Despite its dreadful impact, the coronavirus pandemic has brought out the very best in people, from Captain Sir Tom Moore’s inspiring fundraising efforts to volunteers in communities across my Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency who have mobilised to ensure that the vulnerable among them receive food and medicine as they shield from this deadly virus. I would like to pay tribute to some of them today: Fife Voluntary Action, Benarty emergency response team and the many “Scotland Loves Local” high street heroes award winners to name but a few. But of course I would also add my thanks to all the key workers who kept us all going throughout lockdown.
The pandemic has also, however, laid bare the opportunism of some: a profiteering cronyism that runs through the heart of this Westminster Government—what Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein calls “disaster capitalism”. In her award-winning book “The Shock Doctrine”, Klein presents a convincing narrative of a political strategy that exploits large-scale crises, such as this pandemic, to push through neo-liberal policy that systematically deepens inequality while simultaneously enriching the already wealthy with connections to those in power.
In the crisis we face today, ordinary people are focused on the daily challenge of survival, yet in parallel we have repeatedly witnessed new private companies springing up to profit directly, greatly assisted in those efforts by a political class prepared to make strenuous efforts to line the pockets of many with close links to the party of government. As my hon. Friend Richard Thomson incisively said of this phenomenon, people across these islands are in the grip of a cronyvirus at the heart of this Government that may be every bit as deadly as the coronavirus