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I started jotting down the similarities I see between right wing arguments for Brexit, and right wing arguments for lifting the lockdown, and now have what is quite an alarming twitter thread. 1/20
Remember that we are not just talking about the usual commentators, but also about the Cabinet, who are where they are largely because of their unwavering commitment to the Brexit cause. 2/20
So... here's the list.

British Exceptionalism: we know best, and our experts are the best. There is suspicion and hostility towards coordinated institutional action at the international level. 3/20
Optimism: everything will be fine. You just have to believe, and the uplands will be sunny. Opponents are talking the country down. 4/20
A strong libertarian streak: we don't want to be told what to do. We don't want to be 'chained' to the EU, or confined, like slaves or prisoners, in our homes. 5/20
Most of all, a frustrating style of argumentation. They seize on (often partially understood) 'evidence', and stick to it despite evidence to the contrary. 6/20
In relation to Brexit, it is the allure of 'sovereignty', of WTO rules, of the opportunities for more and better trade deals when out of the EU; often coupled with little awareness of how the EU functions and what it does. 7/20
In relation to coronavirus, it was herd immunity, and the view that the spread of the virus will not be slowed (much or for long). 8/20
Brexit has yet to be tested. Economic projections can be dismissed as project fear. With coronavirus, collisions with reality will come. 9/20
You would think that data on death rates would be hard to ignore. And indeed they are. But that doesn't stop many from trying. 10/20
International comparisons are difficult; deaths are recorded differently; population densities are different; it is too early to assess the success of a strategy. There is something in each of these claims... 11/20
But, the evidence will continue to grow. It will be possible to see whether 'exit strategies' are working, and it will be possible to see how other Govts are communicating with their people. 12/20
What remains to be seen is whether the right wing arguments begin to subside, and what it is which will make them subside. There is no doubt that a shift in thinking will be difficult. 13/20
But there is, I think, a key difference between Brexit and coronavirus, and so perhaps a reason to end on a (slightly) upbeat note. 14/20
For many in this group, Brexit is their 'raison d'etre'. They believe in Brexit, and they will not be swayed from that path. 15/20
Coronavirus is very different. It is something which they want to get through, with, as far as possible, the population and the economy intact. 16/20
Their view was always that the costs of no Brexit would be existential, the ultimate denial of democracy. The costs of not lifting the lockdown prematurely are very different. 17/20
Of course there are, and will be, huge economic and social costs; but it is not difficult to see that the economic and social costs of 'getting it wrong', and (eg) inviting a second or third peak of infections, would also be huge. 18/20
Given that, I have some hope that the opinions (at least of some...) may soften, enabling the Govt to adopt a gradual, phased, and closely monitored, to the lifting of the lockdown. 19/20
If, on the other hand, the opinions of the more hawkish wing prevail, I really fear for what the next months will bring. ENDS. 20/20
PS Ironically, I omitted one of the key points. Which is the lack of a plan: How will things work (eg) at the Irish border? How, if lockdown is ended, will R remain below 1 and/or will the NHS not be overwhelmed? These things will not happen by themselves.
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