If the Tories are keen to preserve lives, why are they threatening people who are shielding from Covid?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he reckons the role of the House of Commons “can only properly be fulfilled when members are here in person”, and says his decision is “completely in accordance” with the “equalities considerations” of the government and parliament. Phew, what a loony!

People who are vulnerable to Covid-19 are very much second-class citizens to the Conservative government, aren’t they?

Consider teachers who have been ordered back into work even though their physical health means they must shield against the virus – that is, they need to stay in their homes, away from anybody who might possibly pass it onto them:

Teachers with underlying medical conditions have been threatened with pay cuts or disciplinary action if they do not come into school.

Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union – which opposed the reopening plan – [said]his union had received “lots of worries” from members this week.

“We’ve had a lot of traffic in relation to teachers with underlying health conditions,” he said.

“We’re now seeing some schools insisting that shielding is over and that those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be back in the workforce,” he said.

“We’ve come across one or two examples of schools threatening to deduct pay or put people on disciplinary procedures if they don’t come into the workplace.

“Of course we’ll continue – and have done – pushing back with those employees with some success, but nevertheless this shouldn’t be happening out there.”

Conversely, MPs are being deprived of the ability to carry out their responsibilities, even though they could do it from home if they were permitted to:

The shadow minister for disabled people has taken legal advice over the government’s “outrageous” decision to prevent MPs at serious risk from coronavirus from continuing to vote and take part in debates from their own home.

Labour’s Vicky Foxcroft, who has a long-term health condition, was unable to vote on Tuesday [June 2] because of the government’s decision.

She [said] she and other MPs at particular risk from COVID-19 had been discriminated against.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has also criticised the government this week over its stance, after refusing to do so last week.

There is no consistency in this behaviour by the Tory government; one group is penalised because their health forbids them from working while the other is penalised because its members want to.

It seems the Johnson government is happy to contradict itself, simply to inflict harm on the vulnerable.

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No Comments

  1. Daniel Margrain June 7, 2020 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Lockdown has never been about saving lives but about about social control and a Tory power grab. Will you be waking up soon?

    • Mike Sivier June 8, 2020 at 12:58 am - Reply

      It can be about both, you know. Face facts: failure to lock down soon enough cost thousands upon thousands of lives and made the UK the Covid-19 hotspot of the world.

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