In early June, Prof Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College, told the House of Commons science committee that at least half the UK’s Covid-19 deaths could have been avoided if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier. That, according to the Financial Times conservative estimate of excess deaths, means between 25 –30,000 deaths in a three month period.

Irrespective of whether the claim is true or not, imagine the huge outpouring of rage from the Tory opposition and the print and broadcast media if Labour under Jeremy Corbyn had been in office – the papers screaming “For God’s sake go”, the BBC reporting a massive crisis engulfing the Corbyn government.

Anti-Corbyn elements within the Labour Party itself would be filling the TV screens and radio talk shows with “we warned you this man was dangerous, that he was unfit to lead the country”. Pro-Corbyn elements would be fighting a desperate rearguard action to save the Corbyn government.

The day after Neil Ferguson’s claim, only the Guardian and Financial Times led on the story. The BBC, Sky, the radio talk shows and the rest of the press buried it.

Meanwhile, the Labour leadership team, in line with the current strategy of holding back on criticising the government over the virus crisis, didn’t make much of it either. In Spain and Italy, where centre-left governments are in office, right wing parties have launched fierce assaults, seeking to exploit the crisis for their own ends.

Keir Starmer’s latest personal polling has received a welcome boost but despite the government’s appalling handling of the crisis, the Tories are still ahead in the polls as the media and deep state rally round to support them.

Do we any longer have a democracy in any meaningful sense of the word? Here in Britain or anywhere else in the world, for that matter? Has the plutocracy won?

Orwell’s 1984 painted a beak post-democratic future. Has it taken Trump’s America and the Covid crisis to make us realise that 1984 has finally arrived, only several decades late?

by Stephen Moorby, Secretary of Islington North CLP

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Islington North CLP’s own view as a local party.

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