It is up to Labour to lead the charge against Johnson's looming shock doctrine
If you relied only on common sense and the average news coverage, you could be forgiven for underestimating the scale of the crisis that is about to unfold.
The news is full of scandals about advisers undertaking implausibly long-distance eye tests and, after such a shattering human tragedy, it does not emotionally feel possible that the world is about to experience its worst economic collapse. The fact that we may be just 10 years from the tipping point for catastrophic, runaway climate change is even more unfathomable.
In this moment of convulsion, in which we will most need our compassionate and internationalist instincts, so much of the world is being ruled by nationalist demagogues. In their hands, this crisis will become a setting for shock doctrine and the UK will be at the sharp end. Brexit gives Boris Johnson an opportunity to reshape the British economy, signing trade deals with Donald Trump and scrapping rights and protections for workers, consumers and the environment. The rights of millions of migrants are also set to be downgraded and EU negotiators are alarmed at how determined the UK seems to be to opt out of some human rights protections.
There was a brief moment, between the 2019 election and the coronavirus crisis, when it looked safe to predict that Johnson’s Conservatives would be a wholly different kind of opponent to that of the austerity Tories. They would combine a more brutal regime for migrants and a deregulating trade policy with big state spending and investment. Now, as ...
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