Trust, democracy and COVID-19: A British perspective
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Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Conversation-Democracy 2025 Podcast on “Political Trust in Times of COVID-19” produced by ContentGroup

A week ago, the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that the number of people killed by the coronavirus in the United Kingdom stood at 32,313, the second highest death toll in the world.

Health experts believe that the real figure is likely to be closer to 50,000.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Australia currently stand at 103.

Critics have accused a “complacent” British government of “massively underestimating” the gravity of the coronavirus crisis.

The prominent Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that the situation in the UK was “like a nightmare from which you cannot awake, but in which you landed because of your own fault or stupidity”. London correspondent Christoph Meyer writes, Britain has emerged as Europe’s “problem child” of the COVID-19 crisis.

Although international comparisons of COVID-19 death tolls, are methodologically problematic and morally bankrupt, there can be no doubt that the lived citizen experience of COVID-19 has been dramatically different in the United Kingdom when compared with Australia.

Every citizen has a heart-breaking personal story to tell.

In contrast, most Australians, have been blessed voyeurs on the pandemic further perpetuating its image as the Lucky Country.

In this podcast Mark Evans and Michelle Grattan explore differences in the management, experience and impact of the crisis in the company of three leading British academic thinkers and members of the Trustgov project at the University of Southampton.

Will Jennings is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Southampton. He is an expert on public policy and political behaviour, Principle Investigator on the Trustgov project, Co-Director of the UK Policy Agendas Project, and elections analyst for Sky News.

Dr. Jennifer Gaskell joined the TrustGov project as a Research Fellow in July 2019. She holds an interdisciplinary PhD in Web Science from the University of Southampton. Her research focuses on the ways new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) impact civic and political participation. She is also the co-founder of Build Up, a social enterprise working at the intersection of new technologies, civic engagement and peace-building.

Gerry Stoker is Professor of Governance at the University of Southampton and Centenary Professor at the University of Canberra. He is an expert on democratic politics and governance, and advisor to governments and international organisations on public sector reform.

ref. Trust, democracy and COVID-19: A British perspective – https://theconversation.com/trust-democracy-and-covid-19-a-british-perspective-140844

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