The rollout of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine on Tuesday to great fanfare, was pure political show-business.
Of course, this vaccine is probably safe. But will it be effective? The jury is still out. Britain’s “fastest in the world” licencing of this vaccine was immediately suspect. Why not just give it temporary “emergency use” approval? Other countries, which are scarcely less willing to see big pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders enjoy a bonanza, have been much more circumspect.
Of course, there would be good reason for Britain’s medicines’ agency to say yes to a vaccine ASAP: Britain has the highest death rate from Covid in Europe. A safe and effective vaccine is desperately needed. All the more so, now that the measures to stop Covid spread are being relaxed and a 3rd wave could be beginning already.
But there was a more pressing reason. Boris Johnson, who is losing points daily in the opinion polls, thanks to his criminal mishandling of the pandemic, needs to try to save his political neck.
So what better than a life-saving vaccine, a world first, to boost himself aka “British greatness”. And never mind that the vaccine is an EU import!
It’s the same when it comes to the final days of Brexit negotiations. The talks have “gone right to the wire”. So now it is up to the mightily egotistical King Boris to return with a deal, in time for Christmas! Of course, if he does not, no problem, says he - Britain will still “prosper mightily”. A bit like Simple Simon though, he will only really be a “good boy” for the capitalists, if he brings back the pie.
He already backed down on his pretence to play hard ball by breaking the Northern Ireland protocol. But who could be fooled? It is the EU, not the British negotiators, who could always “walk away” without much harm: 6-8% of EU goods are exported to Britain whereas 43% of Britain’s exports go to the EU. A case of a giant versus a mouse.
The Office for Budget Responsibility spelt out last week that Brexit will be worse than Covid, because its effects are permanent, whereas the economy can recover (with some scarring), from the effects of the pandemic - whether there is a deal or not. But if there is “no deal” the effects would be far worse.
Had governments not been so obsessed with their petty nationalisms and insularity, the Covid virus might not have taken hold as it did. And what is Brexit, except another insular act of nationalism? It is a step backwards. The working class can be in no doubt as to what and whom to blame. And in no doubt as to what to do about it.
We need to get political and organised!
The booing of players taking the knee by Millwall fans attending the first "live" match since the lockdown, came as a shock. But bad enough as that was, these racists then claimed that this had nothing to do with racism! They said they were merely against Black Lives Matter - BLM - "because it is a political organisation"! What's more, Boris Johnson's Environment Secretary, George Eustice immediately chimed in to agree with them... No surprise there, though.
Of course, this idea that BLM is a "political organisation" is ridiculous. BLM really is the epitome of a "movement", embracing many ordinary people - and yes, for sure, many political organisations support it. Those who refuse to acknowledge this, however, often come from political organisations themselves. Like Trump-Republicans or the far-right, whether in the USA, or here in Britain. It is politically-organised racists, in particular, who are likely to counterpose that no, "all lives matter", or come up with the argument that BLM is "political". In truth, they support the cops' killing season against black men in the USA, including the deliberate murder of George Floyd. They support the singling out of black youth by cops over here. Indeed, black lives do not matter to them.
So it is side-stepping the issue to answer them by saying "we are for equality", or "we are against discrimination" when the problem here is racism, pure and rotten. Since the Millwall incident, this is what has been happening: players held up placards "against inequality", instead of taking the knee - although one did hold up his fist! These may just be symbolic gestures, but they have come to mean solidarity against killer cops and against the wider, racist establishment.
And yes, it is true that racism will not be eradicated by kneeling, or any other gesture. Racism is part of the class system which divides workers in order to keep them in their place. So it is this system which has to be targeted. And by the way, for that task, a political organisation is indispensable!