The hypocrisy of the economic and political elites and their middle – class supporters in the media is clearly visible if one gives attention to the statements they utter. Take for example the politically orchestrated and media amplified salute to the nurses, doctors and ancillary workers. The sight of the elites standing at their doors clapping these front-line hero’s and heroines and talk among politicians and the media of their combined admiration and gratitude to them is in stark contrast to how they are actually treating these front line workers.
Distinguish between April 2020’s hypocritical rhetoric and the decades of governments refusing health service wage increases and in the lack of media support for better terms and conditions for nurses, junior doctors and allied staff. Contrast it also with the fact that after two months of warning and one month into a general self-isolation, medical staff are still not in receipt of the equipment and resources they so desperately need and were promised. Yet blaming or ignoring these front-line victims is already underway.
Only this week (9/4/20) one government official in the UK claimed that the reason medical staff were short of protective equipment was that many of them were causing shortages themselves by inappropriately using it. (Echoes of Hillsborough and Grenfell Tower?) Yet as one distressed nurse on Facebook reported with regard to reports of already delivered protective gear; “..they are lying to us”. A similar case can be made for the lack of ventilators and the drugs for sedation, the testing kits and the chemicals required to complete the tests.
With large machine gouged trenches being dug in the USA for mass burials and deaths reaching the tens of thousands, you would think a neutral media would be focused on the laxity of governments and their officials. After all, the latter have the authority and the power to make things happen – if and when they wish to do so. In the USA, the New York Times, has indeed, produced a scathing review of the shortcomings of the Trump administration since the first warnings in January 2020, noting that;
“A week after the first corona virus case had been identified in the United States, and six long weeks before President Trump finally took aggressive action to confront the danger the nation was facing — a pandemic that is now forecast to take tens of thousands of American lives — Dr. Mecher was urging the upper ranks of the nation’s public health bureaucracy to wake up and prepare for the possibility of far more drastic action.” (see http://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/us/politics/coronavirus-trump
Elite exit strategies?
It needs to be remembered that Donald Trump and Boris Johnson get along because they think along the same grooves. They share an elite pro-capitalist outlook on the world, particularly the world of business deals and making themselves rich on the back of economic and financial exploitation. So it should come as no surprise that in Britain as in the USA, business first Boris and his cronies were also dangerously slow to act to prevent corona virus contagion and are already considering early ‘exit strategies’.
Clearly most media puppets of neo – liberal capitalism are of little use. In the UK, for example, in spite of over 11,000 corona virus deaths and untold front-line shortages, much of the sycophantic media have chosen not to focus on the reasons for this preventable outcome. Instead, they chose Boris Johnson’s Covid – 19 hospitalisation event. The experience of one privileged elite politician has been the subject of a detailed celebrity eulogy of how his ‘leadership’ (sic) is to be applauded and how much he appreciates the NHS.
However, this celebration of a right-wing hedonistic dilettante has conveniently overlooked his record as an active member of a previous Conservative government. It was an oligarchy that wasted huge amounts of time on Brexit wrangles and vast amounts of money on new Aircraft Carriers plus numerous billion pound aircraft. All this spending took place whilst the NHS was struggling – before Covid – 19 – and which under his current administration – is now suffering! A similar picture but with even worse outcomes is taking place in the USA.
The ‘establishment’ and their middle – class supporters will hope enough people fall for this hypocrisy and that we will buy into this attempt to ignore or play down the tragic events that led up to it. The political elites everywhere will be employing their ‘spin’ to create a narrative of events which will enable their return to power and the early reintroduction of the system which underwrites their wealth and power. Ordinary citizens frustrated desire to return to some version of normality after lock – down will be skillfully crafted onto their own self-serving version of an early ‘business as usual’ exit strategy.
Already, their financial sector buddies are considering how best to escape the huge debt tsunami which will follow this now tectonic-sized collapse in global trade. In the financial media “whatever it takes” discussions and proposals are being made for the coming wave of debt which will swamp our populations when the virus is neutralised. Financial sector talk is all about creating privileged ‘Corona Bonds’; ‘Pandemic Recovery Funds; ‘Pandemic Emergency Purchasing Programmes’; ‘Guarantee Funds’, etc.
Guess whose ‘recovery’, ’emergency’, ‘purchasing’ and ‘investment’ concerns will be paramount in these top – level banking and government discussions.
However, any future socio-economic recovery may actually replicate – in economic and financial terms – what happens when a huge earthquake cracks the earth’s crust beneath the sea. Huge volumes of water (read ‘debt’) are also disturbed and soon begin surging toward the already compromised victims. Whilst post lock-down Covid-19 survivors will be glad the life-disturbing viral impact has ceased, very few will be fully prepared for the (debt) tsunami that will follow and maybe a second wave of infection.
Roy Ratcliffe (April 2020)
[An extended critique of Boris Johnson (Bojo) and the British elite over Covid-19 deaths is contained in ‘The last refuge of a scoundrel’ by Tom Mckenna, at http://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/10/the-last-refuge and more recently by Kenneth Surin on Bojo (the clown) at http://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/15/boris-johnson ]