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‘Freedom Day’ for who exactly?

Boris Johnson Estonian presidency/CC

Boris Johnson Estonian presidency/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

The media are calling the end of lockdown restrictions on 19 July, ‘Freedom Day’. But freedom for who exactly? If the end of lockdown is a return to business as usual, then this is cynical at best and plain insulting at worst.

Poverty, cost of living and food bank usage is still greatly increasing. Mental and physical health deteriorating, and a plethora of other issues are getting worse and worse under Tory austerity and mismanagement. Covid exposed all of capitalism’s failings for all to see.

Covid showed us that even the Tories can act in a crisis, so why let it get to such a devastating point ever again? The pandemic has affected everyone, some more than others. I am a 26-year-old autistic adult with a master’s degree, I struggled to get a job before Covid, and have been on and off Universal Credit for years since my graduation. Things are only worse now and I am one of many that capitalism has failed. This freedom they speak of is beyond me, for I have no money to participate.

If the Tory track record is anything to go by, it is wishful thinking to expect things to ever go back to normal on the cheap. There is much to learn from the past year or so, and only a socialist programme can stand up to the challenges we face to rebuild society.

Aaron Bradley Smith-Lyons, North London

19 July is to be a ‘return to normal’, but in one very important sense that had already been announced by Boris Johnson’s pay offer of 1% to NHS staff, marking a return to the pre-Covid era: a decade of Tory austerity, underfunding the NHS and underpaying NHS staff.

That’s why the national day of protest over the NHS pay offer on 3 July was well supported by the public. But the right-wing leaders of Unison, who did not support the protest, remain within a ‘Covid bubble’ believing the prime minister, whose life was saved by NHS staff, can be appealed to by an open letter signed by Unison members!

Politically, the ‘Covid bubble’ has burst with the loss of a Tory safe seat, failure to win a Labour ‘red wall’ seat, and the health secretary’s resignation. The medical miracle of the pandemic was the speedy creation of effective vaccines; politically, it was the Tories’ creation of not one but several ‘money trees’. Now they face the daunting task of recovering that ‘spending spree’ by taking on a working class population and proud of its ‘key workers’ who saved their lives.

John Merrell, Leicester

Conservatives have always believed in ‘acceptable deaths’. Earl Haig dismissed the thousands of ‘poor bloody infantry’ he sent to die. After all they were only working class.

Is Boris so blasé about his own death, I wonder?

Derek McMillan, Worthing

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