A Tortoise File

The Reckoning

As Britain begins to reopen, there is a need for a reckoning: what has happened during this pandemic; how have decisions been taken; and what must be done differently? Government by three-word slogans is not going to be enough to deliver a fairer future.

Why this story?

This is a story about the frightening early days of the coronavirus lockdown. And it is a story about what the pandemic has revealed to us about how we live, who we value, and how we are governed.

At the start, there was some talk about Covid-19 as a great leveller – the virus was indifferent to wealth and status –it could even come for the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street.

But as the cases rose and the deaths mounted, we learned that this health emergency was not a leveller at all. In fact, it was going to exaggerate inequalities in Britain and other countries.

Wealthier, more educated white collar workers stayed at home; blue collar and essential workers kept on going in.

We know deaths have been higher amongst black, Asian and minority ethnic populations – and that if you live in poor housing, in deprived urban areas, with existing health issues and the kind of job that puts you in contact with the public, in shops, on buses, on security, you were at greater risk.

We wanted to tell the story of Emanuel because it illuminates allof these issues and more.

As Britain begins to reopen, there is a need for a reckoning: what has happened during this pandemic; how have decisions been taken; and what must be done differently? Government by three-word slogans is not going to be enough to deliver a fairer future. David Taylor, editor

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First published
Friday 18 September 2020

Last updated
Tuesday 17 November 2020