When the full scale of the Coronavirus crisis first became apparent in the UK, one could have been forgiven for presuming that it signalled an existential blow to the global economic order as we know it. As the country began to comprehend the struggles we were about to face, surely the scales would fall from people’s eyes and the failings of Tory Britain, of austerity, of capitalism, would become self-evident and undeniable? The media-political apparatuses that sustain this orthodoxy could surely not compete with the lived experience of tens of thousands dying all around us, with everyday society as we know it ceasing to function, with long-observedcontradictions of capital approaching their limits. Might we be correct in the optimism of our intellect matching that of our will, for once?
At the onset of this disaster, we were inundated with suggestions that we are not simply facing a repeat of previous recessions or other crises of capitalism, but rather something far more profound and epochal. Yet despite this apparent need for profound change to the way we live in order to overcome this extreme threat to society, any sense of proto-revolutionary fervour soon dissipated. The full force of the state’s ideological arsenal – and the inhumane indifference of its current custodians – quickly became apparent, as did our inability to resist.