Beyond the orbit of Westminster, the idea that normality can simply be willed back into existence seems absurd
As summer withers away and politicians and journalists prepare for the return of party conferences, a tantalising fantasy is in play, mostly in Conservative circles.
The worst of the pandemic, we are told, is now over. In England employers are starting to reduce working from home, and schools are reopening with hugely reduced Covid protocols. A large part of the public in England seems to believe that life has at last been uncoupled from Covid and its effects, and is somehow being returned to normal, although Brexit-related shortages are twisting reality in yet another unsettling way. At the top of the Tory party, meanwhile, the political optimism ignited by vaccines is still alive, and there remains a hope that ministers might somehow slip free of the Covid crisis and begin to leave the whole mess behind.
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