Analysis comment

No ifs, no buts: back-to-school fanatic Starmer’s Chesterfield visit is a sick joke – as local children sent home after virus infection confirmed

Starmer’s ‘no ifs, no buts’ demand exposed as pupil confirmed with virus at school near visit

A month ago, Labour leader Keir Starmer was slated for a ridiculous demand for Boris Johnson to send children back to school no matter what – just as the signs of the now-exponential second wave of the coronavirus pandemic were starting to emerge:

Starmer has insisted on pushing for schools to reopen, against the attempts of unions to protect pupils and their members – and even sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey on a pretext when she would not stop backing the unions. Five weeks earlier, Starmer had sent Boris Johnson a confidential letter promising his support for the school return.

Starmer has continued to agree with Boris Johnson that ‘schools are safe’, in spite of mounting international evidence to the contrary, an ‘R rate’ above one across the country and the Tories’ testing and tracing in a shambles.

He has not reversed his call even after the number of schools hit by outbreaks even after just a few days reopened went through the roof this week – and despite revelations that the Tories are denying coronavirus tests to children and that hospitalisations for COVID-19 are now spiking again.

And yesterday, as Starmer made a PR appearance in Chesterfield, the consequences of his and Boris Johnson’s haste were hitting home in a school just along the road, with a whole year-group of children forced into isolation after a ‘member of the school community’ tested positive for the virus:

The timing of the confirmed infection and the typical incubation period of the virus mean that there is a strong likelihood that the virus was transmitted in the school setting – and pupil to pupil transmission has already been confirmed in other schools.

In spite of this, the Tories have begun withholding tests from many children in what insiders say is an attempt to mask the extent of infections among children – and a Chesterfield woman is among those unable to obtain a test for her children:

And when parents are unable to confirm infection in one child, the government’s current guidance to schools mean that asymptomatic siblings still have to attend their schools, in spite of the likelihood of infection.

The timing of these incidents makes Starmer’s visit to Chesterfield and his claims to care about their concerns a sick joke. His insistence on aiding, abetting and even pressuring Boris Johnson to continue keeping children in classrooms is helping Johnson to put children, teachers and their vulnerable relatives in danger and add to the already huge toll of needless deaths.

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    1. Unfortunately, Lundiel, but Coronavirus is not just regular flu, in any meaningful way. It is hugely more infectious than flu for a start — when society isn’t locked down tight as a drum. And it doesn’t ‘just’ have the potential to kill the large but ‘manageable’ numbers on the scale of recent winter flue outbreaks. Remember (though few seem to nowadays) that when the Tories and their tame ‘boffins’ were at first openly pursuing their ‘let it rip, take it on the chin’ ‘herd immunity’ strategy, the potential death total in the UK was posited at circa 500,000. Panicked by this the Tories u-turned to a strategy of ‘managing’ that death toll — by spreading it out longer, in a series of spaced upsurges, mitigated by wide-ranging lockdowns when the upsurge threatened to overwhelm the NHS. In the meantime the Tories, and every other country, are hoping a vaccine will be found . Today, we are only through the very first sequential ‘hump’ of the coronavirus plague – which still killed around 50,000 to 60,000 , in round one – a first wave only brought to a stop by pretty much closing down society and most work outside the home(and most normal capitalist production of surplus value) . Now we are clearly entering round two of the plague (as soon as the nationwide lockdown has ended) , with a new exponential upsurge (across Europe too remember) , which may well kill far more than in round one , being in the winter, and combining with ‘normal’ winter flue deaths – and an NHS potentially under such pressure that it may well have to open up those ‘Nightingale’ dying centres if a ‘triage’ system is needed to stop the NHS simply collapsing.

      Those here, and across the blogosphere, still trying to talk down the seriousness of Coronavirus need to get their conspiraloon heads out of their irresponsible smug arses and grasp what scale of unprecedented (since 1918 anyway) health disaster the UK and world is currently trapped in – until a vaccine, even a short-lived, one , giving limited protection, is developed. Capitalism in the UK and elsewhere wants to get back to ‘exploitation as usual’, with propaganda help from Starmer’s craven Tory-lite Labour and a host of conspiraloon posters , but unfortunately, the coronavirus simply doesn’t buy into the hype – and many hundreds of thousands may well have died in the UK alone before an effective vaccine is produced, – and global capitalism, in deep trouble BEFORE coronavirus, will have received a systemic shock on a scale dwarfing the 2008 Crash by a long chalk.

      1. Thanks. You’re the only person on this soft left site who has actually debated with me.
        I’m not a virus denier, or a “conspirialoon”. I’m trying to comment on the facts as I know them. I’m aware that the virus is selective and therefore I don’t agree with shutting down society completely. You touched on the main problem for me, and many like me, when you mentioned the government’s “tame boffins”. The government’s reliance on Imperial and Edinburgh alone worries me deeply. But with regard to comments, above and below the line on this site, all I see is condemnation of the government and opposition for not having more stringent lockdown.

      2. Global capatalism has there snouts 8n the trough, this is more profitable than war
        Lockdown only puts a lid on it, it has to be managed by public health experts not politicians
        Killer Snowflakes which part of Sweden is the answer do you not comprehend

      3. “Plague”? “Unprecedented”?

        Do shut up, Penney, you hysterical, attention-seeking, bullshit artist.

