There’s nothing so political as a pandemic

The poor are much more likely to die from COVID-19 than the rich, because they have other illnesses thanks to their poverty. The staggering increase in homelessness rates in the UK means thousands have nowhere safe to go. The failure to tackle domestic violence across the world means that millions of women will be living in fear as they self-isolate. All of these problems are products of the failures of our politics. Wealth and power will define who is bankrupted and who isn’t, who becomes sick and who doesn’t, who gets the care they need and who suffers, how many of us will live and how many will die. But we will be told that we’re not allowed to talk about these things, because they’re political. For a decade, progressives across the Western world have been pointing out that our healthcare systems are being torched on the altar of the market. But now we’re all paying the price of that sacrifice, we won’t be allowed to mention it. Because that’s political. For a generation, the left has developed policy ideas to ensure the protection of everyone in an increasingly precarious economy. But we will be told off for calling for them. Because that’s political. (…) When we’re told “don’t politicise the crisis”, we’re told that democracy doesn’t have a role in making what might be some of the most important decisions in our lives. The fact that so many people seem to intuitively agree – that this sort of statement has almost become common sense – tells us quite how broken our democratic systems are, quite how much we need to build democracy anew.

Adam Ramsay in There’s nothing so political as a pandemic (