Why Boris Johnson is having to sacrifice his libertarian values in the battle against coronavirus – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: July 21, 2020 at 1:06 pm

After Emmanuel Macron announced that masks must soon be worn in all enclosed spaces in France, speculation is mounting that Britain will inevitably follow suit.

But will lifelong libertarian Mr Johnson forced by the global pandemic to become uncharacteristically authoritarian really insist on such a draconian measure?While it is tempting to presume that the answer to that question will depend on the science, in reality to coin the Clintonesque catchphrase it's about the economy, stupid.

Although there is some emerging scientific evidenceto suggest that face coverings not only help stop transmission but also protect the wearer, the decision is being driven by fiscal, rather than health concerns.

As Matt Hancock admitted in the House of Commons on Tuesday, the Government wants to "make shoppers feel even more confident about returning to the High Street".

Quoting Mike Cherry, the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, the Health Secretary said: "Small businesses know that mandatory face coverings have a role to play in the nation's recovery, both physically and financially."

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Why Boris Johnson is having to sacrifice his libertarian values in the battle against coronavirus - Telegraph.co.uk

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