    2. You might not want to help Starmer but that is exactly what you are doing. What you are engaged in is a form of Holocaust denial complete with the excuse, first used by those attempting to show that most of the Concentration Camp deaths were due to co-morbidities.
      The reality is that these deaths, like many other deaths under neo-liberalism, can be prevented by proper public health measures, the Health Service that Bevan planned and the insistence that people come before profits.
      Sadly you and many other useful idiots for capitalism are not just apologising for the carnage around us but preparing the ground for even worse in the future.

      1. Bevin
        You and the other Killer Snowflakes will wipe out many more than Covid19

    3. Indeed. And as Off-Guardian reported last Wednesday (09-Sep-20) “Flu is killing more people than Covid19, and has been for months
      Latest ONS figures show the “pandemic” fatalities have slowed to a trickle, and lockdown has nothing to do with it.“

      Starmer is nevertheless a prize Pratt – bad for the Many, bad for the country and fatally bad for the party he is notionally leading.

      1. Call him by what he is known
        Temporary Embarrassment
        If you dont mind

  1. Starmer is crawling to the media baron’s and big businesses, putting money greed and power first just like the Tories, after all he’s really going to need Murdoch et al to push the next GE message as members will be much shorter on the ground with so many leaving

  2. Flicking through the channels just saw Stephen Merchant in something that looks like it’ll be unwatchably, schmaltzily American.
    Was going to comment on the resemblance but apparently I’m the last person on Planet Earth to notice how much he looks like Greta Thunberg, so I won’t.

  3. Surely the point is that the virus hasn’t gone away and still has the potential to kill thousands as we saw in the early stages, with coffins of the dead in places like Italy being stored in every conceivably facility.

    Initially the virus was introduced to the UK by a relatively small number of people and it spread like wildfire. There will now be far more cases out there than at the beginning, with the corresponding potential to cause enormous numbers of deaths if we do not keep up social distancing. At present, until a vaccine is introduced, it is the only sensible way of combating it.

    Starmer, by advocating in effect a relaxing of social distancing measures, is contributing to the growth in the number of infections and consequential deaths.

    1. …..’until a vaccine is introduced?’ Not when but if? CV antibodies quickly die & so immunity is limited. There is no vaccine for Aids nor even the ‘common cold’.

      1. Antibodies are proteins and therefore don’t die. It is the cells which produce them that die.

      2. Yes Jack! That which is not alive cannot die, but the effectiveness of antibodies deteriorates as cells naturally die from apoptosis. If people can be re-infected post infection this may indicate an immunity problem, especially if the virus mutates such as flu or common cold virus.

      3. As far as I know, there is no link between the effectiveness of an antibody and the natural death of the cell which produced it. In fact antibodies have been stored ‘out of body’ away from the production cells for up to twenty six years without losing their effectiveness.

  4. We know nothing of use about the virus,other than it has flu like symptoms and effects everyone differently.Out of 245diagnosed infections in Cambodia,and no deaths my family and myself provided 7 of them who became infected after returning to Cambodia via England,France and Bejing China.We all have ages from 3 years to 70and I was the worst affected by the C19 virus.I have had dengue fever twice and the symptoms are far worse.All I know is that the virus in the UK seems to be getting out of control again and I do not wish to loose any more of my brothers and sisters .Two dead in care homes and platitudes from the opposition Knight.and planned genocide from most of our corrupted political system.The working class are being attacked daily by the Conservative and unionist party and..??.Well when the government got out of control in Ireland,even the placid nature of the native Irish fought back.When have the working class ever got anything without fighting for it..??..enough is enough and that for sure.The knights PLP are not doing their job properly and like the reformed Long Bailey they need to stand up and be counted as one block even though they are a minority.Once again like the Irish they need to infiltrate the enemy and do all they can to defend the working class from this totally corrupt and immoral political system of the establishment.,and that including the knight and his colleagues.

    1. Joseph
      Care homes are clear examples of what happens when you privatise health services
      Carers who are treated like shit cannot afford not to work
      On zero hours or agency working they become super spreaders
      Add in the clearances by NHS to free up hospital beds and Ship out infected elderly folk
      Double tsunami of deaths in the most vulnerable

  5. As with Bojo the Clown, Keith Starmer owns the Second Wave of C-19 that is now hitting the UK, and this is before the formal beginning of the Influenza Season, which will worsen matters greatly regrettably, and, its these scientific facts that cause me considerable concern, based on the reality that nations down in South East Asia have, on the whole, done a better job at combating the pathogen than counterparts in the West, all information being shared and freely available. So, the question arises, who the heck is advising Keith, or, what information he’s gleaning from ‘focus groups’, none of which are capable of giving any science-based input into the debate.

    Again, I make the charge, either the Elite are so racist within the UK that any information flowing from non-European nations is dismissed, or, our Elites, and this includes Keith, just don’t give a toss.

    The major lesson gleaned here in SEA is Covid-19 can be contained, but only if ‘Lockdowns’ and ‘Track and Trace’ measures are coordinated by the public sector, not private entities – I trust all peers in my neck of the woods will concur with this fact.

    So, ultimately, the UK disaster and disaster yet to come can be pinned on the nations adherence to neoliberal economic prescriptions, which Kieth Starmer has no intention of challenging, hence, why he’s as guilty as the maniacs within the Tory Party and chums in Private Enterprise.

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