Cuts have dire consequences . Here in Dorset cuts to hospitals ( Portland beds, Chalbury ward Weymouth, Wareham beds) . Youth clubs cut. Social care cut. Sure Start cut. It could be seen as a big experiment in cutting holes in the social safety net and seeing what would happen.

The results are now in. People died. Prof Dorling of Oxford first sounded the alarm with 150 000 excess deaths in 2015, reported in the BMJ. Now we have the Marmot report 10 year review . The previous century long rise in life expectancy has stalled. A bonanza for occupational funds who save pension payments on retired workers who now die early. NHS waiting times are at an all time high. UK is now ranked 22 of 27 European states for infant mortality. Reports emerge of suicides after DWP penalties. The NHS has been decimated with 40 000 nurses and 10 000 doctors missing with dangerously low numbers of beds compared to neighbouring countries. One budget increase cannot undo ten budgets of harm. Profits have been put before people.

We now face a new virus. The proven response in China is strict social distancing. Yet Boris muses that maybe we should take it on the chin and allow it to spread through the population. (A balance struck apparently to save zombie firms from an economic correction?). The editor of the medical magazine, The Lancet, describes this as complacent. The head of the World Health Organisation calls for urgent and aggressive action. A choice looms between public protection or protecting profits. We cannot do both.

All these inconvenient truths, from corona to climate, challenge us to urgently find a new way of living in peace with nature and cooperation with nations. We must put the planet and people before profit.

Cllr Jon Orrell