'Disasters are par for the course!'

Picture: Getty ImagesPicture: Getty Images
Picture: Getty Images

‘You don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

That may be a line from Bob Dylan that I use far too frequently, but it seems to be appropriate once more.

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However the piece written by Kenan Malik in last Sunday’s Observer was the most succinct comment on what is happening today in this country;

“Rather than admit to its own failings during the Covid-19 outbreak,the government is vilifying those least able to defend themselves,” it read.

The mood music of all the Government press conferences – you know those short bursts of pontificating from an elegant podium with a couple of strategic flags and experts alongside – has been “we’re all in this together” and “we’ll face this ‘thing’ together”.

The impression is of Kitchener Johnston pointing at everyone and urging us all to do our duty.

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Of course that does not include bald blokes who drive to Durham from London despite lockdown; or ministers who buy millions of masks that don’t work; care homes that ministers forget exist; PPE that is in short supply and doesn’t work anyway; trace and track that neither trace or track; apps that don’t appear to app.

The litany of failure and missed opportunities could fill this entire newspaper.

It’s good to know Serco is doing OK though. Never a company to miss a goose that has a clutch of golden eggs.

But then, remember this is the government that bought a bunch of ferries off a shipping company that didn’t exist and had no ships.

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But all the accumulated catastrophes that have cost many thousands of lives and caused distress to millions are really par for the course.

It all reminds me of the painted street sign in Abington Street where the sign painter advised cyclists to dismount but sadly didn’t think ahead. Go look at it next time you’re in Northampton town centre.

The government seeks to blame us all, but the real target is the poor; that section of our community that always provides suitable scapegoats, They are feckless and indolent and irresponsible.

For centuries all over the globe they have been responsible for all the great and most exciting epidemics and pandemics. Living in poor housing conditions and not luxuriating in their large gardens, using public parks, eating junk food and getting obese, crowding on public transport, and working in dire sweatshops, refusing to self isolate because their minimum wage and threat of the sack means the selfish feckless can’t work from home gazing out of the French windows on to their pristine lawns.

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Mr Prime Minister, I can save you a small fortune that you want to give to your friendly local consultants before you stuff them into the Lords for their trouble.

The crisis we face is not simply bad luck. It’s a lack of planning ahead (because that costs money far better spent giving to the odd passing oligarch) and, of course, using capital letters in the style of your mate Trumpy –POVERTY.

We need a planned economy, adequate wages, good social and health care, an education system that delivers on more than promises, and a country that values real open equality for all citizens.

Berthold Brecht once observed, when the Communist government in East Germany berated the people for not working hard enough, “Wouldn’t it be easier to dissolve the people and elect another?”

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