Britain

Financial oligarchy turns UK into a killing field

By Chris Marsden, 6 May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “herd immunity” policy has cost the lives of tens of thousands in the UK, with the government lying about the real death rate, and doing nothing to prevent the spread of infection.

Assange extradition hearing rescheduled for September

By Thomas Scripps, 5 May 2020

The British state continues to obstruct both Assange’s ability to conduct his defence and journalists’ ability to report on the case in detail.

UK Royal Mail workers oppose Communications Workers Union sellout

By our reporter, 5 May 2020

Many workers responded with hostility to the CWU’s announcement accepting the ending of Saturday letter deliveries and calling off threatened industrial action.

UK postal worker: “Royal Mail are getting what they want and the Communication Workers Union is allowing it—the union really is useless”

5 May 2020

This letter was sent by a postal worker to the SEP (UK) in response to the CWU claiming to have forced Royal Mail Group to back down from plans to end permanently Saturday deliveries, which would cost 20,000 jobs.

Scientists set up independent committee to challenge UK government’s COVID-19 response: “there is no transparency”

By Laura Tiernan, 5 May 2020

Professor David King pointed to daily media briefings with scientists standing alongside government ministers, stating “that is very different from being free to say what your advice is.”

UK Nightingale field hospitals to be “mothballed” as coronavirus death toll reaches 28,446

By Alice Summers, 4 May 2020

The new Nightingale facilities were meant to provide overflow capacity to overwhelmed hospitals, but patients have been turned away due to a lack of suitable equipment or staff.

Scotland: Journalist Craig Murray charged with contempt of court over Alex Salmond trial

By Steve James, 4 May 2020

Journalist Craig Murray could face up to two years in jail following his reporting of the trial of former SNP leader Alex Salmond.

ASOS warehouse workers: Lives versus corporate profit in the UK

By Tony Robson, 4 May 2020

The struggle by ASOS workers has demonstrated that they cannot rely on the local authority, state bodies or the unions for protection.

UK: Delays to medical treatment during pandemic will cost thousands of lives

By Jean Gibney, 2 May 2020

Reports claim that deaths due to the disruption of cancer services alone are likely to outnumber deaths from the coronavirus itself over the next five years.

Communication Workers Union folds 48 hours after Royal Mail threatens 20,000 jobs

By Thomas Scripps, 2 May 2020

Having initially warned of strike action against the ending of Saturday deliveries, the CWU organised a shameless retreat.

Johnson pledges to “restart the economy” as pandemic rages in UK

By Robert Stevens, 1 May 2020

The continuing loss of life barely registered with a national media obsessed with reporting which chain store is opening its doors, when the lockdown “exit strategy” might be announced, and the prime minister’s new baby.

UK coronavirus death toll passes 26,000 as government admits to 4,000 fatalities outside hospitals

By Robert Stevens, 30 April 2020

The UK is fast becoming the centre of the pandemic in Europe and is set to surpass the 27,682 deaths already recorded in Italy.

British Airways announces 12,000 redundancies amid global airline jobs massacre

By Thomas Scripps, 30 April 2020

The job losses will devastate tens of thousands and are a warning to workers of the economic “reconstruction” being prepared by the ruling elite in the wake of the pandemic.

UK postal worker says: Royal Mail workers need to set up rank-and-file committees

29 April 2020

This article was submitted to the World Socialist Web Site by a UK postal worker.

BBC Panorama exposes government responsibility for UK health worker deaths

By Thomas Scripps, 29 April 2020

Using documents from within the NHS supply chain, the investigation rips apart ministers’ claims to have provided 1 billion items of personal protective equipment in the last two months.

COVID-19 infection at sporting fixtures underscores criminality of Johnson government’s herd immunity policy

By Barry Mason, 29 April 2020

It was only due to growing opposition that the government was forced to impose a lockdown. But much of the damage had already been done, as evidenced by its allowing three sporting events to take place.

Johnson returns to Downing Street to map out end of COVID-19 lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 28 April 2020

Johnson’s speech outside Downing street reassured the capitalist class that his government would move toward a full return to work but warned of the difficulties of doing so.

