You’re not fooling anyone, Boris.
The NHS has received everyone’s gratitude and utmost respect for the work they have been putting in amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Most of society know how tirelessly the NHS work regularly, not just in a crisis. They are one of the many organisations that work around the clock, 365 days of the year, on a disgustingly, ever-shrinking budget. Although all the attention the NHS is getting is well-deserved, and frankly long overdue, the praise they have been getting from our PM Boris Johnson feels conditional.
The NHS has been a vital asset to the UK since its formation in 1948. Yet, the conservative government contested its creation then, and Boris Johnson is not trusted by society to protect it now because of how he obfuscates his true intentions regarding further privatising the NHS.
It’s a known fact that Boris Johnson has never been the biggest supporter of the NHS. They have been treated as a dispensable asset that this country could do without because it’s a drain on our resources, even though nothing could be farther from the truth. The most noteworthy instance was when he and other members of the conservative party, rejoiced in having blocked a pay rise, for frontline medical staff and firefighters, following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017. Now, this is a person who the NHS is supposed to rely on to protect them? Simply because he clapped a few times and is suddenly privy to how imperative their service is.
The average nurse earns around £23,000 when the work they put in is priceless, and now, during this awful pandemic that is killing more people by the day, is even more apparent. We have to stay home because they can’t, and at a time like this where the fear factor is high, rumours are plenty, and it’s hard to tell the real news from the fake, these people deserve more than the pleasantries our PM is offering them.
The same goes for supermarket workers who endured abuse from the public for running out of goods like toilet paper, and hand sanitizer before the magnitude of the situation was revealed. Now, we sing their praises like soldiers returning from war as heroes. Where was this gratitude before? Even if we weren’t aware of how severe the coronavirus was at the time, common decency was lacking, and they were at the sharp end of it.
Immigrants have been granted a one-year extended stay on their visa by the Home Office, as have their families, so they can focus on fighting the virus. The conservatives have been more than vocal about their disdain for immigrants. Their new, unfair points-based system implemented pre-COVID-19, proves this, however now that we are in a situation that many of us never thought we would see in our lifetime, is the time they choose to embrace them.
One twitter user said:
“Yay racism is on hold!”
“Ah yes, turns out we do need all those EU nationals “stealing our jobs” after all…”
As much as the NHS, retail workers and immigrants deserve the exoneration, I have no hope that this level of respect will continue when the virus is over, and it absolutely should.
What would happen if the coronavirus was to end abruptly? Would our PM go back to disavowing the valuable role they play in our society, cheering the next time their budget takes a hit? Would they deport the immigrants who were granted a stay under some mickey mouse get out clause? They did it to the Windrush generation, so it’s a valuable question to pose. It shouldn’t take a devastating pandemic for our PM, and his conservative cronies, to realise the vital contribution these people have to our society and economy.
The NHS provides millions of pounds of free care to millions of UK citizens yearly. With the number of people who use the NHS steadily increasing year by year, this is time for our government to work towards helping them and securing this service, instead of prolonging waiting times to try and push people to use the private sector, to make a profit.
I hope that if anything comes from COVID-19, it’s humility, empathy, a newfound respect for people others are quick to disregard, and a reassessment of how valuable members of society are treated. If any situation warrants a massive injection into NHS funding, and a revaluation of what an ‘unskilled worker’ is for the new immigration point system, it’s the coronavirus because of all it has revealed about the flaws in our government.
I feel as if our PM has tried to run away from his responsibilities ever since he moved into Downing Street. He was nowhere to seen during the turmoil that both Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis caused, and when you think about the reassuring public figures that have tried to get us through this transition, his face is not one that comes to mind. If there is anyone our country could do without, it’s Boris Johnson, not the NHS, and I hope his handling of this situation, or lack of, puts things into perspective for him and incites some much-needed changes to how this country’s run.
Remember, stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.