Rachel Shabi is a British-based journalist and broadcaster, who has contributed to The Guardian, The New York Times, The Times of London, The New Statesman, and The Nation, among other publications. She is also the author of Not the Enemy: Israel’s Jews from Arab Lands (2009). (July 2020)

Follow Rachel Shabi on Twitter: @rachshabi.

NYR DAILY

The Pro-Privatization Shock Therapy of the UK’s Covid Response

Prime Minister Boris Johnson looking through a pipe during a visit to a Siemens Rail factory construction site, Goole, England, July 6, 2020

There is a larger game afoot in the UK government’s privatization-friendly Covid-19 response. The outsourcing bonanza has coincided with Britain’s tense talks with the European Union over the terms of a new, non-member relationship. For Leave.EU hardliners, a no-deal Brexit is not unwelcome: it would, as they see it, set the nation free to forge ahead as Global Britain, a sort of deregulated “Singapore-on-Thames,” as some Brexiteers have enthused. Others see this as a dangerous new “shock doctrine.” Coupled with rolling back the welfare state through a handout of pandemic contracts to the private sector, this bonfire of regulations represents an extension of Thatcherism, a chance to finish what she started.