This is a difficult time for any Government.

They have all been hit by COVID-19 and have had to work out a complex response, not only protecting the lives of their citizens but also avoiding lasting economic damage.

It would be natural to expect that perceptions of each government – and therefore voting intentions – would reflect how well that government has performed in managing these twin challenges.

Here is the kind of picture you see when you consult the data on these two issues (in this case the sources were Trading Economics and Statista).

Britain has the second worst result in the world for deaths from COVID-19 and a very poor record for its economic management. The two are linked, as the diagram suggests: it is hard to get an economy firing on all cylinders when many of its citizens are observing social distancing, so the countries which, like New Zealand, went in hard and early are now able to restart their economies.

On this basis, you might expect the British Government to be hugely unpopular with its people.

And yet in the polls, we see that the ruling Conservative Party is still leading. If there were an election tomorrow, they would probably be re-elected.

How can this be?

Is it because the British, though fully aware of the facts, nevertheless feel that the Conservative Party represents the best on offer?

Or is it that they are simply unaware of how poorly their government has performed? That somehow, the British media have failed to communicate these most basic and important of statistics?

Unfortunately, the latter seems a more plausible explanation. The print media in Britain are largely owned by off-shore, tax-avoiding billionaires with a strong vested interest in the current government remaining in power. And the Broadcast media largely follow their lead.

This concentration of media ownership – especially at a time like this when people need to be told the basic facts – puts UK democracy at serious risk.

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