UK Tory government’s COVID-19 policy towards elderly, ethnic minority and disabled peoples: Incompetence or wilful negligence? | Samantha Bentley | Redress Information & Analysis | 1 Feb 2021
I have never been one for believing in conspiracy theories but after the past 12 months I am beginning to wonder if the Tories can really be as incompetent as they appear to be. I have hesitated and procrastinated before sitting down to write this because I fear I may well end up by being viewed as a total crank by some who read this. But I have nothing really to lose and writing this may stop me thinking about it instead of sleeping. As ever, all of this is just my opinion and I will try and insert links for you to click on and read what others have to say.
I am sure that you are familiar with the term “eugenics”, if not then here is a quick definition for you:
Eugenics, the selection of desired heritable characteristics in order to improve future generations, typically in reference to humans. The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and natural scientist Francis Galton, who, influenced by Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, advocated a system that would allow “the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitablePhilip K. Wilson (medical mistorian)
Eugenics is a racist pseudoscience that groups people together according to their “position on an evolutionary hierarchy” which associates value with being white and able, and labels ethnic minorities and the disabled for “eugenic deselection”.
Michael Rosen, a well known and respected author and poet, shared this comment by Jeremy Warner on Twitter:
Not to put too fine a point on it, from an entirely disinterested economic perspective, the COVID-19 might even prove mildly beneficial in the long term by disproportionately culling elderly dependents.Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph 3 March 2020
A nasty grand plan?
Having had a long battle with COVID-19 himself, Michael Rosen (aged 74) was understandably disgusted and horrified by this remark by Conservative business and economics commentator Jeremy Warner, who is assistant editor for the Telegraph. I lost my dear Dad on 5 April 2020 and my partner on 15 May 2020, both died because of COVID-19. My dad was 79 and my partner 71. To say Warner’s comment made me angry and disgusted would be an understatement, but it did make me wonder if maybe I was not as mad as I thought when thinking that perhaps the Tories had some kind of nasty grand plan going on.
Michael Rosen, astute and wonderful man that he is, also posted this on Twitter on 22 December 2020:
In early March 2020 a fascistic (not fascist) crept up on us: that 100s of thousands of people were dispensable; that Britain knew better than WHO [World Health Organisation] how to deal with COVID; we didn’t all need to test, trace, isolate; we didn’t need to mask, distance, wash.
This described the general laissez-faire attitude of Boris Johnson and the Tory party when talking about COVID-19 at that time.
On 16 March 2020 Matt Hancock, the so called “Health Secretary”, told the House of Commons that all social contact should cease but it was not until 23 March 2020 that Boris Johnson told us that we should all stay at home and non-essential businesses should close. It took the Tories from 29 January 2020, when the first two cases of COVID-19 in the UK were reported, to 23 March 2020 to take any kind of action over COVID-19. (These first two patients were Chinese nationals from Wuhan which is, of course, where COVID-19 first appeared.) British Airways took action immediately after these patients were confirmed as having contracted COVID-19, and suspended all flights to and from mainland China. If an airline company could take action that quickly why didn’t the Tory government?
Ethnic minorities and disabled people
The first 11 doctors to die from COVID-19 in the UK were all from ethnic minority backgrounds. There is indisputable evidence that BAME [Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic] communities are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This highlights the existing inequalities within our society and supports the strong links between ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status and health outcomes. The council areas where there is ethnic diversity are suffering from COVID-19 infections up to four times more than white areas only a few miles away, and health experts have said that the UK has paid the price for not tackling structural racism. In Blackburn the COVID-19 “hotspots” were in the poorest and most ethnically diverse communities. The lack of real support from the government has meant that those who are in receipt of benefits or on zero hours contracts have suffered disproportionally throughout the crisis, with few signs from the Tory government that they are doing anything to help or support them.
There have been reports of little or no help or support for the disabled in our communities. On 24 June 2020 Inclusion London published an interim report based on responses to their Social Care survey. The report painted a picture of a heartless government with little or no compassion, or understanding of the needs of disabled people. The report states that “disabled people have been discriminated against, forgotten, and in some cases abandoned as policy makers have ignored our needs”. Disabled people have seen the loss of rights, and resource rationing which has led to many disabled people struggling to get the bare necessities and losing any support they had as well as their independence. One group that has remained completely absent from any of the Tory government’s COVID strategies is people with learning disabilities. There have even been reports of people with learning disabilities living in care homes being told that they are “unlikely to be prioritised for hospital care if they develop COVID-19“. I have no words to convey my severe disgust at that attitude.
Can any prime minister or government really be this grossly incompetent? It all reminds me too much of eugenics programmes in the USA and more obviously Nazi Germany.
On 19 March 2020 it was government policy to send elderly patients back to care homes without being tested for COVID-19. In fact, there was no requirement to test patients being discharged from hospital to return to care homes until 15 April 2020, although some trusts were testing patients before that date. In the week ending 1 May 2020 there were 2,423 COVID-related deaths in UK care homes. That week 38 per cent of deaths in care homes were COVID related, the week before it was 35 per cent and the week ending 17 April 2020 it was 28 er cent. There was a feeling that older people living in care homes had been abandoned and left to die among government failings during the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as the lack of testing of patients before discharging them back to care homes there was also the introduction of blanket DNARs [Do Not Attempt Resuscitation] without the consultation of family members or in most cases the person themselves. Only a doctor can make a DNAR decision or issue a DNAR form but wherever possible this should be done in consultation with the patient and/or those close to them.
What I have written is a very brief synopsis of what I have discovered when researching for this piece of writing but it has made me question the Tory motives even more. Can any prime minister or government really be this grossly incompetent? It all reminds me too much of eugenics programmes in the USA and more obviously Nazi Germany. The USA had a brief fling with eugenics in the early 1900s. The movement was lead by Charles Davenport, a biologist (1866-1944) and Harry Laughlin, a former teacher. Eugenicists in the USA believed in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples. They supported strict immigration laws and the forced sterilisation of the poor and disabled.
We are all familiar with the atrocities performed by the Nazi party under the rule of Adolf Hitler. The belief of Adolf Hitler, and other high ranking members of the Nazi party such as Heinrich Himmler, that the Aryan race was a genetically superior race led to one of the darkest periods in human history. This belief, coupled with Hitler’s pathological hatred of the Jews, led to what was termed as the Final Solution. Hitler had also admired the eugenics programme in the USA. Jews, those from Slavic regions, Jehovah Witnesses, Roma gypsies, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, communists, Poles, Russian prisoners of war, the sick and the disabled were all thought of as untermenschen (racially or socially inferior). The Nazis embarked on the most brutal eugenics programme and it is virtually impossible to say how many people were actually murdered by them. Not only were there six death camps but thousands were murdered in villages and towns, on the roadside, in forests and in lorries (which were adapted to be the first gas chambers). It is estimated that over six million people were murdered during 1941-45.
The way the Tories have not made provision for the elderly, ethnic minorities, those who are disadvantaged socioeconomically, the sick and the disabled has prompted me to compare their lack of provision and their total lack of any remorse to those who have used eugenics programmes to get rid of those they consider unworthy or a burden on society. You are probably thinking I am a crank by now but, as I said at the beginning, I am not one of those “flat earther” types and I do not hold with conspiracy theories. However, I cannot help but wonder just how incompetent a nation’s leader and government can actually be.
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