Covid Inquiry exposes shocking Government negligence

Published on 9 May 2024 at 17:21

Karam Bales looks at what the Inquiry has revealed so far and why some right-wing media have a vested interest in delegitimizing it

With the Covid Inquiry now fully underway, it’s been interesting to see the reaction in the media as details emerge of the chaos, negligence and callousness that was rampant behind the doors of Number 10. Much of the media are reacting in shock to what’s being revealed while sections of the right-wing media are attempting to delegitimize the inquiry entirely because it doesn’t look like the inquiry will conclude as they want it to, that nearly all measures were ineffective and we should have just let Covid rip through the population.

These sections of the media have consistently promoted a strategy of herd immunity via infection, going as far as to platform anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. They therefore have a vested interest in the results of the inquiry, especially as evidence released by the inquiry shows newspapers some had a financial incentive for lobbying to let the virus rip, due to a fall in sales during lockdown. The inquiry has also shown that those around Johnson believed the right-wing press were influencing his policy decisions in the run-up to the second wave while they were publishing articles claiming there would be no second wave.

If the inquiry doesn’t find that fewer measures were required during the first and second wave then a number of newspapers must take a share of the responsibility for thousands of preventable deaths. However for the rest of the media, it’s a surprise they seem surprised: as a member of the National Education Union’s executive committee in 2020-2021 and leading an alternative provision unit inside a mainstream secondary school, I experienced the chaos on the frontlines and witnessed the gaslighting of trade unions and scientists, not just by the government but also by the media.

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