Boris Johnson’s speech on Sunday (May 10) becomes more opaque by the hour.
He said all workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open, telling construction workers and manufacturing employees in particular to go back (we know now that the construction industry is part of a Tory plan to boost house buying that flies in the face of common sense).
And it resulted in scenes like this:
Buses in London are packed with passengers this morning, despite the govt asking people to avoid public transport if possible when the #coronavirus lockdown eased.
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) May 13, 2020
Some of these people are going to catch Covid-19. A few may die of it.
That’s what Johnson’s message to the nation contained: death.
And it seems he didn’t even cover all the professions that are expected to go back.
Also endangered are domestic cleaners, who are now expected to go back to their employers’ homes – no matter what those other people have been doing, where they’ve been, what diseases they may have picked up. But they can’t visit their friends/relatives.
Owen Jones has this one right:
For those wondering what triggered this tweet: the government has declared that cleaners can now clean houses and flats, but that we are simultaneously barred from seeing friends or relatives except in open public spaces, one at a time, if we socially distance.
— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) May 12, 2020
His advice to the people who employ domestic cleaners is right on the button.
Edwina Currie got into a proper state while trying to discuss it with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain:
'Why can a cleaner come into my house but neither of my sons can do the same? @piersmorgan challenges Edwina Currie on the confusion surrounding the government's new guidelines allowing cleaners to enter people's homes but restricting contact with family members. pic.twitter.com/YDjDbgWbBE
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) May 12, 2020
Anyway, why is it so important to bring in cleaning staff from outside your home, possibly to spread the infection? Why can’t people just clean their own homes?
That’s what I’ve been doing!
Another comedy addition to those going back to work is film and television production companies. Here‘s Screen Daily:
Film and television production in the UK are permitted to restart providing all involved abide by social distancing guidelines, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed to Screen.
The change comes as part of the government’s latest guidelines for the coronavirus pandemic, which include the instruction “All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open.”
Workplaces that do reopen – including screen productions – should “ensure employees can maintain a two-metre distance from others, and wash their hands regularly”, according to the Covid-19 guidelines on the government’s website.
Here is the appropriate response:
How the hell is this supposed to work? Socially distanced make up and hair? Love scenes two metres apart? Very long family sofas? https://t.co/bqsO4L2bQ9
— Samuel West (@exitthelemming) May 12, 2020
It won’t work, of course.
Also reopening (in England) is the fast food chain McDonalds – creating widespread fear among employees who will be asked to risk their lives in contact with hundreds – possibly thousands – of other people every day.
As one such employee put it in this article:
I’m terrified of returning to work… The amount of customers will be astronomical… and I still don’t know how we will be protected.
I can’t help but think the official advice means that if you’re middle class or above, everyone thinks it’s fine for you to work from home, but if you’re working class like us, it’s no problem and you can go back to work.
Yes indeed – and this means low-paid workers are most at risk:
“The Government’s strategy will put low-paid workers with the poorest employment rights most at risk,” [said Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Marsha de Cordova].
Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband [said] “It is the highest-paid workers who will generally carry on being able to work from home and lower-paid workers who are being asked to go back to work.
“We also know from … ONS figures that among men, construction workers have so far been more than twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as the average member of the population.”
The Tory government says it is prioritising safety for everyone returning to work.
But… well, look:
This is what getting the bus looks like the morning after lockdown was eased https://t.co/shloWtPnQh
— WOWcampaign (@WOWpetition) May 12, 2020
It isn’t happening; it won’t happen. It is the same as all the Tory promises throughout the crisis, about PPE, about ventilators, about testing, about contact tracing. If it isn’t exclusively for the rich, it isn’t true.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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