Panic, paucity and pessimism: life on Plague Island UK | Zoe Williams

With a mutant Covid variant out of control and lorries piling up in Kent, Britain feels like a country adrift and rudderless

The rest of the world is calling the UK Plague Island because it’s true: a mutant strain of the coronavirus is out of control, laying waste to fantasies that any region is out of the woods, or that the November lockdown had its desired effect, or that we might manage a “merry little Christmas”, in the words of the prime minister.

The plague phrase carries a lot of resonance, beyond being a reference to the high prevalence of infectious disease: it casts us as a far-flung place, isolated, chaotic, uncivilised, a place that wise and/or decent people stay well away from. But is that how it feels from the inside?

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