Over the last few years, Global Counsel has convened a policy conference each January to look at the year ahead, taking a big theme and unpacking it. This year’s event was held fully online and focused on the politics of life after covid-19.
Over the course of five weeks in January and February, in a series of in-conversations, panels and special content from our team, we brought together a range of interesting and insightful speakers to discuss how the pandemic may change our politics and the way we make public policy.
We looked in detail at both specific policy responses to covid-19 and some of the wider questions in international and domestic politics that it has raised with renewed force. We considered:
- The complex civil liberties questions raised by the covid-19 responses, especially freedom of movement and freedom of association, the political questions of accountability these have involved and the legacies they will leave;
- The design of state-backed loan guarantee schemes and the legacy of SME debt that they will leave behind;
- The radically different implications covid-19 has had for different types of work, society and state and the conclusions policymakers may draw from this;
- The weakness of multilateral cooperation in the face of the covid-19 threat and the impetus it has given to forms of nationalism - and the ways to address this;
- The ways in which the task of getting covid-19 vaccines to every part of the world will require transcending huge gulfs in governmental capabilities and societal wealth between the developed and developing world;
- The ways in which the sourcing and consuming of information in a crisis can pull politicians and policymakers in different directions when free debate and management of misinformation.
Our speakers were realistic but also optimistic. Many of our speakers saw opportunity in the debates covid-19 has forced, the realities it has exposed and the solidarity it has engendered (at times). We also asked them all – along with our audience over five weeks - three questions. What is the biggest change to 'politics as usual' wrought by the pandemic? Who are likely to be the political winners and losers of the 2020-21 pandemic? When do you think you’ll be willing to shake another person’s hand again?
You can see their answers and some of the highlights from the discussions above.