Owen Jones is telling us – as he obviously would – that there’s a class issue to the coronavirus. The obvious coming from the observation that Owen would tell us there’s a class issue to picking toenails – presumably the working class can’t as they’ve already been torn off to decorate the fireplaces of the capitalist plutocrats.
The problem with Owen’s insistence upon class here is that he’s managed to get it entirely the wrong way around. For he’s shouting that the lifting of the lockdown is that imposition of class difference rather than the lifting of it which it is. For he’s telling us that the middle class middle managers get to stay at home and do their work over Zoom. While those horny handed workers who actually toil have to get out and do stuff now.
Well, yes, suppose so, but the lesson is the opposite of what Jones is claiming:
An alliance of Tory libertarians, who believe in freedom for those can afford it, and wealthy Conservative backers, who are rather more interested in profit margins than the lives of vulnerable and older people, have grown tired of lockdown, quite unlike the public as a whole. And so Johnson’s messy compromise, as mentioned in his Sunday night address to the nation, is to “actively encourage” a return to work for those who cannot do so from home: factory workers, but not managers; cleaners, but not accountants.
Freedom for those who can afford it, eh?
As ever larger swathes of the British working class are ordered to return to their function as generators of revenue, the class impact of this pandemic will only be heightened.
As, no, it’s the other way around laddie.
So, consider maintained lockdown. Those middle class managers get to continue to do their stuff over Zoom. The working class, the horny handed sons of toil, get to sit around doing nothing. Or, as we can also describe this, have no work, no job, no income and thus spiral ever deeper into poverty and destitution. This increases the classes divide, those tossers like you and me who get to keep going and the proles who get cast off into the lumpenproletariat by being forced into economic inactivity.
The lifting of the lockdown closes down this class inequality, it allows all to earn a living.
That is, Owen’s quite right that there’s a class issue here but it’s the lockdown, not the lifting of it, which widens that gap between the classes. But then Owen Jones has never been one known for selecting the correct end of the ordure stained stick, has he?