A year ago, Rupert Read and Ian Sinclair published in Byline Times a timeline of the genesis of Britain’s COVID-19 crisis. A year on, they have kept their timeline updated – and are now publishing it, today, as a free ebook
I’d first emphasise that we really do think that the timeline very largely speaks for itself. We think what it says is devastating. The clearest way to comprehend this is via international comparisons.
Other island nations have come through the COVID-19 pandemic far, far better than the UK. The best comparator is Taiwan. Very internationally connected, with a population of 23.8 million and double the population density of the UK. Its coronavirus death toll, at time of writing?
Ten total deaths for the whole of Taiwan.
What can be seen in clarity and detail in our timeline is: How austerity and the steady degradation of our emergency frameworks created what turned out to be a deadly backdrop to an emerging threat.
How the UK failed utterly to be precautious; how, instead, it led the world on recklessness vis-a-vis the pandemic. How this recklessness was despite the Government being advised clearly and in no uncertain terms, throughout February 2020, of the magnitude of the tsunami of death and destruction that was liable to come, if precautions were not taken, swiftly and at scale.
How it toyed dangerously, repeatedly, with a ‘goal’ of achieving herd immunity via potentially deadly infection, ignoring the obvious risk of utterly overwhelming the NHS, not to mention more silent risks such as that now playing out, of an epidemic of Long COVID.
How it systematically counterposed ‘the economy’ to adequate action on the virus: ignoring the truth that, even on their own terms, their failure to control the virus was and is economically disastrous; those countries that have aimed for zero-COVID-19 have fared far better, economically, than those (the UK, the USA, Brazil) that have not.
How care home residents – very vulnerable old people – were in their tens of thousands sacrificed on the altar of ‘protecting’ the NHS.
How NHS staff themselves were not protected adequately.
How ‘Test and Trace’ was initially abandoned at the very moment when it was direly needed; and how the resurrected Test and Trace system has been a ghastly, almost unbelievable failure, in part due to its centralised and yet simultaneously privatised nature.
The vaccine rollout in the UK is going well, thank goodness. And the Government seems finally, to some extent, to be learning the lessons from its previous, appalling ideologically driven failures.
But we must never, ever forget why the vaccine rollout in the UK has been so desperately needed: because for a whole year the UK Government profoundly failed to protect us.
Nor should we cease from pointing out that it is still making pretty huge – and still ideologically driven – errors: for instance, the way that it has kept most factories, not to mention construction-schemes such as HS2, operating throughout the pandemic shows clearly where its priorities lie. A key reason why so many have died, and why deaths have disproportionately afflicted working-class people, is this vicious (not to mention self-defeating, in its ludicrous short-termism) insistence on ‘keeping the economy going’.
> You can download Rupert Read and Ian Sinclair’s free ebook here