Social distancing (also known as social distancer) is a term coined by the UK Government in 2016 to describe a range of strategies and tactics used by the government to manage public relations for its political agenda, including social distancedness.
In its official report into the 2015 General Election, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that:The Government has been widely criticised for its use of social distances to create false equivalence between Brexit and the EU.
The Government has since been forced to backtrack and acknowledge that the term was used.
The government has also been criticised for not using the term in a more clear way in its communications, and instead used the term “social distanced” to describe the social distancings that occur when politicians use a range to the political agenda.
However, the term does not always refer to a specific type of social distance.
It can refer to the distance between a politician and a voter or between a public figure and an audience.
It has been used in some cases to refer to political discourse between politicians.
“The Government’s decision to define the term as a general term, and the government’s subsequent use of it, has caused consternation,” the ONS said in its report, adding that:There is also evidence that social distancers are not always a useful tool for the Government to use.
In one case, a senior Conservative MP in the House of Commons was accused of “socialising” in a debate about the future of immigration in 2016.
In the Commons, the Labour MP said:I’m afraid that the people of the United Kingdom are being used as a bargaining chip by the Government, and it’s a bad use of their time and energy.
The answer is not to have a conversation that goes beyond the debate that was on, but to have some real debate and actually work with the government on what they want to achieve and why.
“In another case, the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, was also criticised for using the phrase “social distance” in relation to immigration when she told MPs on a visit to the Isle of Wight in 2017 that “we should never turn a blind eye to immigration”.
The UK Government also uses social distANCeres to manipulate and distract media coverage in order to create a false impression of a negative public sentiment.
The term is also used to promote political causes such as the anti-racism and anti-discrimination law, the equality of the sexes and the LGBTI agenda.