In an opinion piece for the Guardian on the 28th April 2022, Charlie Williams suggested that “The high court ruling that sending untested patients into care homes in early 2020 was unlawful gives those of us who lost loved ones some hope” (https://www.theguardian.com/comm
This high court ruling that the government behaved inappropriately by sending patients to care homes at the start of the pandemic is very interesting and poses the questions as to whether or not a precedent has been set and whether or not the government can be held to account for its other dodgy decisions relating to the management of the pandemic.
There is no doubt in our minds that some of the government’s pandemic decisions were reckless and that they caused the unnecessary deaths of many thousands of people. That these deaths were avoidable and that the government must have known that its decisions would kill people, means that the government was guilty of social murder.
This government has been in power for a decade and has “previous” with regard to the charge of social murder. The policy of austerity, a posh word for class war, according to Noam Chomsky, has been shown to have led to the deaths of many vulnerable people on benefits, for example. https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/news/austerity-results-in-social-murder-according-to-new-research
There is also the view that the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire were socially murdered because government decisions on building regulations led to their deaths. https://www.queerying.co.uk/post/grenfell-from-austerity-to-social-murder
That capitalism kills working class people is a given according to our viewpoint and the management of the pandemic by the bosses representatives in Westminster would seem to reinforce our point of view. There can be little doubt that key/essential workers were regarded as expendable by the government and that any deaths resulting from its policies were seen as collateral damage which was necessary to accept in order to prioritise wealth creation for the ruling class.
But can there be any redress for those impacted by the government’s decisions and actions regarding workplace health and safety during the pandemic?
It can be argued that there is a considerable body of evidence which points to ministerial culpability for workers’ deaths from Covid-19 infections contracted in the workplace. The conduct of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a prime example. The HSE is responsible for health and safety in the workplace and for the enforcement of health and safety law. It has been argued by us in previous articles that there was institutional failure by the HSE during the pandemic. The big fail was the lack of convictions for breach of Covid regulations by employers. I visited workplaces during the pandemic as an accredited representative of a Trade Union. I was astounded by the lack of mitigations in place. Social distancing, mask wearing and notices in the languages of the workforce about health and safety were not in evidence. The law was obviously not being enforced. Not surprising really as inspections of workplaces were outsourced to companies with no Health and Safety expertise. It was as if the employer was being given carte blanche to ignore health and safety regulations.
We strongly recommend that workplace, health and safety representatives collect as much evidence as they can of negligence and report it to their Unions’ Regional Officers and that they request that their Union’s legal team investigate the prospect for litigation.
We cannot allow the murder of members of our class to be ignored, or for the responsible people to go unpunished. We have to kick up a fuss and bring the ruling class to account.