Fintan O’Toole: Pandemic has shown foolishness of taking cheap workers for granted

Those who do tough physical jobs, now called ‘key workers’, are in short supply

A HGV driver in southeast England. Without enough such drivers, supply chains break down and supermarket shelves are unstocked. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

A HGV driver in southeast England. Without enough such drivers, supply chains break down and supermarket shelves are unstocked. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

A spectre is haunting Europe, and much of the rest of the developed world. It is not communism. But it is a force that was once strongly associated with it: the working class. It’s back.

Rumours of the death of the proletariat are turning out to have been highly exaggerated. As a consequence, people who have been exploited, disempowered and (as immigrants) often demonised now have more potential power than they have had for decades.

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