The prevalence of coronavirus in large urban areas plays into the hands of those prosecuting a rightwing culture war
It’s both true and a little obvious to say that coronavirus knows no borders. But it’s important to point out that neither is it much concerned with established cliches about the internal geography of the UK. There has been no clearcut “north-south divide” in the spread of the pandemic throughout England, for example. Indeed, if anything, the narrative of recent months has emphasised that traditional notions about England’s social and political makeup are becoming increasingly irrelevant and outdated.
Our cultural landscape is changing. In place of a 20th-century discourse that viewed England as a land of mega-regions – like north and south – and saw a great cultural faultline between industrial and non-industrial areas, coronavirus is combining with political developments to highlight a new and very different reality. In simple terms, the great divide in English life is now between the cities and everywhere else.