12 May 2020 — Off Guardian
Ever since the UK entered “lockdown”, those pushing for it to end have been labelled “callous” or “selfish” or accused of putting profits before people. Meanwhile millions are unemployed and a global famine is on the horizon. The lockdown will kill more people than the virus, and needs to be ended.
The lockdown has been “eased”. Apparently. Some people should go back to work, schools might be opening a bit. You can see one person at a time. You’d be forgiven for not noticing any tangible difference. You’d be more forgiven for thinking it’s a contrived mess designed to confuse and distract people.
Essentially: We are very much still under lockdown, and likely to be so for the foreseeable future. And it is still, very much, a destructive policy which will ruin many more lives than the virus.
Nevertheless, the usual “liberal” media suspects are up in arms about Boris “putting profits before people”. And, as per usual these days, even alt-media types (who should know better) are buying that line. So is Jeremy Corbyn.
In what is perhaps the greatest example of gaslighting in human history, we have “champions of the working class” arguing for mass unemployment, the shutting down of small businesses and the self-employed, and draconian police powers.
Not only are we still living under draconian rules, but the chattering classes are complaining they’re not harsh enough.
— OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) May 10, 2020
The same people who clamour for more and tighter lockdowns are attacking anybody who opposes the measures. Labelling them “psychopaths” or “far-right” or “extreme libertarians”.
Last week Owen Jones used this phrase to dismiss anyone protesting the lockdown:
the political right who resent a lockdown that values human life over economic considerations.
It’s a lazy ad hominem we’re not unfamiliar with at OffGuardian. Over the last few weeks, many people have accused us of putting money before lives because we have expressed concerns over the decision to deliberately tank the economy, destroy small businesses and send unemployment through the roof.
In his most recent article today, Owen rails against the (so-called) easing of the lockdown, claiming it is protecting business but not people. As usual, he is wrong.
The idea that destroying the economy will only harm the rich, while somehow contriving to liberate the masses, is perhaps the most ridiculous lie of all the lies used to prop up the covid19 rollout.
You don’t need to be a supporter of capitalism to recognise that a collapsed economy always hurts the workers more than the owners. Where are all the students of Marx? Does the atrophied Left now really think “the economy” is some abstract concept which only concerns people who own stocks and read the Financial Times?
Reality check here for Owen and his champagne socialist chums. While they are enjoying their furlough swigging Chablis on the lawn, small businesses are currently going bust. The self-employed are seeing years of work destroyed in weeks. Unemployment is soaring.
Over TWO MILLION people have applied for benefits since the start of the lockdown. And this is just applications, not even close to the total number of jobs lost.
That’s around 5% of the entire working-age population.
That’s at least 2 million lives potentially ruined, and it’s a conservative estimate. If just 2% of those people die from stress-related illness, suicide, substance abuse or malnutrition, then the lockdown will have killed more people than the coronavirus simply through economics.
And that’s just this country – in the US over 33 million people have claimed unemployment in the last month, that’s nearly 10% of the whole population. The knock-on effects of Western domestic policies will be enormous. Already there’s talk of the mega economic crash causing a third-world famine which may kill millions.
Because – and this is a concept those people who derisively spit the word fail to understand – “the economy” translates into the price of bread, rent and fuel. It is warm clothes and clean water. It is petrol and gas and electricity. It is education, infrastructure and opportunity. It’s being able to get a job and feed your children.
Those dreaming that this crash will be the destruction of the monied classes and the dawn of liberation for working people need to look back at Weimar era Germany, or Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.
How much liberation did they bring with them?
Did the people loading wheelbarrows with devalued currency to buy bread feel set free? Did the war veterans selling their medals on street corners suffer less than the Khodorkovskies ripping them off?
Billionaires love a crisis. There are fortunes to be made on put-options and derivatives; buying cheap stock in failing companies; snatching up foreclosed properties for pennies on the dollar; stagnating wages means paying your employees nothing while your profits soar. And debt. Mountains of debt. Private, and corporate, which gives you leverage for years – even decades.
It is in these crises that oligarchs are born. While many of us are struggling, the top billionaires in the US have seen their personal fortunes increase by over 300 billion dollars. The banks handling the bail-outs have charged over 10 billion dollars in banking fees alone.
What’s happening to the economy is a disaster for everyone…except the billionaires.
Remember, all this is the result of a lockdown that, as of right now, there’s zero evidence has saved any lives. In fact, there’s actually very little evidence lockdowns work at all.
Remember, also, that the virus is acknowledged to be harmless to over 80% of the people it infects, and only mild in the vast majority of the those who ever show symptoms. We’re not choosing between a Ebola and a devastating lockdown, we’re choosing between a “mild to moderate” disease and a devastating lockdown.
The economic consequences are catastrophic, but that’s not the end of the unnecessary human suffering being caused.
Then there are the elderly people, and those with cognitive impairments, being coerced into signing DNRs.
Or those people suffering serious illnesses who stay away from A&E departments for fear of catching the virus and/or overloading the NHS.
Far from being overwhelmed, the NHS is operating with over 40% of its beds empty. To prevent the NHS from being “overwhelmed” it has, essentially, ceased functioning.
When society is stopped on a dime, when people are deprived of their livelihoods, when the sick and vulnerable are denied human contact and forced to sign documents declaring their lives meaningless, and when the health service stops servicing people’s health…that is the opposite of saving lives. That’s killing people.
The. Lockdown. Is. Killing. People.
Unemployment. Debt. Stress. Bankruptcy. These are not just “economic considerations”, they are life or death. The lockdown is bringing largescale poverty with it.
Poverty kills people. Millions of them every year.
And thanks to the policies enacted by global governments – and cheered on by so many on “the left” – those numbers are about to get bigger. A lot bigger. For this year, and many years to come.
Unless we stop it.