Boris Johnson’s announcement that schools will close until February half term is yet another U-turn from this shambolic Tory government – one which has been forced by the huge pressure from below by education workers.
After four years of extremely painful and sometimes tedious negotiations, the ‘deal’ to leave the EU now looms. The pendulum has swung backwards and forwards between a likely deal and then the prospect of a ‘no deal’. Within days, we will know the outcome but it is once again necessary to go over the likely prospects for the working class, whatever the outcome.
In Stormont, Sinn Féin, the DUP and other Executive parties united to vote through significant parts of the Tory immigration bill through the Assembly via a Legislative Consent Motion. Minister for Communities Carál Ní Chuilín was responsible for moving this attack on immigrant workers.
The latest DfE guidance covering acceptable materials for use in schools is a serious attack on freedom of expression and particularly on the left. Materials from organisations which advocate supposedly “extreme” views, such as opposition to capitalism, are no longer allowed to be used.
Johnson’s government ignored warnings and delayed action, leading to massive PPE shortages. Recent figures suggest 200 health and social care workers have died after contracting Covid-19. The Tories and previous governments have overseen decades of underfunding of the NHS and of care being privatised.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent shutdown - which came in the context of an already developing global economic downturn and an especially weak and failing British economy - has had massive and unprecedented consequences. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, Britain’s GDP has fallen by an estimated 35% in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown being announced.