The commuter is an English archetype – but for how much longer? | John Harris

After years of grim acceptance, people have glimpsed a different way of life, and a quiet pushback may be under way

An unexpected new national stereotype has emerged with coronavirus. We are allegedly in a new era of “work-from-home buyers”: people who are determined to minimise the amount of time they spend in their workplaces, and make their recent lifestyle changes permanent.

Massed interest in what estate agents call “coastal and country” properties has apparently led to the biggest monthly increase in house prices in more than 16 years. Meanwhile, all those exhortations from politicians and rightwing newspapers intended to get people travelling back into cities – which, in most cases, means London – are evidently not working. At the centre of all this lies something fascinating: a sudden questioning of commuting and everything it entails.

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