The Fragility of Democracy IV: Fear and hope

‘The clumsy system of public gatherings had been long since abandoned; neither Vashti nor her audience stirred from their rooms.’

It was at some point during the first UK lockdown that I read The Machine Stops, a dystopian story published by E M Forster in 1909. In what was an uncharacteristic work of fiction for the Edwardian novelist, Forster hit on an accurate description of life for…