There is a current running through this government. It is one of confusion. But, despite my best efforts to not impune motives, I am coming to the view that the current running through this government is one of callousness. Not always intentional, but incredible, too.
Sometimes the callousness is because of the confusion.The one caused by the other. So we have loss of life due to Covid-19 in the highest numbers per head of population in the world, caused by lack of testing, tracing, PPE, etc. But that is only a part of it. Confusion here is in the delivery, but what I am more worried about is callousness in the decision making.
It was very welcome to see a centre-right chancellor acting like a centre-left one. It is very surprising to see a centre right PM think he is a New Deal President. But this is only a part of it.
What is the reality now is that we have a government in denial. It cannot see that it is all well and good having support packages, in part through pressure from other parties, but what’s the use, if they are stopped? It is fine to have schemes to rebuild, but what is the point if we tear down the support for people!
Liberalism, say what you like, social democracy, call it that too, but the view of any of us who care about anything, can surely be to see that to reinstate benefit sanctions, and evictions, during a pandemic is an iniquitous scandal and a disgrace.
The lack of class politics, of group-think, in my philosophy has always been part of it. But to see millionaires in mansions, and their minions, cut the benefits, kick out the tenants, ruin situations that are precarious – affecting people who are vulnerable – appals me.
This government started with pushing for herd immunity. It continues with trampling on the unheard. Those who are unemployed, or in housing difficulty through no fault of their own, are the unheard. They must be heard by any of us who care.
* Lorenzo Cherin is an actor, writer, and regular contributor to politics as a member of the Liberal Democrats. He is based in Nottingham.