"Freedom" day - if ever there was a misnomer, that's it!

14 July 2021

Health secretary Javid has said "we must all learn to live with the virus" as he and Johnson confirmed the ending of restrictions - the final, apparently irreversible "Freedom Day" next Monday. Of course most restrictions, like mask-wearing, have already ended in practice - despite the risk.

    Infections are now predicted to hit 100,000 per day by mid-August, unmitigated by preventive measures. But we're told that it's all OK, because the "vaccination wall" will protect us!

    Thus far, this "wall" does seem to be holding. While infection rates are already over 35,000 per day, the number of hospitalisations and deaths aren't increasing; certainly not as they did during the 2 previous Covid waves.

    So, yes, it seems that "we're alright Jack" as far as Covid mortality is concerned. And just as well. Because the NHS could never cope with another Covid surge. Not when the accrued backlog of 5.12m patients, which resulted from turning it into a "Covid-only" service for over one year, is already threatening to overwhelm it. And that's without any new, added, Covid crisis.

    But the rest of the world certainly isn't "alright" at the moment. And not because of a cut in Britain's (relatively tiny) aid budget, either! No, the cause is to be found in the permanent division of the world, under capitalism's imperialist system, into rich and poor countries: the latter being the dependent backyards of their former colonial masters, doomed for as long as this system prevails, to underdevelopment and poverty.

    Covid has amplified this injustice and inequality a thousand-fold. Today, fires are burning in the looted-bare shopping malls in South Africa as the hungry poor riot in the streets, just as they did yesterday in Colombia, Peru, Lebanon, Iraq, or Palestine's West Bank - against corruption, poverty and discrimination - not to mention the violent protests against racism in Minneapolis, or Louisville, in the USA, fuelled by deprivation.

    While Johnson boasts that 66% of adults in Britain have been fully vaccinated, only 25% have been vaccinated worldwide - and it's just 1% in the poorest countries. But in today's interconnected and interdependent world, rich countries like Britain can no more insulate themselves against lethal viruses, than they can insulate themselves against the contagion of a rebellion of the working class and the poor - against yes, their criminal mishandling of a pandemic, but ultimately, against the iniquitous profit system which oppresses all workers everywhere.