Last modified on January 15, 2023, at 09:58

United Kingdom's nanny state approach to the coronavirus pandemic

In July of 2021, Der Spiegel indicated that Finland was the best at handling the coronavirus pandemic based on an index based on excess mortality, restrictions on people's lives and liberty, GDP performance and vaccination coverage.[1] See: An observation about the countries that handled the coronavirus pandemic well so far. And let's look at Finland.

While Finland did a decent job of handling the coronavirus, the coronavirus pandemic turned the United Kingdom (UK) into a bigger nanny state than it was before the pandemic.

City Journal is one of the world's premier urban-policy magazines, “the Bible of the new urbanism,” as London’s Daily Telegraph puts it.[2]

Electron microscope scan of a coronavirus, so-called due to the crown-like filaments on the surface.

In Autumn of 2021, Lionel Shriver published the article The Most Frightened Nation with the byline Why the United Kingdom will never be the same which stated:

What was once the land of “keep calm and carry on” could now be the “most frightened nation in the world.” So says Laura Dodsworth, author of A State of Fear: How the UK Government Weaponised Fear During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Data seem to bear her impression out. According to an Ipsos MORI poll conducted in July, an impressive 27 percent of Britons want to impose a government-mandated nationwide curfew of 10 PM—not then in force—“until the pandemic was under control worldwide,” which might be years from now. A not-inconsiderable 19 percent would impose such a curfew “permanently, regardless of the risk from Covid-19.” Presumably, these are people who don’t get out much. While 64 percent want Britain’s mask mandate in shops and on public transport to remain a legal requirement for the duration of the global pandemic, an astounding 51 percent want to be masked by law, forever.

There’s more: some 35 percent want to confine any Briton who returns from a foreign country, vaccinated or not, to a ten-day home quarantine—permanently, Covid or no Covid. A full 46 percent would require a vaccine passport in order to travel abroad—permanently, Covid or no Covid. So young people today would still be flashing that QR code on whatever passes for smartphones in 2095, though they might have trouble displaying the device to a flight attendant while bracing on their walkers. Likewise, the 36 percent who want to be required to check in at pubs and restaurants with a National Health Service contact-tracing app forever. A goodly 34 percent want social distancing in “theatres, pubs and sports grounds,” regardless of any risk of Covid, forever. A truly astonishing 26 percent of Britons would summarily close all casinos and nightclubs forever. Are these just a bunch of fogies who don’t go clubbing anyway? No. In the 16-to-24 age bracket, the proportion of Brits who want to convert Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London’s Soho into a community lending library, even after Covid is a distant memory, soars to a staggering 40 percent.

Far from yearning for their historic liberties as “free-born Englishmen,” eight out of ten of the British, according to a Southbank/Kingston University survey, were “anxious” about lifting any of their benevolent government’s copious pandemic restrictions...

But the most enduring damage to the home of Magna Carta may be political. The transformation of the United Kingdom is permanent. Its citizens can never again characterize lockdowns and other previously unthinkable government edicts, such as “you’re forbidden to leave the country,” as unprecedented. The state has established precedents galore. The public is already being softened up for the return of repressive measures in some form this autumn, even if only to control a surge of flu.

It’s official: British civil liberties are provisional. They can be rescinded at a moment’s notice on the government’s whim. They are privileges, not rights. The anything-but-inalienable “rights” to free expression, to protest, to assembly, to association, to worship, to travel, to work: all require permission slips.[3]

Despite the UK taking a more nanny state approach to coronavirus pandemic than Finland, the UK has a higher mortality rate than Finland due to the coronavirus pandemic

As of January 11, 2022, in the UK, deaths per 100,000 people was 316.30 deaths per 100,000 people.[4] As of January 11, 2022, in Finland, which has given much more liberty to its citizens, deaths per 100,000 people was 149.13 deaths per 100,000 people.[5]

See also


  1. Der Spiegel: Finland best at handling pandemic, website, July 7, 2021
  3. The Most Frightened Nation by Lionel Shriver, Autumn of 2021
  4. Mortality Analyses by John Hopkins University University of Medicine
  5. Mortality Analyses by John Hopkins University University of Medicine