Assange extradition hearing delayed following defence appeal

By Thomas Scripps, 28 April 2020

Assange’s legal team insisted that a hearing could not proceed under the current circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic

Application for delay in Assange extradition hearing as COVID-19 sweeps through UK prisons

By Alice Summers, 27 April 2020

The vindictive suspension of the COVID-19 prisoner release programme demonstrates the criminal disregard of the British ruling class for the lives of prisoners.

Leaked UK Labour Party anti-Semitism report: A filthy witch-hunt exposed

By Thomas Scripps, 27 April 2020

The leak of the Labour Party investigation marks an appropriate endpoint to Corbyn’s five-year record of political surrender and collusion.

Estimated £515 monthly loss to UK households due to COVID-19 the tip of the iceberg

By Julia Callaghan, 27 April 2020

Households will suffer an overall £43 billion loss—equating to a 17 percent reduction in monthly household disposable income.

Scottish National Party spearheads UK-wide return to work campaign

By Robert Stevens, 25 April 2020

First Minister Sturgeon’s supposed “progressive” credentials, backed in Scotland, England and Wales by Labour and the trade unions, offer an avenue for big business and banks to engineer a political shift towards a return to work.

COVID-19 pandemic pushes UK charity sector into crisis

By Ben Trent, 25 April 2020

Charities set to lose up to £4 billion over a 12-week period because of the coronavirus pandemic.

UK: Millions of pounds donated to the National Health Service as coronavirus crisis continues

By Alice Summers, 25 April 2020

A fundraising page for the NHS, set up by 99-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore, received overwhelming public support, raising more than £28 million in two weeks.

999 Response to Bournemouth Echo and nurses union attacking Bournemouth nurse letter

25 April 2020

Unions collude with companies to keep non-essential UK ASOS warehouse and retail businesses running during pandemic

By Joe Mount and Tony Robson, 24 April 2020

The GMB trade union has isolated the struggle of ASOS workers against unsafe conditions and told them to put their faith in the company “to do the right thing.”

London bus drivers say: “Give public transport workers protection or shut it down”

By Miles Driver and Laura Tiernan, 24 April 2020

Drivers told the WSWS about the unsafe working conditions being enforced by the Johnson government, private bus operators, Transport for London and London Labour Party Mayor Sadiq Khan, in collaboration with the unions.

Britain’s coronavirus testing fiasco is a product of herd immunity strategy

By Thomas Scripps, 23 April 2020

The government claims to have established a daily testing capacity of 40,000 but only half that number is being carried out.

Twenty-nine London transport workers dead from COVID-19, as anger rises over unsafe working conditions

By Laura Tiernan, 23 April 2020

More than six weeks after the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic, London bus drivers say they are being treated as an “expendable commodity.”

As COVID-19 deaths pass 17,000, UK corporations scramble for bailout funds

By Robert Stevens, 22 April 2020

In what it described as a "conservative estimate", the Financial Times concluded that its analysis of official data reveals "The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK".

Thousands view online meeting of UK SEP outlining a socialist perspective on the pandemic

By our reporter, 22 April 2020

Around 500 viewers took part in the event with participants from Britain joined by others from Australia, Sri Lanka, Germany, France, Canada and the US—underscoring the international interest in the meeting.

UK government in crisis over back-to-work drive

By Steve James, 21 April 2020

Boris Johnson’s government would like to exit the coronavirus lockdown as quickly as possible to restart the extraction of profit from the working class.

Over 100 health and care workers have died from COVID-19 in the UK

By Barry Mason, 21 April 2020

The gruesome total is more than double the number of deaths recorded by the Conservative government, which only includes fatalities of those directly employed by the National Health Service.

Europe’s pandemic death toll passes 100,000

By Robert Stevens, 20 April 2020

The five major states in Europe—Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK—account for around 85,000 of the 100,000 plus deaths.

