A Guardian columnist just gave perhaps the most withering assessment of the Tory government and the past few days of chaos.
It’s hard not to be somewhat overwhelmed by this mess. But Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty managed to sum it up in a nutshell:
Kent a giant lorry park
Families unable to see each other at Christmas
The pound in a nosedive
Schools in chaos
You know if this were a Labour government they’d be calling this the winter of discontent
— Aditya Chakrabortty (@chakrabortty) December 21, 2020
Where to begin?
Well, it appears the UK could be heading into freefall. The Tories have forced huge parts of the country into Tier 4 restrictions. They claim this is due to a “mutant” strain of the coronavirus (Covid-19). As The Canary reported, not to break the habit of a lifetime, the Tories announced this via a leak to a Sunday Times journalist. The result of these last minute changes was panic in London and an exodus of people from the capital.
This mutant coronavirus strain has also resulted in many countries closing their borders with the UK. This included France. Its border closure included freight traffic from the UK. BBC News reported that:
Richard Burnett, head of the Road Haulage Association, told the BBC’s Today programme that the ban could deter EU hauliers from coming to the UK over fears they will end up being stranded.
This led to Boris Johnson holding “emergency talks” via a Cobra meeting to discuss possible food shortages. But according to the PA news agency, transport secretary Grant Shapps played down this idea.
Meanwhile, on Monday 21 December, PA reported that early on in the day:
The markets tumbled in response to the escalating coronavirus crisis and the looming prospect of a no-deal Brexit at the end of the transition period on December 31.
More than £33 billion was wiped off the FTSE 100 within minutes of opening, as the index dropped more than 2%, although it later recovered to a fall of around 1.4%.
On Brexit, senior politicians began calling on Johnson to ask the EU for an extension to the transition period. Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted:
It’s now imperative that PM seeks an agreement to extend the Brexit transition period. The new Covid strain – & the various implications of it – means we face a profoundly serious situation, & it demands our 100% attention. It would be unconscionable to compound it with Brexit.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 20, 2020
And if that wasn’t enough for you, another Tory cronyism scandal began breaking: £200m of personal protective equipment (PPE) to a firm with alleged links to a Tory peer and a party donor:
We’ve uncovered a third company- after Pestfix and Ayanda – to go through the VIP lane: PPE Medpro.
PPE Medpro (a brand new company) is linked with a Tory Peer and a large Tory donor and appears, like the other two VIPs, to have been paid inflated prices. https://t.co/9VtKKP6Swo
— Jo Maugham (@JolyonMaugham) December 21, 2020
The winter of discontent?
As Chakrabortty stated, under a Labour government, this really would be called “the winter of discontent”.
The Socialist Party wrote of the so-called Winter of Discontent:
On 22 January 1979 public sector workers staged a one-day strike calling for an end to low pay and for a shorter working week.
It was the biggest stoppage in Britain since the 1926 general strike. In London, 80,000 workers from the NHS, schools and local authorities marched to parliament to demand the Callaghan Labour government drop its detested policy of pay restraint.
It resulted in an effective shut-down of some public services. The images of rubbish piling up on the streets is often used as an example of this. And of course, it was all presided over by a Labour government.
The Tory government: ‘nature’s bastards’
Now, in 2020, we have similar chaos. And as Colin Carroll pointed out:
And the client journalists would be calling for the PM to resign and call a General Election.
— Colin Carroll (@actonblue) December 21, 2020
So, if we had a Labour government right now – maybe yes, the establishment press and the Tories would be calling this a ‘winter of discontent’. But we don’t. And things are very different now to how they were in 1978/79.
Throughout the pandemic, the Tories have played on this being an unprecedented crisis. Couple that with a servile media and an exhausted public whose wellbeing still remains impacted, and the Tories will likely be able to spin even the mess of the past few days; chaos that some are calling “Brexit Island“.
If you can enjoy Christmas, do. Because the signs of 2021 being any better are evaporating fast.