Plastic? Personal pronouns? Sorry, no time for that decadent ...

World

Plastic? Personal pronouns? Sorry, no time for that decadent nonsense

The pandemic has forced us into unprecedented territory, and there’s no room for our fanciful fixations

Tom Welsh

The advance of coronavirus leaves many contemporary obsessions looking extraordinarily decadent.

Identity politics now feels like a madness from another age. Nobody is complaining about the gender balance of the team of experts guiding the UK’s response (well, nobody apart from Amber Rudd, who got short shrift when she made that point on Twitter last week).

The war on coronavirus has, in part, made the war on plastic redundant. Reusable coffee cups were judged a health risk by cafés which, before they were ordered to close, required customers to return to the old disposable ones. In the US, new regulations restricting the use of plastic bags are being suspended, and one mayor has even called for a ban on the American equivalent of “bags for life”, given that (unwashed) they could end up spreading this virus. There are whisperings that similar measures could follow in the UK, with supermarkets reportedly urging the government to waive the bag tax...

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