At PMQs Johnson and Starmer whitewashed the looming coronavirus catastrophe

Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer at PMQs
Steve Topple

The UK is in the midst of yet more coronavirus (Covid-19) chaos. A potential catastrophe is looming, not least in the education system. Yet at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday 9 September, you’d think that coronavirus testing was the only problem – thanks to Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson.

PMQs tennis

The Labour leader’s questions centred around the test and trace system. It’s dogged by growing chaos, with stories of capacity running out and people being sent hundreds of miles for a test.

So, PMQs was the usual tennis match of questions from him, non-answers from the PM, and insults from the latter. Perhaps most pertinently, Johnson stated that:

I take responsibility, as I have done throughout… the entire handling of the coronavirus crisis

 

But away from parliament, the situation in schools is already looking precarious.

Schools chaos

The Twitter account Tory Fibs has been researching and documenting the number of coronavirus outbreaks in schools.  And it shows the rates are rocketing.

On the morning of Monday 7 September, Tory Fibs claimed that 158 schools across the UK had coronavirus outbreaks:

By 10:30am on 9 September, this had gone up by more than 100% to 357:

Note that on Monday, Scotland had more school outbreaks than England. Now, that has reversed. But another Twitter user had also been documenting the relationship between schools reopening and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases per million people. Gordon Love found that the rate of infections is increasing the longer schools have been open – schools in Scotland open earlier than those in England:

But most worryingly, Love projected that if this trajectory continues, in three weeks time we’d see infection rates back to levels last seen during lockdown:

Of course, none of this factors in universities reopening. An editorial in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has warned this is high-risk without adequate protection measures against a surge in community transmission.

Show me the money

From Monday 14 September, coronavirus rules will change. Gatherings of more than six people will become illegal to try and stop the spread of the virus. But as Hannah pointed out on Twitter, this seems contradictory when schools and universities will still be open:

But it’s less contradictory to Tory policy when you consider that, for example, universities generated £95bn for the UK economy in 2014/15; nearly as much as the entire NHS budget for the same year. What’s more staggering, perhaps, is that the UK hospitality industry was worth around £130bn a year in 2018; not that much different from universities. It’s therefore of little wonder that the Tories are hell-bent on the education system getting back to normal, regardless of the consequences.

At PMQs, Starmer had the chance to expose this looming disaster. Instead, by concentrating on testing, he merely gave the government more room to manoeuvre further down this catastrophic path.

So, winter is coming. And it could be worse than the coronavirus spring.

Featured image via the Telegraph – YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. At PMQs Johnson and Starmer whitewashed the looming coronavirus catastrophe
      /////
      I will ask the 2 useless leader of Tory/Labour party.
      This important question we resident in Lancashire areas need full clarity on NOW. Boris + Starmer I have emailed you on this matter already NONE of you have reply as of yet WHY? Was the question too hard to answer yes or no.?

      My question was why is Lancashire area in lock-down and not London areas?
      FACT-Boris/Starmer you have protester in London spreading the Virus all over the Place now Are you 2 leaders telling us voters + residents in Lancashire NON of the protester had the Virus yes or no?

      Therefore, Tory Govt will not put a lock-down in London areas to protect
      visitor form outside of U.K. form Virus infection there. Or is the real truth
      you will not put lock-down in place in London center area as it is a political propaganda decision to keep rich party funder happy for both parties Labour + Tory do not wish lock-down in London areas now so are locking-down Lancashire area ONLY WHY-is they, No virus in London if not HOW? Considering the Virus is an Airborne transmitted Virus.
      (Do people in London not breath the same AIR) Boris /Starmer yes or no?

      So, Boris /Starmer/SAGA/Hancock -plus all Tory party members when is London going to suffer lock-down rule like the rest of Lancashire area now including small firm + businesses in Lancashire area that are closing down fast in our area as a result of Tory Govt action, Possibly back by Labour leader now to trash Lancashire getting it ready to be run by a Govt puppet Mayor to run our areas we in Pendle /Colne area have voted NO to time & time again.

      Therefore, Boris + Starmer is the lock-down just to punish us voter + resident of Lancashire area Pendle/Colne that do not wish a puppet Mayor in our area yes or no? -Mr. Starmer is Labour backing Tory Govt threatening intention here yes or no? Lock-down is being used by both parties now for political reason only we free voters think –so come any election be them local Cllr or G.E. we free voter will Not support the Main 2 party in Govt anymore now.

      FINALLY
      To new LIB-DEM leader ONLY will you protect Lancashire /Pendle/Colne areas from both main parties trying to enforce a Puppet Mayor on us resident/Voters yes or no? Or are the Lib-Dems party members after or trying to join up with Tory party again For next G.E. in U.K.to keep Tory party in full power still yes or no?

    2. Governmental inconsistencies continue. Party political divisions disappear. Policy becomes irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. How will the ‘rule of six’ operate in pubs, restaurants and schools etc..? If education is too important to be neglected why hasn’t someone, supposed to be in charge, considered halving class sizes by dividing them up into morning groups and afternoon groups until enough teachers become available to have class sixes of fifteen as a matter of course? It is interesting watching the Establishment slowly cutting its own throat because it is either unwilling or unable to respond with any degree of innovation to the current situation. Same old same old testicles from Establishment onanists.

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