UK think tank urges pension cuts to pay for pandemic

By Margot Miller, 20 April 2020

Anticipating rising unemployment and collapsing wages, the Social Market Foundation urges the Conservative government to abandon the “triple-lock” mechanism.

Millions in the UK go hungry in the shadow of COVID-19

By Harvey Singh, 20 April 2020

As well as a food crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, deteriorating housing conditions are a major negative factor for workers, placing them at increased risk of infection.

UK government’s herd immunity policy denounced by leading scientist

By Robert Stevens, 18 April 2020

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives pursued a policy which envisaged the mass infection of tens of millions of people and the deaths of possibly hundreds of thousands.

Calls for early reopening of UK schools met with widespread opposition

By Tom Pearce, 18 April 2020

The plan is for primary schools to start reopening in a “regionalised approach,” despite reports of three teacher deaths from COVID-19.

Intensive CIA spying on Assange targeted his infant child

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 April 2020

As the US government finalised its bogus charges against Assange, it oversaw dirty tricks operations targeting his partner and their infant child.

Bournemouth nurse’s letter to WSWS prompts widespread discussion on dangers facing NHS workers during COVID-19 pandemic

By Alice Summers, 17 April 2020

The letter describes the appalling conditions in the hospital's COVID-19 ward and the anger of healthcare workers at management’s failure to provide adequate PPE and towards Boris Johnson’s Conservative government.

UK universities use coronavirus crisis to make hundreds of temporary staff redundant

By Simon Whelan, 17 April 2020

Three British universities have announced hundreds of temporary contract redundancies in order to make financial savings, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Royal Mail’s putting profits before safety results in deaths of UK postal workers

By Paul Lee and Richard Tyler, 16 April 2020

Even now, as postal workers are dying and the danger of infection is massive, the Communication Workers Union refuses to pull the whole workforce out on strike until Royal Mail can guarantee their safety.

Thousands of UK care home residents dead in COVID-19 pandemic

By Robert Stevens, 16 April 2020

For the ruling elite, the elderly are viewed as a drain on resources and a burden on the further accumulation of personal wealth and corporate profit.

A letter from a concerned UK nurse to the WSWS

15 April 2020

“I urge employees not to be silenced by ruthless and reckless employers and to stand together and speak out.”

Boris Johnson’s praise for the National Health Service: Hypocrisy without limit

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 14 April 2020

It will not be long before Johnson’s words of praise for the NHS will be nothing but a bitter memory, cited by angry doctors and nurses as the Tories resume their efforts to destroy it.

UK NHS workers speak to the WSWS: “Is it worth clapping the NHS without ensuring the safety of frontline workers?”

By our reporters, 14 April 2020

Several NHS workers have contacted the WSWS following the attacks by Conservative Health Minister Matt Hancock, who accused NHS staff of wasting personal protective equipment resources.

A letter from a frontline nurse at the UK’s Royal Bournemouth Hospital

14 April 2020

The WSWS received the following letter in response to the statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson following his discharge from hospital.

COVID-19 deaths surpass 76,000 in Europe as Spanish government sends millions back to work

By Robert Stevens, 13 April 2020

More than 30 National Health Service workers are reported to have died as the UK’s death toll rises above 10,000.

Julian Assange’s partner Stella Morris speaks out: “His life is on the brink”

By Oscar Grenfell, 13 April 2020

Morris’s comments are a moving refutation of the media smears directed against Assange and underscore the urgency of the fight for his immediate freedom.

European governments plot return to work in midst of pandemic

By Thomas Scripps, 11 April 2020

As plans were being hatched over how to impose a return to work, over 4,000 new pandemic deaths were reported in Europe on Friday, bringing the total for the continent to over 70,000.

UK: Heathrow Airport demands workers to take pay cut or face dismissal

By Alice Summers, 11 April 2020

With significantly reduced air traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic, Heathrow Airport told thousands of workers that they must accept a 15 percent wage reduction, or they will lose their jobs.

New Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pledges stepped-up “anti-Semitism” witch-hunt

By Thomas Scripps, 11 April 2020

Even prior to his election, Starmer was at pains to reposition himself to be acceptable to the Zionist and Blairite right.

