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9 Apr, 2020 17:07

Some socialists want Boris to die from Covid-19. I am as left-wing as it gets, but here’s why I fervently hope he survives

Some socialists want Boris to die from Covid-19. I am as left-wing as it gets, but here’s why I fervently hope he survives

As a privileged, rich Old Etonian, the prime minister represents everything I despise. But his dying from coronavirus would just turn him into a martyr. He needs to recover so that we can hold him to account for his actions.

I live in the North East of England, in a place called Seaham, where there were once three coal mines – all long closed, and the people who depended on those pits for their livelihoods abandoned to their fates. 

The people here are resilient, as they are in every single working class community in the country, despite being broken and to some extent on their knees. During the Brexit debate, they were called the ‘The Left Behind’: in truth they were ‘The Left Out’.  Politicians from all the mainstream parties ignored them. They didn’t only not care about their plight, they didn’t even see it.

Also on rt.com With Covid-19 exposing Johnson’s flaws, which BoJo will we see after his recovery: the Oxbridge or the Uxbridge one?

It is seven years ago this week that Margaret Thatcher, the destroyer of such working class communities as Seaham, died. Her policies in the 1980s shut the pits and took away people’s  jobs. But she couldn’t take away the soul of the people – when these same communities heard that she had died, they celebrated. In the neighbouring village, Easington Colliery, there were queues of people outside the Miners Welfare centre wanting to have a drink to mark the joyous occasion. 

I put out some bunting and downed a lager and lime – not so much to toast Mrs Thatcher's passing, but to remember my own mother, who’d been a socialist, a trade unionist and member of Women Against Pit Closures. She spent her life fighting for her community, and was a fierce adversary to Mrs Thatcher, who spent her life destroying it. 

Ironically, seven years on from Mrs Thatcher’s death another Conservative prime minister is gravely ill in intensive care.  I have heard many arguments about how we should “clap in support of him” and I also have heard others who really do not wish him well at all, and would be happy if he dies. 

A Labour mayor who said Boris Johnson “deserved” to have coronavirus has lost her post and her job over her comment. Sheila Oakes, who was the mayor of Heanor in Derbyshire, wrote on Facebook that the prime minister “completely deserves this and he is one of the worst PMs we’ve ever had.” Ms Oakes has been kicked out of the Labour Party and been fired from her job as a paralegal, which seems a bit harsh, frankly.

As an anarchist myself, my position is different to Ms Oakes. It’s not sitting on the fence – I have never sat on the fence. In fact, I have spray painted slogans onto fences about both Thatcher and Johnson. 

Yet, I don’t wish harm or death on Johnson, or think that he deserves to have coronavirus, as some kind of punishment for being a Tory. I have asthma – I have had it all of my life. I was brought up in a very cold and damp home, and as a baby contracted whooping cough. I’ve also had to watch my granddad drown through pit dust on his lungs at just 59 years old – so I don’t wish that sort of thing on anyone. 

Johnson is a careless and callous man, members of his class are – going to Eton gives them a sense of entitlement which means they have no knowledge and little care for anyone else. I’m not surmising this  – George Orwell told us all how this class of man behaves. 

In 1995, places like Seaham and Easington Colliery, and the place where I grew up, Sutton-in-Ashfield in the East Midlands, were suffering from shocking levels of deprivation. These former mining communities had lost everything – their jobs, their sense of pride and identity. The levels of stigmatisation towards working class people at this time was shocking.

It was that year that our current prime minister, then a journalist, added to all this pain by writing the following.  He described working-class children as being “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate” (the latter being particularly ironic from a man who’s had at least two children out of wedlock from different women). And he portrayed working-class men as “likely to be drunk, criminal, aimless, feckless and hopeless.”

This was in 1995. Can he be forgiven because it was so long ago? No, he can’t. The  Conservative Party he now leads had, under Thatcher and her successor, John Major, all but destroyed these communities – yet Johnson had no problem writing those cruel and slanderous lies. And he has had no sense of self-reflection, or made any retraction, since. 

Yet still I wish no harm on him – at least not now, from coronavirus. I hope he recovers from the disease and when he returns to Downing Street, and his cheerleaders start talking in Churchillian tones about this great leader having “beaten this crisis,” I will do as my mother before me did – I will continue to hold him to account for his actions, along with the institutions that uphold and support a government that is allowed to inflict such cruelties.

I will fight everyday for the injustices of the working class to be acknowledged and for recompense to be made. I don’t want to have to fight a martyr. I want Johnson to live so that he faces justice for the crimes he and his ilk have inflicted on ordinary people, for the 40 years of misery they put us through while misusing our money to bail out the rich. Johnson is not a hero, or a warrior fighting “for us.” He is today as he has always been: an opportunist, a snob and a hater of the working class. So get well, Prime Minister: the charges against you are many, and your trial starts soon.

Also on rt.com Covid-19 has given BoJo the Michael Jackson effect – if he fights through this, he’ll have a much more sympathetic nation to lead

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.