Let’s hear it for our invisible frontline workers

In The Municipal Journal, Claire Fox says we can reflect on what kind of a changed world we want to inhabit after the pandemic and commit to embracing some lessons moving forward.

Is everything up for grabs in a post-coronavirus world? Perhaps because we are all desperate to find upsides to this grim period, many people optimistically hope the crisis will help us find new priorities. I do, too. But I have some caveats.

Some imagine that the aftermath of the virus will deliver political changes that have previously not won popular support. For example, Corbynistas are excited that state aid may become the norm with Rishi Sunak’s proposals to pay furloughed staff and help struggling companies. Others suggest that our newfound reverence for frontline healthcare staff means that there will never be any threat to the NHS – although this might mean even the mildest critiques of health service shortcomings will be off the table. Boris Johnson’s particular praise for two nurses – from New Zealand and Portugal – is cited as proof that the Tories’ immigration rules will be dumped or that we should row back from leaving the EU.

Extinction Rebellion-style eco-activists seem to hope that lockdown-life means that we can live with less economic activity. Many civil libertarians, me included, worry about the normalisation of a trade-off between health and security, at the expense of liberty.

Read the full article here.