Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Campaign for Zero Covid in the New Year?


Your humble blogger has
added my name - for what it’s worth - to the campaign for Zero covid. Labour movement activists cannot remain simple spectators as we head towards the second year of a global pandemic which has cost tens of thousands of lives and done untold social, economic and psychological harm to millions.

Other countries have managed to defeat this virus and we should learn from their examples. There are measures open to this country right now to achieve this goal - along the lines of the recommendations coming from the scientists on the Independent SAGE Committee. We should also be coordinating our campaign across Europe so that we don’t add to the damage already being done by Brexit.


Labour should go beyond sniping at the Government, or asking them to clarify their position ahead of each successive “U-turn” in response to the frightening increase in the spread of the infection.


We need an immediate nationwide lockdown (a necessary evil), accompanied and followed by an effective, public sector “track and trace” based upon the Public Health functions of local authorities (and not outsourced to failing private contractors).


The zero covid campaign rejects the false dichotomy between health and wealth, between society and economy - of course, because the economy is simply one way of looking at our society and our wealth depends upon our health as much as our health depends upon our wealth. Or as I put it here nine months ago - “We must demand that the Government takes whatever course of action will save the most lives from this coronavirus – and if that then means we need further social change to deal with the economic consequences of those public health measures then let’s bring that on.”


The model motion for trade union branches (or Constituency Labour Parties) to affiliate to the Zero covid campaign needs a little updating, but would provide a good basis for discussion at meetings in the New Year.

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