This ought to be a time for hope, for optimism, for celebration even, and yet it is hard to shake off a sense of impending doom. The end of the Covid emergency is finally in sight, but that doesn’t mean that all will soon be for the best in this best of all possible worlds, writes Allister Heath.
Yes, the vaccines may allow Britain to return to a society with most of the trappings of normality, hopefully by the spring. But that is where the Panglossian vision ends. It is never possible for a traumatised country entirely to turn back the clock, vaccine or no vaccine, and any politician presuming otherwise is in for a terrible shock. We will emerge from lockdown a permanently scarred country. The old Britain is gone, replaced by a jaded, poorer, more indebted, more risk-averse and, above all, more collectivist economy.
The story of the past nine months all over the Western world is one of state failure on a colossal scale, ended only by the extraordinary capitalist miracle that is Big Pharma: the script could almost have been written by Ludwig von Mises or Ayn Rand. Yet this risks not making any difference to the Left-wards, socialist shift triggered by the virus and our response to it.