‘Tories will use coronavirus outbreak to mask their failures in budget’
Every crisis is an opportunity, including a coronavirus that touches on British politics.
Only the naive could believe cunning Boris Johnson, slippery aide Dominic Cummings and his latest chancellor, Rishi Sunak, occupy the moral high ground.
Events, dear readers, shape the fate of parties in power, with years of Tory austerity and cuts weakening the public realm when it has most needed to be strong.
Labour is well aware that, beginning with Wednesday’s Budget, the Tories will use the virus as a smokescreen to cover up economic and Brexit failings.
Outgoing Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, the sharpest of the Corbyn regime’s strategists, is aware of this. So too are Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey as they battle it out for the Labour crown.
The private internal debate in the Opposition is when to highlight the obvious, as they are aware they will be accused of playing politics with a crisis.
The answer was possibly heard yesterday from NHS medic Dr Sonia Adesara, at the Daily Mirror’s Labour leadership hustings in Dudley.
The health service, Dr Adesara said, is working at full capacity and the spare beds simply do not exist to care for coronavirus patients.
Ambulances and A&E units unable to hit targets, and hospital waiting lists growing, are a direct result of Tory policies.
The surprise in a Doctors’ Association UK poll – which found that only eight of 1,618 NHS medics surveyed believe the health service is “well prepared” for coronavirus – is that the octet exist. Perhaps they pressed the wrong button.
Sooner or later, the public will link Tory spending squeezes to the lost hospital beds leaving an enfeebled NHS fighting a losing battle with the disease. It will be a potentially pivotal political moment which Johnson fears.
When danger arrives, the call goes out for an active government to protect us. Johnson’s excuses will be Labour’s golden opportunity to argue for compassion, co-operation and properly funded public services.
We’ll discover that coronavirus is a highly political issue if the infected who might have been saved start dying in large numbers.
The first duty of any government, goes the mantra, is to protect people.
After a lost decade of cuts, the Tories leave us vulnerable. Johnson may yet pay the ultimate political price for reckless cuts.
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