Your article about the survey on the population’s views on Covid-19 policy was very interesting (Covid lockdown rules more divisive than Brexit, survey finds, 11 September). It seems to focus on the judgments made by people of other people’s actions.
The survey appears to demonstrate more hatred and division, but I would question that. I think it could be demonstrating that there is more confusion and anxiety, which has voiced itself in the language of hostility. Maybe this was increased by the type of questions asked, but I don’t know how those questions were phrased.
The article also parallels the language used in judgment of others’ actions to protect against the transmission of Covid-19, with the answers to the survey in judgments made over Brexit. This was also a very confusing subject. I could suggest that it was safer to stay in the EU where things would be the same rather than leave and not know the consequences, other than maybe the promise that money that went to the EU would now go to public services like the NHS.
The reason for writing is to ask that we try to calm troubled waters rather than fan them by highlighting division and anger. The UK population did an amazing thing in the early months of 2020 by staying away from each other to stop the transmission of a deadly virus for the vulnerable members of our society. We need to feel proud of that.
• Robert Booth’s article reminds us how divided a society Britain has become, and how, for a brief period, the “all in this together” logic of the pandemic united us. My research on public generosity to foodbanks and other charities shows an unprecedented surge in donations at the beginning of the lockdown. Sadly, goodwill closely tracked infection rates. As these declined so did the amounts given, and now donations are back at the pre-coronavirus level. Poverty and unemployment have continued to increase and will rise further as the recession, Brexit and the austerity programme we face next year bites.
How do we move from divided Britain to greater solidarity and a stronger sense of community? A start would be a government that recognises the contribution that relatively low-paid workers in shops, cafes, care homes, nurseries and hospitals make to our society and raise the so-called living wage to real living wage levels. It could go on to promote fair taxes and enrol an army of tax inspectors to make sure City fat cats pay their share.
Professor of social policy, University of Kent
• We were enjoying a socially distanced grandchild’s birthday. The children were playing in the garden while the adults were discussing Covid-19. One grandchild (aged eight), overhearing, came over and said: “Why don’t we all just isolate, the whole world, for two weeks. Everyone stay indoors. Then the virus would be gone, wouldn’t it?” Grandchild went back to playing. Adults sat in a thoughtful silence for a while. We could think of many reasons it would not, could not, work. Or could it? Just asking. I know an eight-year-old who would like some answers.
Cofton Hackett, Worcestershire
• Re Paul Brownsey’s letter (10 September) wondering if “Don’t kill granny” was used because old men are “less lovable”. It was probably because of gerontological statistics, with which we are all familiar these days. Aren’t more grandpas dead already?