As the UK death toll passes 100,000, we examine how our hollowed-out state not only broke down but failed to plan to stop a pandemic
Why has Britain fared so poorly with Covid-19? Although blaming this or that minister or official offers an easy answer, the deeper causes lie in the transformation of the British state.
Britain inherited from World War II a “command and control” state; a state that could govern. Whitehall was well-practised in strategic planning, good at the rapid and efficient mobilisation of resources and people, and it regularly took authoritative, direct action to meet society’s needs.