Now. I know the other week I said that I didn’t want to just come on here and moan about how hopelessly inept the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis has been, or what absolute dullards/heartless bastards our Goverment is made up of, and I really want to keep to that.
You can sense a “But…” coming this way, right?
But…it’s rare that a week goes past when something doesn’t get my dander up, and this week, that thing came on Thursday. (There were things before that, of course: Johnson’s absolute inability to answer any question Kier Starmer asked him at PMQ’s for the umpteenth week running, for example, but given the frequency of that happening I figured I can mention it at pretty much any week I choose going forwards.)
But on Thursday, a new low, and a sneek preview of how things are going to be for the next few years at least.
For on Thursday, there was a vote in the House of Commons, tabled by Labour, to bring in weekly COVID-19 tests for NHS workers.
This is a no-brainer, right? We all saw first hand the explosion of gratitude across the nation to out NHS workers, with weekly rounds of appreciative applause echoing up and down our streets. We want to protect them, so they can continue to protect us, right?
We all remember Boris, standing out on Downing Street, having announced that the NHS had saved his life (the recuperative powers of watching Withnail & I previously having been unknown), joining in with the clapping before retreating back indoors to carry on making his buses out of wine boxes, write another racist article for The Spectator, try and mount anything which looks vaguely female, or whatever it is that he does behind closed doors. And he was not alone amongst the cabinet in taking to the streets, or as close to the streets as their moats will allow them, to join in the applause. There were the usual suspects: Raaaaab, Patel, Hancock.
In the meantime, there was the sloganeering. There was the very clear:
…and the rather less clear:
Not so much about protecting the NHS in that one, but that’s implicit, right?
I mean, it must be when you look at figures like this:
In case it’s not clear, those jobs -particularly the ones towards the top of the list – are predominantly the lower-paid, who can’t work from home but who have been told it’s okay to go back to work.
Just to pick out some of those: there’s Nurses crashing in at #5 with 101 deaths linked to Covid-19 between 09/03/20 and 25/05/20; Nursing auxillaries and assistants at #10 with 61 and, in with a bullet at #1, it’s care workers and home carers with 204 deaths linked to Covid-19.
So you would think that, in these new times, where we appreciate the work our NHS and care workers do, ensuring they – and by extension, us – are protected by way of weekly checks would be an obvious way for our politicians to double down on their words of praise.
But you’d be wrong. The motion was defeated 344 votes to 198.
If you’d like to see how your MP voted, you can check here. Spoiler alert: of those 344 votes, 343 were from Conservative MPs, and 1 was from the DUP (Jim Shannon, who seems to think the Government haven’t quite got enough out of that £1 billion they lobbed in their direction to prop them up after the 2017 election.)
343 MPs more concerned with toeing the party line than actually doing something good for once in their otherwise vacuous existences.
If you disagree with the way your MP voted, you can let them know by emailing them. Just Google their name and you’ll find an email address.
So you’ll forgive my cynicism, skepticism, call it what you will – but I’ve never believed the Tories when they say that they value the NHS. Right there is a clear indication that actually they don’t give a fuck about them, or, by extension, about you.
She & Him are a collaboration between singer and actor Zooey Deschanel (probably best known over this side of the pond for her roles in sitcom New Girl and films Elf, Yes Man and 500 Days of Summer) and M. Ward (of…um…M. Ward and Monsters of Folk fame). Since I read about the above on Thursday, I’ve had this tune by them lodged in my noggin:
More soon (unreliable broadband allowing).