Dominic Cummings – formerly Boris Johnson’s right hand man – has delivered a bombshell testimony to two parliamentary committees about the government’s response to the COVID crisis last year.

Cummings pulled no punches in his attacks on Johnson and other senior Tories. He argued that due to their incompetence, “tens of thousands of people died who didn’t need to die”.

By any measure, the Tory government certainly does have the blood of tens of thousands on its hands. Cummings, formerly at the heart of Johnson’s government, has confirmed what most of us already knew.

For those of us whose parents, grandparents, and friends have died needlessly this is a government of criminals and fools. Tory ministers are liars, crooks, and, yes, murderers. They must be brought to justice.

Liars

Cummings revealed that this government sent people with COVID from hospitals into care homes, spreading the virus among the most vulnerable. When this resulted in wave after wave of deaths, they lied about it.

Cummings said that pre-existing plans for a pandemic were “hollow”. For anyone who’s experienced the sharp end of NHS cuts under successive Tory governments for the last 10 years this won’t come as a surprise. Instead of tackling this, the government lied about it.

Cummings exposed the government’s Plan A for tackling COVID: ‘herd immunity’. The Prime Minister wanted to “let the bodies pile high” to avoid imposing a lockdown which would hurt the economy. Government ministers openly discussed this strategy with the media. But now Downing Street denies it. They’re lying about this too.

Cummings’ description of the backdrop to all this reads like an episode of The Thick of It. It could be considered funny if it weren’t for the fact that tens of thousands are dead.

Johnson and Hancock were more concerned about their media profiles than saving lives. Johnson’s girlfriend was interfering in government business. The Cabinet Office was lost at sea (“terrifyingly shit” in Cummings’ words). And the Prime Minister was “unfit for the job…like a shopping trolley, smashing from one side of the aisle to the other.”

Protecting the rich, killing the rest of us

The picture Cummings painted in his evidence to MPs is one of extreme government incompetence. But this is unfair. When it came to handing out juicy tax breaks, PPE contracts, and Test-and-Trace contracts to big business, Tory ministers proved very competent indeed.

When it came to protecting profits by designating more and more businesses ‘essential’ – despite the risks to workers – Tory ministers performed strongly.

In short, when it came to protecting the rich the Tories were at the top of their game. When it came to saving the lives of the rest of us, they were criminally negligent.

What does it mean?

Despite his best efforts, no one is buying the idea that Cummings was some kind of knight-in-shining-armour trying to bring order to the chaos in Downing Street. He’s a right-wing head-banger who bears equal responsibility for all this government’s crimes.

Cummings could of course have gone public with these revelations at the time that the events occurred. But clearly he wanted to hang onto his position of power in Number 10.

Now that Cummings has been turfed out of office by Johnson, he’s got nothing to lose. Hence he’s lifted the lid on the gruesome truth, in order to distance himself from the blame.

Johnson is reaping what he sowed by bringing Cummings, an avowed anti-establishment right-winger, into government in the first place. The establishment wing of the Tory Party, which was instrumental in forcing Cummings out earlier this year, will now be telling Johnson ‘We told you so’.

The accusations and allegations now swirling around the government are symptoms of deep fractures in the Tory party.

The Tories are the traditional party of the British ruling class. This capitalist class is facing its worst crisis for 300 years, with differing views on how to resolve it – none of which can work. One way or another, these splits and divisions are going to find a reflection inside the Tory party.

Where’s Keir?

This government of murderers stands exposed by one of its own. This reflects the underlying instability of the Tory Party and the capitalist system it defends. So where’s the Labour opposition?

After Cummings gave evidence to MPs, ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer has asked some ‘forensic’ questions in Parliament. Labour frontbenchers have been touring TV studios sternly wagging their fingers and saying that “serious questions must be answered” and that ministers should “seriously consider their position”.

In other words the Labour leaders are just a bland, monotonous droning noise in the background.

The abject failure of the Labour leadership to stand up for the tens of thousands needlessly killed by the government’s negligence is as sickening as the crime itself.

Starmer is worried that Labour is no longer connecting with working class people. He thinks that wrapping the party in a Union Jack might help.

We think that fighting for all those working class families who have lost people in this pandemic, at the hands of the Tories, would be a better place to start.

Starmer is organically incapable of such a fight. He craves establishment approval.

We need him out of the Labour leadership, along with all those who sabotaged Corbyn’s electoral chances. They’re directly responsible for the Tory victories in 2017 and 2019, and the horror that’s followed for tens of thousands of working class families.

Justice

Johnson, Hancock, and the entire Tory government must be brought to justice. Their actions have killed our friends and family members.

We’re not asking for justice through the courts, which always side with the rich and powerful. We want justice delivered by the millions of workers who have suffered over the last year.

For this we need to get ourselves organised. We need to arm our organisations with radical socialist ideas and methods for fighting this government. That means clearing out the Labour right-wing. And it means adopting a fighting socialist strategy in the trade unions.

If the Cummings revelations have left you trembling with indignation at the injustice and criminality of this Tory government, then get in touch with Socialist Appeal today to join the fight for justice and for socialism.

 

Ben Gliniecki 

Categories: Analysis

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