A year since the arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 April 2020

Assange’s arrest was an historic crime, setting a precedent for escalating attacks on press freedom and the democratic rights of the working class.

UK government ignored scientific advice and treated COVID-19 as a public order issue

By Robert Stevens, 10 April 2020

Behavioural scientists played an extraordinary and unwarranted part in determining government policy, compared with the input of medical professionals.

Lack of ventilators in UK means patients left to die

By Margot Miller, 10 April 2020

“Doctors have to explain to patients over 70, with no underlying health issues, that the doctor has to make a decision to sign a do-not-resuscitate order, because there are no ventilators”—NHS doctor

After 14 London transport workers die: Unite union and Labour mayor insist “PPE is not required”

By Michael Barnes and Laura Tiernan, 10 April 2020

COVID-19 has claimed almost 2,000 lives in the capital and 8,000 across the UK, with bus drivers demanding urgent safety measures to prevent more deaths.

London bus drivers speak out: “They are doing absolutely nothing to protect us!”

By Laura Tiernan and Michael Barnes, 10 April 2020

London bus drivers told the World Socialist Web Site that the lack of basic safety being enforced by the private bus operators, Transport for London, and the unions is putting lives at risk.

“Managers, directors and council leaders should be held to account if people become ill or die”

UK social worker speaks out on unsafe conditions sanctioned by management and unions

By our correspondent, 9 April 2020

The WSWS spoke to a children’s social worker in a Local Authority in northern England about the conditions she and her clients face amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK social care system faces collapse amid spike in coronavirus deaths

By Stephen Alexander, 9 April 2020

Mass deaths and runaway infections have begun to rip through UK residential and nursing home facilities, bringing adult social care services to the brink of collapse.

Hundreds of thousands of UK jobs threatened as coronavirus spreads

By Margot Miller, 9 April 2020

The loss of thousands of jobs only confirms that the government's £370 billion emergency bailout fund to big business is doing next to nothing to protect the working class from the loss of their livelihoods.

Vindictive court rulings prove British state wants Assange dead

By Thomas Scripps, 8 April 2020

Judge Vanessa Baraitser has decreed that Assange will remain behind bars and that his extradition show-trial will proceed in May, even as the coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly in British prisons.

British prime minister: A victim of his “herd immunity” policy

By Robert Stevens, 8 April 2020

Whatever Johnson’s personal fate, the herd immunity policy that landed him seriously ill in hospital has already contributed to many infections and thousands of deaths nationwide.

Postal workers at four UK depots take unofficial strike action over lack of safety measures

By Paul Lee, 8 April 2020

Weeks into the pandemic, postal workers are still not able to social distance and have a lack of personal protection equipment when out delivering mail.

Unions agree to salary furlough at British Airways

By Paul Bond, 8 April 2020

The Unite union claims it has secured BA’s agreement that no worker will be laid off without pay, and that there will be no redundancies, at least temporarily.

UK: Health workers threatened for wearing PPE and reporting danger to their lives

By Tony Robson, 8 April 2020

The threats to health workers have been particularly directed at any use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

British Queen appeals for national unity across an unbridgeable class divide

By Laura Tiernan, 7 April 2020

Expunged from the Queen’s narrative was any hint of the mounting public fury over horrific conditions endured by National Health Service staff—deprived of masks, gloves and other essential personal protective clothing, and of ventilators to treat the dying.

Who is the new UK Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer?

By Thomas Scripps, 7 April 2020

The election of Sir Keir Starmer marks the return to a business-as-usual Blairism shorn of any socialist pretensions.

As it releases thousands of prisoners, UK government keeps Julian Assange locked-up in danger

By Thomas Scripps, 6 April 2020

The WikiLeaks founder is currently held on remand pending extradition to the US, not charged with any crime or serving any sentence, in Belmarsh maximum security prison.

As Europe’s COVID-19 death toll nears 50,000, British PM Johnson admitted to hospital

By Robert Stevens, 6 April 2020

There is mounting evidence that fatalities are much higher when deaths outside hospitals are factored in.

