desperate rush to catch up. (Perhaps they were all stung by China’s ability to actually build 2 new hospitals in a few days)

Acutely aware that the public have spotted how awfully unprepared Britain (the UK) is for this virus Stevens was keen to point out that they have freed up 33,000 beds.

2 things. It’s unlikely they are Intensive Care beds – and if some were whether they had staff to operate them, and secondly it covers over the fact that denial of treatment is now being enforced for other seriously ill patients.

Lack of capacity in the health service means Covid will cause increased deaths with other illnesses.

A cancer specialist said he expected at least a 5% increase in cancer related deaths because the pressure of Covid would mean cancelled treatments of other serious illnesses. A member of Coventry Socialist Party needing an urgent life-saving operation has had the operation postponed.

It cannot be reassuring news that Birmingham Airport is to become a temporary Mortuary for 12,000!