The Covid-19 Pandemic: Class War or Culture War?

What puzzles many is why there has been so much mixed messaging from the government about the need for ways to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus in workplaces, educational institutions and other places where the public gathers. The wearing of face coverings is a good example of this. (There is an excellent article on face coverings on Wikipedia for those who want to be well informed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face_masks_during_the_COVID-19_pandemic).

At the start of the Pandemic, there was a certain amount of controversy as to the need for face coverings as a public health measure but as more and more evidence from scientific research has become available, there is now general agreement that face coverings are a good way for people to protect both themselves and others from infection.

The use of face masks (or coverings in some cases) has been recommended by American immunologist and NIAID director Anthony Fauci to reduce the risk of contagion. He has also admitted that they were not recommended in 2020 and that the delay in recommending general mask use was motivated by a desire to conserve dwindling supplies for medical professionals. It was, therefore, for practical reasons that wearing face masks was not made compulsory for the general public.

Now, though, the wearing of face masks seems to have become a “culture war” issue, with the libertarian right stating that being mandated to wear face coverings infringes upon civil liberties and individual freedom. The UK Conservative government is controlled by the libertarian wing of the Conservative Party and heavily influenced by the ideas of the extreme right in the USA. One can see this in a photograph of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet at a meeting in the Cabinet Office where all of the members of cabinet are maskless in spite of them being seated close together in a confined space:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/sep/17/boris-johnsons-revamped-cabinet-meet-for-half-time-pep-talk

Why an earth would the so-called leaders of a country which has had at least 135,000 people die from Covid-19 set such an irresponsible example? The answer is to do with money. First, measures to reduce infection cost money and the representatives of the ruling class does not want those whom they represent to have to pay out any money unless it is in dividends to shareholders.

Second, the Conservative Party is only there to win elections and by winning elections preserve the wealth of the boss class. The present leadership of the Conservative Party seems to have decided that there are votes in culture war. It thinks that there are working class votes in issues like encouraging the hatred of foreigners, the waving of flags, criticising trade unions and anything which might impinge on an individual’s ‘right’ to do whatever they want, however petty, like not wearing a face covering.

We do not go along with this way of thinking. We prefer an evidence-based approach rather than one which is based on immature emotionalism. If you look at the facts, they show that the Conservative Government is actually waging class war on us. For example, the removal of the £20 Universal Credit “uplift” and the increase in National Insurance contributions will extract wealth from the working class in order to pay for a health crisis which the ruling class created through its disastrous mismanagement of the pandemic. However, the most telling fact is the death toll from Covid-19. The majority of those who have been killed by the virus are working class, and the poorer you are, the more likely you are to be killed by Covid-19. As The Guardian has pointed out, “Coronavirus has hit poorer people harder.”

The government appears to be treating the pandemic as an opportunity to wage class war rather than as a public health issue. We see the pandemic as a public health issue with a strong class war element. The pandemic has shown that under capitalism, the working class is expendable and that wealth creation and preservation for the ruling class is more important than the health of everybody.

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