New UK Labour leader Keir Starmer offers national unity with Tory government

By Chris Marsden, 6 April 2020

Jeremy Corbyn has presided over a massive shift to the right in official politics, with grave implications for the working class.

UK corporations scramble for coronavirus bailout funds

By Paul Bond, 4 April 2020

The £350 billion bailout is an unprecedented financial handout to UK corporations, conducted without even the rubber stamp of a parliamentary vote.

Working-class Londoners risk their lives fighting COVID-19 as the city’s billionaires decamp

By Michael Barnes, 4 April 2020

While the super-rich complain of being bored in their gated mansions, masses of workers in London have lost their jobs or are forced to work in unsafe conditions.

UK: Elderly will be left to die as coronavirus plunges care sector into crisis

By Stephen Alexander, 4 April 2020

It is estimated that up to a fifth of all COVID-19 deaths in the UK have occurred in care homes, hospices, and individual households.

Nearly three years after the Grenfell Tower inferno, flammable cladding still widely used in UK

By Alice Summers, 4 April 2020

High Pressure Laminate cladding, thought to be used on thousands of buildings across the country, has been shown to be as highly flammable as the cladding used on Grenfell Tower.

Julian Assange still held on remand as coronavirus spreads through UK prisons

By Thomas Scripps, 3 April 2020

The WikiLeaks founder, held in Belmarsh prison and facing extradition to the US for exposing war crimes, has a chronic lung condition and has had his health destroyed by a decade of mistreatment by the British state

Royal Mail rejects all demands for basic coronavirus safety measures, but CWU continues to block strike

By Thomas Scripps, 3 April 2020

Sitting on a huge mandate for strike action delivered less than a month ago, the CWU’s only response is to turn to Boris Johnson with an appeal for more talks!

Nightingale field hospital completed in London to cope with mass coronavirus deaths

By Richard Tyler, 2 April 2020

While clearly the temporary hospital is a much-needed facility, given the criminal starving of resources in Britain’s health care system, for many who are taken there it will be little more than a waiting room for the dying.

UK: Communication Workers Union seeks unity with Royal Mail against postal workers

By Thomas Scripps, 2 April 2020

That the CWU is now appealing for the most basic sanitary protections is an admission of the desperately unsafe conditions it volunteered its membership into when calling off the planned national strike.

UK warehouse and distribution workers protest exposure to COVID -19

By Tony Robson and Dan Richardson, 1 April 2020

Britain’s new “Satanic Mills” are a byword for low pay, casualisation and sweat shop conditions, which have only worsened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Daily Telegraph rails against socialist revival due to coronavirus crisis

By Chris Marsden, 1 April 2020

The fears of the ruling class internationally that the coronavirus crisis is leading to opposition to capitalism on a mass scale are expressed in the commentary in Britain’s Telegraph.

“This is a worldwide medical emergency and we shouldn’t put our frontline NHS staff at risk” UK doctor in forensic pathology speaks to WSWS

By our correspondent, 31 March 2020

The doctor raised concerns about the Johnson government’s failures in combating the virus, including a lack of personal protective equipment and its impact on the safety and morale of National Health Service workers in Britain.

Unemployment surges in UK, with millions forced onto punitive welfare system

By Barry Mason, 31 March 2020

In a nine-day period to March 24, 470,000 workers applied for financial support through the punitive Universal Credit system—more than eight times the average.

Sunday Telegraph reports on Exercise Cygnus

UK government source speaks of “blood on our hands” over coronavirus due to NHS cuts

By Robert Stevens, 30 March 2020

The Telegraph article makes clear the NHS was unable to deal with the outbreak of a pandemic because of the decade long and ongoing austerity programme designed to make the working class pay for the trillion-pound bailout of the banks in 2008.

Pandemic death toll in Europe rises to 19,000 as savaged health care systems are overwhelmed

By Thomas Scripps and Alice Summers, 28 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is preying on Europe’s 500 million-plus population whose health care services have been decimated by years of government austerity and private sector looting.

