What we were reading: vaccine nationalism, national identity, tribalism and accountability

What we were reading: vaccine nationalism, national identity, tribalism and accountability

Catherine Neilan

06:50 26th February 2021

One week a month, the Making Common Ground focus group will read an article a day, ahead of our discussion.

The articles are distributed without headline or any indication of which publication they come from, to encourage the participants to read them in full and without any pre-conceived ideas about what they are looking at.

This week the articles focused on vaccine nationalism, the zealotry of political tribes, how Boris Johnson's assertion that Britain is "freedom loving" backfired and holding the Government to account.

If you're listening to the latest focus group podcast, which you can listen to via the player below, you might like to have a read yourself - although we can't reprint the articles in full.

Here's what we were reading this week:

Article one

It's curious looking back through the fog of more than 30 years, but there are things I miss about my days as a born-again Christian. I worshipped at a small church in suburban Reading - a free church, unattached to any other denomination - and soaked up the camaraderie, fellowship and, above all, the sense that we had "the truth".

Read the rest of the article here

Article two

If you're trying to coax a country into doing something it may not want to do, it often makes sense to talk about national identity. It's seductive (not for nothing do some 21 per cent of Brits still read their horoscopes, hoping for someone to tell them who they are and what they want), an opportunity for flattery (you're so stoical and courageous), and a great coercive tool (but you love putting up with unpleasant things - you can show off your national stoicism and courage!)

Read the rest of the article here

Article three

A government that is able to get away with the avoidable deaths of tens of thousands of its own citizens can get away with anything.

In the coming months, the days will become lighter and warmer, and a population that has been through the most severe national emergency since the second world war will be ever freer. Playgrounds will fill with laughing children, rounds will be bought in pubs and friends will hug. As the "before times" come roaring back, the relief will fuse with a desire to scrub the nightmare away from our collective consciousness, and leave it to the history books and future Netflix dramas to unpick.

Read the rest of the article here

Article four

At the end of January the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, gave a speech on the tarmac of Santiago airport. 'Today is a day of joy, excitement and hope,' he said, standing in front of a Boeing 787 which had just arrived from Beijing. Inside it were two million vaccine doses produced by the Chinese company Sinovac. It was the first of two similar-sized shipments arriving that month.

Read the rest of this article here

Subscribe to receive regular email updates:     

Tags: Coronavirus Vaccination Tribalism Podcast