The independent London newspaper

Forget the clapping, pay them properly

30 July, 2020

• AFTER much fanfare and weekly clapping for carers and key workers, they have not been deemed worthy of a pay rise in the same way as doctors, police, and teachers.

If our prime minister had succumbed to this awful coronavirus, in the way that so many people have across the United Kingdom, who would have wrapped and cared for the body, and disinfected the room, as they have done thousands of times up and down the country?

When a lift at the Royal Free Hospital is marked Covid-19 Patients Only, and a cleaner is sent to disinfect it, does the cleaner turn away, or do the low-paid job he or she is employed to do?

Have we really lost our moral compass so badly that we have forgotten who we were hoping would care for us – while celebrating poems about the hands that touch us, first and last, as well as finding the pulse, fixing the drip, emptying the pans and clamping the veins, and so on and on?

Were we hoping that a poem or some hand-clapping would suffice, while we all sheltered safely at home and let them put themselves at risk?

Is a book celebrating the National Health Service with lofty essays from the famous and semi-famous supposed to be enough?

Dear National Health Service workers, nurses, cleaners, porters, and other key workers, some people are still on your side. And are still fighting for you.

Parliament Hill, NW3


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