The idea that ‘capitalism’ and ‘greed’ have helped in the fight against Covid is absurd

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Thursday 25 March 2021 18:36
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Boris Johnson warns against ‘long term damage’ of vaccine blockades

Boris Johnson has reportedly lauded capitalism and greed as behind the success of the UK vaccine (Boris Johnson tells Tory MPs “greed” behind vaccine success, 24 March).

Many people acknowledge that the prime minister is someone who has difficulty distinguishing between truth and fiction, but his latest remarks suggest he has now adopted capitalist “principles”, rather than continuing as the self-promoting opportunist we’ve seen so far.

However, the idea that capitalism has been useful in relation to Covid-19 is utter nonsense. For example, Kerala state in south India has a strongly socialist government and has also been suffering from Covid. It has minimal financial resources, but has used them effectively to test, trace and isolate cases, to monitor closely all those infected, so treatment can be provided quickly if conditions worsen, and now that the vaccine is available, is carrying out the vaccination at minimal cost.

Kerala has a population of just over half the UK’s and to date has had around 4,500 Covid deaths compared to around 125,000 in the UK.

If we look at the performance of other strongly capitalist governments like the US and Brazil, and compare to communist Cuba and China, the Covid deaths total around 850,000 to around 5,000 respectively. The idea that capitalism, or corporate greed, has helped the public in capitalist countries during the Covid pandemic is simply absurd, and is another blatant lie from Boris Johnson.

Frank Chacko

Cheltenham

Flying the flag

I wonder if any Tory cronies or donors stand to benefit from the extra demand for union jack flags? And if so, whether they will actually manufacture them here or simply charge exorbitant prices to import them from China – or the EU, perhaps?

Adrian Cosker

Hitchin 

The trouble with more flying of the union jack is that, instead of reminding us about the United Kingdom, it reminds us of Boris Johnson, easily the worst prime minister the country has had.

Ian K Watson

Carlisle

Lies, lies and more lies

Tom Peck nails it brilliantly again (No one can be bothered to care about Boris Johnson’s lies anymore – and that means he can’t be stopped, 24 March). Our prime minister lies incessantly. And as with Donald Trump, we are helpless, because the only people who could do anything about it are his party, and they prefer power to probity.

This is the least able government I have known in my lifetime. Why is the job of pointing out their lies and incompetence left to the sketch writers and not in the headlines?

Unlike the federal government in the US, ours has the power to criminalise protest and is using it. We are sleepwalking into an authoritarian state, and it seems that is what the majority of people want. It is just too frustrating.

Rachael Padman

Newmarket

Who ‘broke’ the asylum system?

The home secretary says that the asylum system is “broken” and that she will now support “genuine” people seeking asylum. But the Tories have presided over this system since 2010 – who does she think “broke” it?

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People fleeing persecution cannot always find a “legal” way of travelling to this country – precisely because the countries they are leaving obviously may not let them leave, “legally”. The method of travel does not make the country of origin more or less safe. Does this really make a claim not “genuine”?

Her own Home Office repeatedly makes negative decisions against those claiming asylum – but over 50 per cent of appeals against these decisions are then reversed by independent tribunals (and that is just where people can find legal representation to take these appeals). Are these tribunals perhaps not “genuine”?

A home secretary willing to reform the culture of disbelief, which Home Office staff have operated, and better still the hostile environment, which the government has tasked them (and others) to implement – that might be one we could call “genuine”.

John Nicholson

Manchester

Could it be possible to get the mirror on Priti Patel’s wall, the one that must keep telling her that she’s the “fairest home secretary of all’, to add the phrase, “you are the daughter of immigrants who came to Britain to avoid persecution” every time she consults it for affirmation?

It’s quite unbelievable that we now have a government where both the prime minister and the home secretary are so utterly divorced from reality and detached from any concerns regarding either truth or justice. How either of them can maintain a straight face in public is totally beyond my comprehension.

Alistair Vincent

Barnet

Democrat platitudes

As Kamala Harris takes well-earned responsibility for the crisis on the Mexican border, she speaks of the need to address the causes of migration. She isn’t the first to spout this platitude but making it a reality would mean ending the gulf between living standards in the US and the source countries. If Democrats didn’t realise this is what they were voting for, then their largesse is based on naivety more than altruism.

They would do well to achieve this levelling through the transfer of wealth rather than population. That would still cost them their money but would leave them their country.

Alternatively, the Biden-Harris administration may turn towards the policies of Trump, without the frankness. This would show they lack a principled if foolish commitment to free migration and just wanted enough poor migrants to ensure a permanent Democrat majority.

John Riseley

Harrogate

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