ABSTRACT

This chapter explores some of the political, media and public discourse surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom (UK) and shows how this discourse is embedded in a wider ‘cultural politics of crisis'. It explores the erasure of racialised, classed, gendered and ableist structural inequalities in the experiences of the pandemic through claims that ‘we're all in this together'. The chapter discusses the mobilisation of war metaphors and motifs like ‘keep calm and carry on', and how these function to normalise mass death among targeted and ‘vulnerable' populations, while simultaneously reinforcing discourses of racialised, contingent citizenship and the white nation. Religious minorities – especially Jewish and Muslim people – also saw higher than average rates of infection and death from Covid-19. Structural racism is a key point of connection between elite discourses on austerity and Covid-19.