This Dialogue & Debate webinar explores 'Polarisation & The Pandemic', with four guest panellists:
- Prof Graham Smith - Professor of Politics and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster
- Will Tanner - Director, Onward
- Tessa van Rens - Researcher, Demos
The discussion is presented by our Chief Executive, Dr Edmund Newell.
How to join
You can join this webinar on Zoom. Please register in advance for the chance to interact via our live Q&A, using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_h5wAX7KJScKLP55BRuk72Q
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with details of how to join the webinar live.
We will also be streaming the webinar on our Facebook page and on this webpage.
Key themes of discussion
This week, we discuss the extent to which COVID-19 unites people across political divides.
It might be expected that a grave public health emergency, such as COVID-19, would bring a country together, giving leaders a chance to rise above, and heal, partisan divides.
On the one hand, in the UK, support for the NHS through social media campaigns and personal and community efforts has cut across party affiliations, the divisive Brexit debate has quietened in the face of shared public safety concerns, and compassion towards Prime Minister Boris Johnson united both government supporters and critics.
On the other hand, the pandemic has heightened public anxiety and strained public administration, potentially exacerbating long-standing fissures. Online racism and conspiracy narratives have gained traction, as have antagonistic discussions about the media, and tensions between local, devolved and national governments.
This webinar explores the extent to which the pandemic has aggravated political polarisation, discussing the potential impact of political divisions on public health, democracy and social cohesion. In particular, our guest panellists will examine the ways in which political elites, the media and civic actors around the world can find opportunities in the crisis for reducing divisions and building bridges.
Other webinars in this series
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