I’m not sure we’ve all grasped the seriousness of the situation we are in with Covid-19. It’s not just about nut jobs stocking up on bog rolls or Nissan in Sunderland embarking on a dry run for the likely closure of the plant under Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit. It’s not just about pubs closing down and old people being told to stay at home for three months, or the rest of their lives, whichever comes sooner. It’s about so much more than this.
The new chancellor Rishi Sunak didn’t address a news conference yesterday. He made a speech, heavily laden with rhetoric and cliché, that certainly benefited many people, not least those who run businesses. Of course, I welcome that. No one wants businesses to go to the wall, not least because of the services they provide and the goods they produce and the jobs they create and sustain. I am no expert but people who are seem to think that Sunak got some things right. In my world, he did next to nothing.
For social care, which is already in crisis, I heard nothing. For self-employed sole traders, I heard nothing. For public sector and third sector organisations, struggling to provide front line services, I heard nothing. For renters, I heard nothing. For the sick and disabled, I heard nothing. Sunak kept saying, “I promise to do whatever it takes.” What the hell does that mean?
It is quite clear that we are not, as George Osborne once falsely claimed about austerity, “all in it together”. Some are more in it than others. The kind of people I have been working with in the last five years, there was absolutely nothing. The lonely and isolated I once visited in Bath and North East Somerset are certainly more lonely and isolated than they ever were. Sunak, a filthy rich banker and novice chancellor, showed no signs of empathy or understanding about vulnerable people. I can only conclude that he doesn’t give a toss. Prove me wrong, posh boy.
What a time to have a government almost devoid of talent, ability and experience. A clown of a prime minister, a third or even fourth rate front bench of non-entities like Dominic Raab, Priti Patel and Suela Braverman, with actual buffoons like Nadine Dorries holding ministerial jobs. And an opposition, led by an elderly career backbencher who has never had an original idea in his life, alongside the towering brains of Diane Abbott and Richard Burgon. No wonder people are completely losing their shit.
Low wage people are likely to become no wage people in the coming days and when they find Richard Branson – net worth circa £6 billion – getting a massive taxpayer funded handout, they are not going to be impressed. If Boris Johnson and Sunak reduce this to politicking, there will be civil disorder. Desperate people will take desperate action.
I’m scared of what the virus might do to you and me and I am very scared of what it is doing to our country. And instead of treating us like mushrooms, keeping us in the dark and feeding us shit, politicians need to be open, honest, brave, empathetic, sympathetic and compassionate and express all these things with action, not words. It’s only the future of the country that depends on it.