Latest Issue

How the state came to criminalise ordinary life

No medical or other crisis should be reason for the executive to be given absolute power

Photo: Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment

The law no longer just criminalises anti-social behaviour. It now criminalises normal social behaviour. Regulations imposed this spring at a stroke removed freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and freedom of worship. The usual liberties of every citizen are now potential criminal offences. This is the most fundamental of shifts, and it has happened without proper parliamentary scrutiny: these sweeping restrictions were imposed in England by ministerial fiat in March 2020 and had still not been approved by MPs a month later.

The reason,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect