How to stop politics grinding to a halt during coronavirus
Through Brexit, austerity and even war, ministers have had to find a way to get other business done, writes Sean O’Grady
Over the past decade or more British politics has approximated to a succession of monocultures. First, there was the global financial crisis and the subsequent era of austerity. That dominated the governments of Gordon Brown and the Conservative-Liberal administration led by David Cameron.
After the 2015 election through to this year, Brexit became the single unavoidable issue that drove and conditioned every other argument. Now, of course, it is the coronavirus pandemic.
Indeed, the unusual nature of this crisis has made it doubly difficult for government and parliament to function in their usual way. Remote conferencing and the “virtual” Commons have slowly replaced conventional meetings, including cabinet, and exchanges in the chamber of the Commons. Social distancing and the illness of some politicians, most obviously Boris Johnson, have certainly made it difficult to attend to anything other than the coronavirus crisis. The public would not have it any other way.