As winter sets in and the Omicron variant of Covid becomes more prevalent, it is more obvious than ever that the working class is being used as a meat shield against the virus.
The principle controversy around the latest spike in infections are the infamous Downing Street parties. Whilst millions of normal people were housebound by law, the politicians, journalists and their hangers-on were ignoring their own rules and having a series of formal and informal Christmas parties. They even went on to make jokes about how their parties were not socially distanced or in line with other guidelines. They clearly don’t think that the rules the rest of us have to follow apply to them.
There is no proof that Boris attended or even knew about some of these, although it stretches belief to suggest that someone didn’t realise there was a large Christmas party happening in their own home. What is definite is that Johnson has flouted the rules on other occasions; he took part in a Christmas “zoom quiz”, where he can clearly be seen sat with aides and colleagues, wearing Christmas clothing, unmasked and not distanced at all.
The blame should not be put entirely on conservative shoulders though. The deafening silence from the Labour Party further undermines their claim to be the party of our class. This is especially true at the moment, but it is also hard to believe that Labour politicians knew nothing about this party, given the slimy politics of Whitehall. That there were also journalists attending further outlines this; most journalists won’t think twice before hacking the phones of dead children or delivering the tame, sanitised version of the news they want us to hear. It is beyond credible that one of these creatures would not want to sell their story of illegal x-mas parties.
The really damaging aspect of all this though is not the blatant hypocrisy of the political class, no matter how outrageous it may be. The serious problem is the strength it lends to coved denial and other conspiracy theories.
Many people are giving serious thought to the idea that this may all be a big overreaction. How serious can the pandemic really be, if our own leaders aren’t taking the rules seriously? If Johnson can host a party, or not wear a mask, why should I get a jab?
The Covid deniers and anti-vaxxers do serious damage to working class communities and put thousands of lives at risk, and the irresponsible and selfish actions of the elite do nothing but strengthen their lies. Millions of people will watch the hypocrisy of the Tories and many of them will conclude that the “do as I say, not as I do” message is not worth listening to. After years of Covid misery, working class communities will begin to ignore safety measures if the rules only apply to them.
Our communities need to be strengthened against Covid, which means vaccines and safety measures. But what is clearer than ever is that our communities also need to be strengthened against the lies and hypocrisy of the political class. We must reject the traitorous politicians and the lying journalists, but we must do so whilst keeping or families, our communities and our class safe. We cannot allow the games of the rich to endanger the lives of the people.