Britain is more divided by coronavirus pandemic than Brexit, reveals think tank chief

12 September 2020, 14:06

By Seán Hickey

The leader of research finding the UK to be more polarised by the pandemic than Brexit has suggested that the toxicity of the Brexit debate has just found a new home.

Polly Mackenzie is the Chief Executive of Demos, who led research finding the pandemic to be more divisive than Brexit, on arguments around face masks or social distancing.

"In April there was that sense of national unity" Ms Mackenzie remembered, telling Andrew Pierce that "after all of that hatred and rage after Brexit," there was widespread hope that the country would come together during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

"Six months on all of that hope has just gone."

The think tank chief went on to share statistics by the Office of National Statistics which suggested "barely 20% think we'll be united by this."

"All the anger, toxicity and hatred has just moved on to a new topic" she said.

The research done by Demos suggests the public are more divided over coronavirus than Brexit
The research done by Demos suggests the public are more divided over coronavirus than Brexit. Picture: PA

Andrew wondered what Ms Mackenzie put the division down to, which she suggested had its roots in the impact the lockdown has had on people's lives.

"It's clear that people's local communities...have been strengthened by this," she noted, but argued that the pandemic in general has "been a wall of misery for people."

Andrew added that the British tendency to "simmer with rage" may have contributed to the division the report suggests.