Why is the British Public so supportive of the Lockdown?

4 April 2020. