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Will coronavirus lead to a left-wing shift in politics?

Written by Comment, Current Affairs

Not only has the current pandemic completely changed the public’s way of life, it is also sadly leading to thousands of deaths. It is hard to dismiss the magnitude of what is happening: it is inevitable that this will have a lasting impact in the way we relate to each other. Left-wing policies will be at the forefront of this, as the country rediscovers the importance of community.

There are several examples of how – after world-changing events – left-wing policies have come to the forefront of the public discourse. Firstly, after WWI increased the visibility of women, there was increased concern for their rights, both in the workforce and in their political life. This can be linked to how, after the pandemic is over, the country will have a better grasp of the precariousness of essential workers and will likely work towards improving their conditions. Not because of empathy, but because of their increased relevance in the eyes of the elites.

Slogans like “America First” aren’t helpful when help from other countries is desperately needed

This increased sense of community will not only be seen within the UK, but also in how it conducts itself internationally. An example of this was observed after WWII, with the creation of the European Union aimed at increasing collaboration between states, in order to prevent repeating the horrific reality of the war. In the case of coronavirus, it is already observable how important international collaboration is. The help received by countries in dire need, such as Italy, exposes how right-wing tendencies to isolation or even nationalism do not serve countries in emergency situations. Slogans such as “America first” do not prove helpful when help from other countries is desperately needed.

Coronavirus has made vulnerability tangible to those who are not usually ones to worry

Lastly, there will be a fundamental rediscovery of a sense of community, which embodies the appeal of left-wing policies. As vulnerability becomes tangible to those who are not usually the ones to worry, the importance of a public system of support becomes impossible to deny. From the NHS to universal basic income, the country will have to step up to protect those most vulnerable, especially during the inevitable economic recession.

For Tom Leach’s piece arguing the coronavirus will have less of an impact, click here.

Last modified: 11th April 2020

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