UK government buried 2016 report exposing catastrophic NHS failings during flu pandemic

By Steve James, 28 March 2020

Exercise Cygnus has been buried for years for fear it would give rise to demands for an end to health care cuts.

UK health care assistant: “There’s a fear that if we are tested for COVID-19, most of us will come back positive and the NHS will collapse”

By our reporter, 28 March 2020

A senior health care assistant spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about his experiences at work during the coronavirus pandemic.

UK: Corbyn’s pathetic exit as Labour leader amid coronavirus crisis

By Chris Marsden, 27 March 2020

Corbyn strained every sinew to appear responsible and supportive at a time of national emergency, stressing that he did not want to appear to be “relentlessly negative.”

Julian Assange’s bail request denied despite coronavirus risk

By Thomas Scripps, 26 March 2020

Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s refusal came amid mounting calls for the release of vulnerable, low-risk prisoners from the UK’s overcrowded and woefully unprepared prison systems during the coronavirus crisis.

Johnson’s “herd immunity” strategy and the London Conference on Intelligence whitewash: Britain’s ruling class and eugenics

By Thomas Scripps, 26 March 2020

Innumerable posts on social media have drawn the connection between the reactionary ideology of eugenics and the British government’s criminally delayed and negligent response to the pandemic.

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus measures: Political criminality that will cost tens of thousands of lives

By Chris Marsden, 25 March 2020

For those millions seeking guidance from the government, Johnson’s message—in announcing a national lockdown Monday evening—was one of calculated contempt.

NHS staff contract COVID-19 as UK government refuses to provide testing and protective equipment

By Tony Robson, 25 March 2020

In London, three junior doctors have been taken into critical care and are on ventilators. In the West Midlands, a staff nurse is in intensive care and on a ventilator.

UK: NHS frontline staff and patients at risk through government negligence over pandemic

By Tony Robson, 24 March 2020

NHS doctors and nurses have been battling against the government’s refusal to provide testing and adequate Personal Protective Equipment.

UK: Sheffield health care students demand placements suspended to limit COVID-19 spread

By Julie Hyland, 23 March 2020

The students’ petition to university bosses highlights the widespread opposition to the disastrous course of the Johnson government, which has already forced a shift in its reckless policy of allowing the spread of COVID-19.

Over 620 deaths in Italy on Friday as coronavirus fatalities surge in Europe

By Robert Stevens, 21 March 2020

Italy, Spain, Belgium and the UK all recorded their largest single-day death tolls in the global coronavirus pandemic on Friday.

UK government closes schools under sustained public pressure

By Tom Pearce, 21 March 2020

Although most pupils are being sent home, some schools, with reduced staffing, will have to remain open to ensure “key workers” are able to continue working.

UK Royal Mail workers oppose union citing coronavirus to justify strike vote sellout

By Thomas Scripps, 21 March 2020

Workers have used social media to condemn the union’s refusal to call strikes after a second national ballot recorded a huge mandate for action.

Growing demands for Assange’s release as first coronavirus case confirmed in British prisons

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 March 2020

The British authorities are willfully placing Assange’s life at risk, even though he has been convicted of no crime.

UK: Johnson government uses coronavirus crisis to seize dictatorial powers

By Robert Stevens, 20 March 2020

Britain’s ruling elite is using the enormous danger to public health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to implement a raft of anti-democratic measures they have long planned to impose.

Retired UK welfare advice worker Terry Craven: “If they are going to build a herd immunity, they already know it’s going to kill thousands of people”

By our reporters, 20 March 2020

Retired welfare advice worker Terry Craven contacted the WSWS to express his concerns about the lack of provision for people in the UK on social security benefits showing symptoms of Covid-19.

Union calls off UK Royal Mail strike citing national interest during coronavirus pandemic

By Thomas Scripps, 19 March 2020

The CWU has used the coronavirus crisis not only as a cover for a sellout it had already intended, but as an opportunity to prove its unswerving allegiance to Royal Mail and the British state.