CoVid-19: The Fate Of Democracy

Who are the winners and losers of the coronavirus lockdown? As you can read in our new issue, the clear winners are the tech titans such as e-commerce giant Amazon which thrived while so many of us were stuck at home. Silicon Valley which used to be seen as a destroyer of democracy is now some kind of messiah, providing the technology to track us and trace our potentially deadly contacts.

We should count privacy – the foundation of liberal values – among the losers of the fight against COVID-19. Many would say that the more authoritarian states have proved better
at containing the virus than the standard bearers of democracy. So, is the virus wrecking democracy as we ask on our cover? Don’t forget the question mark just yet.

Some of the countries that performed best in the crisis are run by women – think of Germany, New Zealand and Taiwan. I asked Vivian Hunt, the London boss of the consultancy McKinsey who has been recognised for her advocacy of women in business, if there is such a thing as female leadership. One should never attribute success to one characteristic, she told me, ‘and certainly not gender’. She said leadership required bringing together a range of diverse skills.

In this crisis we have learnt something of the value of the so-called ‘low-skilled’ workers without whom hospitals and care homes could not operate. Will they finally join the ranks of the winners and get better pay? A Syrian refugee filmmaker tells us his story of how he started work as a cleaner in a British hospital and what he found there.

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