Where do you see compounding crises and how are these playing out in different communities?
Are there any specific temporary measures you’ve seen put in place that would cause you concern if they became the norm?
Many interventions are only ever intended to be a temporary response to a crisis. Some will be exploited by those with power, some will become permanent changes, whilst others might turn out to be innovations worth hanging on to and amplifying. It is vital we can spot the difference.
Charities and communities have stepped up to the plate and filled gaps left by central government. It’s shown, once again, the importance of a stable sense of neighbourhood and local community.
What we heard...
“I feel like a lot of people have initially really romanticised working from home and I’ve heard a lot of people say oh, but do you not really like it because you get the freedom and it’s more relaxed, whereas because I already knew what it was like before the pandemic, I had a more realistic view of how difficult it can be.”
Zoe Fletcher, Creative Arts East, Norwich resident
“Teaching is not the same. It’s a transaction, a one-way dialogue and I worry this will endure. It’s more cost-effective making a short, pre-recorded video and sharing it multiple times. I don’t think online teaching works. You can’t crack a joke in twenty minutes. You just have to focus on getting the material across in twenty minutes. It’s all one-way. It’s not good."
Jitesh Gajjar, academic, Manchester resident
“There are also those groups who are wanting to formalise the mutual aid that was initiated in the early stages, but they’re already burning out, because there is no real structures in place… it was all so adrenalin fuelled… short, burst of mutual aid are not sustainable because we’re in this crisis for the long-term.”
Isla McCulloch, chairperson of the community greengrocer Dig In, Edinburgh
Stats and facts
- In the most recent (2019, pre-Covid-19) audit of political engagement, 54 percent of respondents said Britain needs a strong leader who is willing to break the rules.
- Research identifies 20 places in Great Britain that have suffered significant economic damage from the pandemic. They have high numbers of people furloughed, a high proportion of people claiming unemployment benefits, and a high proportion of people claiming universal credit more broadly. These places are therefore more vulnerable to the withdrawal of this support. With the exception of Manchester, the towns and cities that feature can be broadly categorised as London Boroughs (Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Ealing, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Hounslow, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Redbridge, Waltham Forest); Seaside Towns (Blackpool, Eastbourne, Great Yarmouth, Hastings, Thanet (Margate)) and Airport Towns (Crawley, Slough).
Food for thought
“In the moment of disaster, the old order no longer exists, and people improvise… Thereafter a struggle takes place over whether the old order with all its shortcomings and injustices will be re-imposed …or a new one, perhaps more oppressive or perhaps more just and free, like the disaster utopia, will arise.”
Rebecca Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell (2010)
“In moments of crisis, the initiatives passes to those who are best prepared.”
Moreton C Blackwell
“Leaders in even proudly liberal western democracies have amassed powers that could scarcely have been imagined a few weeks ago. Polls suggest that, for the time being, we nearly all support their authoritarianism. Yet there are concerns that some governments are disinclined to let a good crisis go to waste. The virus has furnished the world’s strongmen with an opportunity to entrench their position well beyond the end of the epidemic by suffocating dissent, cowing opposition parties or suspending constitutional limits on their authority. Some are seizing it openly; others more subtly.”
Oliver Moody and Hannah Lucinda Smith, The Times, 30 March 2020
Navigating the transitional space
Is it a concern that so much funding has been found by government - yet universal credit has only been temporarily uplifted by £20 and it took a sustained campaign to extend free school meals?