By Ryan Bramley
I love a quote as much as anyone.
Here’s a good one: “A loved one perished at the hands of the barren-hearted right.”
It’s taken from a song by British post-punk band IDLES. There are only two lines that appear in the song repetitively: the one I’ve just read; and the title of the song itself: “Divide & Conquer”.
Divide and Conquer is a tactic as old as time, used to prevent the people – you and me – from challenging those in power.
As a Barnsley lad, I’ve grown up with ‘Divide and Conquer’ being an everyday reality of my life. There are still people in my community who don’t speak to one another because of what happened during the Miners Strike of the mid-80s. The word ‘scab’ is still chanted from football terraces, over thirty years on.
And, speaking of football, you only need to look at what happened down the road from me, in Hillsborough, and the Hillsborough disaster, at the way that the Liverpool fans – the victims of the disaster – were vilified by the press, to see what I mean by ‘Divide and Conquer’.
We continue to fight against each other, rather than for each other.
Thirty years on, the same tactics are still being used by the UK Government.
That’s why, on the 6th July 2020, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson – 24 hours after “clapping for carers” – blamed the care industry for “not looking after people better”.
I’ll repeat that song lyric again: “A loved one perished at the hands of the barren-hearted right.”
Divide and Conquer is the tactic of the desperate, and the Government are desperately trying to find someone else to blame for Covid-19.
They can’t blame the Black Lives Matter movement, because those protests have led to no noticeable spike in coronavirus cases. They can’t blame last weekend’s pubgoers because, all things considered, they acted with respect and restraint.
So now, they’ve turned on our carers – just like they turned on the firefighters after Grenfell.
Don’t let them divide us. We need unity now, more than ever before.
Don’t blame the carers for the excessive deaths of Covid-19. Don’t blame anyone, for that matter.
Question the lack of leadership. Question the leader who bragged of shaking the hands of coronavirus patients in March. Question the reason why our carers are being blamed.
And don’t for a second believe that the Covid-related deaths of 20,000 elderly people were at the hands of the carers.