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The UK is showing enormous trust in the resilience of its democratic culture. Is it right to?

Britain is treating Covid-19 with a dose of temporary authoritarianism—a crude medicine with unknowable side effects

By Rafael Behr  

A near-empty Westminster Bridge. photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

It is not normally a symptom of healthy democracy when the government demands that citizens stay confined in their homes and parliament rubber-stamps it into law, then disbands for weeks. But these are not normal times.

The extreme measures required to contain the spread of coronavirus require suspension of many habits of a free society, including the right to move around the country and assemble. Removed from the context of a deadly virus the political shift looks wildly authoritarian.

The lack…

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