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Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock, Photo: Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street / cropped from original / licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, linked at bottom of article

It was the criminally negligent handling of the pandemic by the Tories, including Cummings, which allowed Covid to tragically rip through care homes, argues Caitlin Southern.

Dominic Cummings’ ‘bombshell’ allegations about the Governments’ handling of the pandemic reveal nothing new but may well distract attention from future revelations.

His claims that the Health Secretary has consistently lied and that the Prime Minister is not fit for office are hardly shocking considering just how disastrously the Covid-19 pandemic has been handled.

The failure to test patients being discharged into care homes – despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s insistence that this was happening – the Prime Minister’s obsession with keeping the economy running whatever the cost in lives and suffering, and the constant misinformation surrounding the availability of PPE, were all well-known prior to the Select Committee hearings that are being reported on as if they are somehow a surprise.

Matt Hancock’s claim last year that care home residents were being tested before they were discharged from hospitals in order to shield the people who live and work in those facilities was proven to be untrue when the death tolls began to mount.

His mealy-mouthed response to Cummings’ allegations, namely that such a testing system would take time to build, is disproven by the fact that hospitals had the facility to test people on admission in order to separate Covid positive patients from other groups.

Conducting a second test during the discharge process was therefore not beyond the capabilities of the system. It seems, however, that it was beyond the capabilities of a government that places no value on human life, and that that fatally and deliberately misinterpreted the scientific concept of herd immunity in order to suit the Prime Ministers’ ultimately failed agenda of saving the economy at the cost of lives.

The Select Committee hearing is an opportunity for Cummings to rewrite and downplay his own role in the abysmal handling of the pandemic. By asserting that he repeatedly urged the Prime Minister to fire Hancock for lying to both the Government and the nation, but was ignored, he seems to be attempting to undermine the public perception of his own authority.

Boris Johnson and his cabinet of ghouls are entirely culpable for the tens of thousands of entirely preventable deaths.  But this is a government in which Cummings served as chief strategist, so we must not allow him to whitewash his own complicity in this national tragedy.

The assumption that the public would blithely accept mass casualties reveals the callousness at the heart of this Tory administration. The belief that some lives were not worth the resources required to save them informed the entire official response to the pandemic, as it has informed the policies that have left millions of people living in poverty while Tory donors get tax breaks and preferential contracts.

From dodgy PPE contracts and the deliberate failure to continuously house the homeless population, to delayed and far too porous lockdowns that they had to be forced into imposing, this government has demonstrated without exception that it is not fit for office.

The People’s Assembly national demonstration on Saturday 26 June will be an important opportunity to remind the Prime Minister and his criminally corrupt cabinet that we do not accept their excuses and nor do we believe that they did everything they could to combat the pandemic.

We must hold them to account for the suffering that they have caused, not only individual liars like Matt Hancock, but collectively for the incalculable damage that has been inflicted on the people.

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