On Wednesday 26th May 2021, the title of this blog is how Dominic Cummings referred to the British Government elite during the the Corona Pandemic from February to September 2020. Leaving aside the insult to real donkeys, what he forgot to mention was that he was one of the well paid beasts, plodding around Downing Street. Moreover he chose to donkey off to Barnard Castle, not caring about the lives of essential workers and other citizens. Despite the obvious spite triggered by his treatment from his previous buddies, what Mr Cummings revealed was confirmation of what many people, already knew. Mr Cummings ‘lions’, the nurses, doctors and essential workers in the UK, were left to fend for themselves. However, Mr Cummings analogy of lions and donkeys is far off the mark.
If anything lions, as predatory hunters, are parasitic on other life forms and should not be a term applied to nurses and essential workers. These live to defend life not take it. However, lions as top of the food chain killers, could be applied to the governing elite. The Tory ‘pride’ in their Number 10 den, like those in the wild, were not concerned with how the ‘herd’ was fairing. The virus for a time, was therefore allowed to rip through their ranks, and their ‘immunity’ was left to chance. Not long after this, in another lion-like demonstration of elite power, some were making a ‘killing’ on government contracts, while the bodies ‘piled up’. Those in the den at number ten, were getting the ‘lions share’ of what could be scavenged. Indeed, like all top-of-the-food chain predators, the capitalist and pro-capitalist elite, throughout the pandemic were (and still are) concerned primarily with their own welfare.
Keeping with the Cummings analogy for another paragraph, as with hard working, loyal, real donkeys, the working class beasts of burden were being worked to death with no sanctuary in sight. Nurses, doctors, care workers and others carried burdens far beyond what should be humanely contemplated. To expect the Tory elites, as with all other elites, to admit to anything which does not reflect well on them is a waste of time. Instead we have already witnessed a strategy of damage limitation. The governing elite here in the UK are constantly asserting that the lack of preparation was because the virus was new and no one could anticipate what happened. But this assertion is definitely not true, either through ignorance or manufactured memory loss. Although Dominic Cummings made lack of preparation a part of his criticism, he too fails to mention an important government document. The existence of the 2008 UK National Security Strategy, was (and still is) being ignored. This is because within it, scientists and experts agreed a serious pandemic was “highly probable”. It also laid out detailed advice on how to prepare for it.
Mr Cummings revealed that within Downing Street, there was a trivialization of the new ‘flu-like’ virus and suggestions were made of just letting it rip through the community to achieve “herd immunity”. [Herd immunity is achieved when the weak are killed off, but the stronger survive and henceforth have natural immunity.] He also suggested that lies were told regarding testing, and tracing and that positive Covid19 carriers would not be sent to care homes. But of course they were, and many thousands died unnecessarily by this failure. He claims Test and Tracking was delayed and then stopped soon after it started. We knew that. Similarly, national borders were not closed because the Prime Minister and his supporters prioritised the economy. The tourist industry and import and export capitalist were listened to rather than medical experts and practitioners.
The priority given to the capitalist producers over non-profit based production, continued to outweigh any concern for the health of people; hence the reported inner cabinet comments such as ‘let the virus rip’; ‘let the bodies pile up’ and ‘we will hit and hope’. Indeed, this is still clearly the attitude of those in government, to those of us considered as part of the herd. Is this why the Indian variant is being allowed to be passed along the wide open transport links between the UK and the Indian subcontinent? I think we know the answer. Although, Mr Cummings, was (and is) part of the problem we face, at least through anger at his treatment, he has merely confirmed the attitudes we suspected existed within government. However, many people had already deduced these attitudes must have existed within government, simply from the actions, and lack of actions, of the elites in the UK.
The general rule applies: Take more notice of what people do, than what they say, particularly if they are politicians. For those who hadn’t the time or the energy to follow the antics of Mr Cummings and his Tory predators, the link below will deliver a document which did follow them during 2020 and beyond.
Roy Ratcliffe. (May 2021)