Owen Paterson and His Coronavirus Profiteering

Other than key workers, millions of other low-paid workers are still being coerced into working in dangerous conditions, providing goods or services that aren’t necessary to help our country stop the spread of coronavirus. These workers must be allowed to stay at home on full pay, or else be asked to help with the type of work that can help us collectively break the back of the pandemic.

The issue of testing for coronavirus has, globally speaking, revealed itself to be a huge problem for the majority of the working-class who simply cannot afford to pay to be tested, or in the case of health workers simply do not have access to such testing. This means that it is more difficult to know who exactly has had the virus or not, which makes it a thousand times harder more difficult for health experts to prevent its spread.

This problem however is not one that the ruling-class must worry about. Millionaires like Owen Paterson, the Tory MP for North Shropshire may currently be self-isolating but he can easily afford to purchase the tests they want to. In fact, Mr Paterson has easier access to testing kits than most because since 2015 he has been working as a consultant to the Irish company that is presently making millions from the sale of COVID-19 test kits. The company in question is Randox Laboratories, which since early 2017 has been paying Mr Paterson a wage of £520 an hour for his services rendered to their health profiteering!

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Remember this is the same sickening MP who in October 2016 gave a speech in which he attacked the idea of have a nationalised health service, promoting the wrong idea that the number of annual avoidable deaths from common serious diseases in the UK is thousands higher than many other places across the globe. Yet it was the privatisation of our health services that has had the biggest negative impact on health provision in Britain, not to mention the funding cuts our NHS has suffered over the past ten years of Tory rule.

Yet Mr Paterson has outdone even the Health Secretary in his defence of the indefensible: although that is not too surprising for Mr Paterson who is no friend of science, as demonstrated by his active campaigning against the science of climate change. So when news of his self-isolation made the media (on March 19) he said to the press that he would be “holed up for the next 15 days” which is strange as the current advice is that you only need to self-isolate for 14 days. At no point in the newspaper article does he highlight the work he has done for the company that produces the test for COVID-19, and instead, of his current illness, he said:

“Bizarrely I hope it is Coronavirus, particularly as I feel so unwell. At least if I can show that I have had the virus I will have an immunity which could really be an asset. I could get out and about helping knowing that I don’t pose a risk to anyone.” (Shropshire Star, March 19)

This harks back to the Tories dangerous plan to promote so-called “herd immunity” which they only ditched (last Monday) when experts warned that it would cost the unnecessary deaths of a quarter of a million British citizens. But even if it turns out that Mr Paterson does have the coronavirus and makes a recovery, it is absolutely not true that he would not pose a risk to anyone. This is because he of course, like of all us, would still be in a position to transmit COVID-19 to anyone he came into contact with. As even if he did recover from a genuine infection, he could still spread the virus between others on his dirty money grubbing hands, and to date no scientist has yet clarified if people can catch (and spread) it more than once.

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