Shadow Health Secretary’s support, during worst wave of pandemic, for Establishment line on schools shames Labour
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, has been amplifying Keir Starmer’s stubborn determination to get children back into the classroom, despite the fact that the UK is still in the middle of the most horrific wave of the coronavirus pandemic so far.
Starmer has for months ridden roughshod over the safety-based objections of school staff and their unions, from siding with the Tories and against unions over face-masks in classrooms to his infamous ‘no if no buts’ demand for schools to re-open last September – and Ashworth is still pushing his boss’s line, even though as Health Secretary he has no excuse for ignorance of the scientific consensus and eventual Tory admission that open schools drive the spread of the virus.
Ashworth today put out yet another Labour call for schools to open, couching it in language of concern for children’s mental health and obesity, in a tweet of a Daily Mirror article that shows even the notionally left ‘mainstream’ media are happy to endorse the hard-right’s demands to fling open school gates:
But a simple list of facts tweeted by the ‘ToryFibs‘ account blew apart Ashworth’s feeble argument:
Boris Johnson this week repeated his claim that ‘schools are safe’, even though he had to admit that they are key ‘vectors’ for the spread of the disease. But the brutal reality of COVID in schools is that children are suffering effects worse than any Ashworth listed – and keeping schools open is deadly not only for teachers, but also for vulnerable family members of children attending school.
Vaccinating teachers will not prevent transmission among children who then carry the virus back to their families and communities – and Ashworth’s shallow parroting of right-wing propaganda to call for schools to open fully shames the party that created the NHS and is supposed to have the wellbeing of all working-class people at the very core of its policies and positions.
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