Blood on Our Hands

“Labour has apologised after posting cartoons depicting Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Matt Hancock with blood on their hands on a local Facebook page”

What it shows is actually the level of discussion that is happening in this country. Very polarised, very uninformed and very silly. I’m not going to talk about it at all it’s just a cheap ploy to grab attention.

It seems that some people can only entertain one idea in their minds at the same time so it’s either we have to have a lockdown to save lives or we have to lift the lockdown to save the economy. But it’s not an either/or matter.

Whatever is done must be managed to minimise the loss of life and to support the economic wellbeing of the nation. These things are not incompatible but there are incompatible visions of what constitutes the economic wellbeing of the nation.

For the right economic wellbeing seems tied to the current status quo of inequitable wealth distribution, for the left it is tied to notions of a well funded welfare state and a more equitable distribution of the benefits of economic activity. Covid-19 is being recruited by both sides to support their economic/political visions.

We know that whatever situation emerges when the pandemic subsides or the panic regarding it subsides with be one that is economically more equitable, less equitable, or just the same. Things being just the same is unlikely. Whether people care to admit it or not, they are jostling for ideological aspirations and these are based on understandings or misunderstandings of how the economy works. In addition to issues of public health and economy there are also issues of freedom to be considered. It is not simple at all.

Insofar as I can articulate my own position, I start by asking what an economy is for and how can it best be managed to result in the the greatest good for the greatest number. I am in favour of such changes to the economy that favour environmental responsibility and social justice. I believe that a managed restart of the economy that favours and is accompanied by discussion of such goals would have gain public support and commitment as part of a new, necessary and responsible social contract.

I regret that there is almost no discussion of vision or strategy or community involvement in the development of vision and strategy. I regret that there is little public understanding of the way that the economy works that we can use as a foundation for informed discussion. Without such discussion, whether we realise it or not, there will be blood on our hands.

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