Resilience, radicalisation and democracy in the COVID-19 Pandemic
In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for COVID-19, how might we build resilience to it? To buy ourselves the time necessary to grapple with the health threat the virus poses, adopting radical new physically distanced behaviours is crucial.
But the social distancing required to fight COVID-19 is likely to deepen existing inequalities and polarisation, in ways that may damage community resilience and democracy. With lockdowns, an already alarming situation of vulnerability to political manipulation is at risk of becoming a disaster for democracy.
The large increase in numbers of jobless people due to the crisis who are housebound and online, constitutes a new potential demographic for recruitment. Losing one’s livelihood represents a loss of dignity and we know that violent extremist groups exploit people with a real or perceived lack of prospects.