Health workers are on the front line in tackling the Covid-19 crisis and undoubtedly displaying huge dedication and self-sacrifice in doing so. However they are fighting this battle in the context of a health system which was already in chronic crisis, due to decades of underfunding from both Stormont and Westminster, leaving services overstretched and understaffed. This was a key issue health workers raised during their momentous strikes and industrial action late last year.
In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, the announcement by employers in the hospitality sector of thousands of lay-offs has thrown the futures of these workers into uncertainty.
Yet, Johnson and his government are continuing to adopt a laissez-faire attitude. They have not ordered schools to shut; they have not ordered all non-essential businesses to close and implement home-working where possible. These measures are needed if people are truly to be able to avoid all non-essential contact with others.
After years of constitutional crisis and division, the UK left the European Union at 11pm on 31st January 2020. But while the Brexit saga has entered a new chapter, the book is far from finished. Under Boris Johnson’s deal, a temporary “transition period” will run until the end of the year. It will maintain EU rules that block state intervention into the economy and wholesale re-nationalisation of privatised industries.