Monday, March 16, 2020

Government matters

Like everyone else, I've been watching the not-so-slow-motion-anymore disaster of the pandemic, with varying levels of shock and horror. And watching the responses around the world, I'm once again glad to live in a country with a functioning (if underfunded) public health system and a competent government. We've been told for the past 35 years that government doesn't matter, that its an obstacle, that the best thing it can do is get out of the way and surrender its functions to the private sector. It was always a lie, and now we're being reminded of that in spades. The uS's privatisation of everything has turned it into a failed state where people are going to die en-masse. Here at least we stand a chance. But we're also going to see government resources deployed on a massive scale to support people's incomes and get us all through this. And hopefully, at the end of it people will recognise how important that ability is, and be willing to ensure it is all properly funded in future.

But its also about leadership. In the UK, the government's position is basicly to let the peasants die, to avoid economic damage (while the elite no doubt flees to their rural estates or to their money in some offshore tax-haven). In the US, Trump seems to alternate between denial and seeing it as an opportunity for grift, with a side order of pure fucking evil. Whereas our Prime Minister has made it clear that we are all in this together, that everyone's health depends on everyone else's, and that protecting us is the government's first priority. You see who politicians really are in a crisis, and as with Christchurch, Ardern has risen to the occasion. And we're lucky to have someone like her in charge at the moment.