When I look at the current Coronavirus crisis through the lens of politics this is what I see: Trump failing and being seen to be failing. The Democratic Party starting to unite around Joe Biden in an effort to beat Trump, something the mishandling of the current crisis makes more likely. America will also see that some sort of national health care service is long overdue as a result of all this. In Britain, Boris Johnson’s mishandling of the situation will lead to a surge in support for Keir Starmer once he is finally in situ.
I see all of that because that is what I want to see. That is what I want to happen. Some might say that seeing the crisis through a political lens at all is horribly cynical and that we should view it in humanitarian terms only. Fine, but that’s not the way most people are experiencing the crisis; imagining the political ramifications of it all has become a displacement exercise for a certain portion of the population, in the same way that imaging what impact it might have on sport is a displacement exercise for another group of people. And when people talk about the crisis through their personal political lenses, you just get a read-out of their political hopes and convictions and very little else.
For instance, thinking about it all objectively, it is possible that the crisis, however badly handled by the White House, turns out to be a plus for Trump. Incumbency might be a benefit in a period immediately following a massive crisis; a “let’s not change guard at this difficult moment” type of thing settling in. In Britain, it could make people even more scared of a Labour government than they are already, Keir be damned. The point is, there is no way to know and no one is being – or possibly can be – objective about it all.
In the meantime, everyone stay safe. Or, as safe as you can given it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t given all of the misinformation floating around. Perhaps the Coronavirus crisis will see a backlash against people taking too much stock in what their Twitter bubble tells them. Now I really am being too optimistic about the possible upsides of the whole thing.
Don’t relish your political enemies getting the virus, please. Whatever you think about Nadine Dorries and her politics, she is a human being and seeming to be happy she has contracted a life-threatening illness is a bad look. Be kind out there, people.
In a few weeks time, I have another book coming out. It’s called “Politics is Murder” and follows the tale of a woman named Charlotte working at a failing think tank who has got ahead in her career in a novel way – she is a serial killer. One day, the police turn up at her door and tell her she is a suspect in a murder – only thing is, it is one she had nothing to do with. The plot takes in Conservative Party conference, a plot against the Foreign Secretary and some gangsters while Charlotte tries to find out who is trying to frame her for a murder she didn’t commit.
Also: there is a subplot around the government trying to built a stupid bridge.
It’s out on April 9th, but you can pre-order here: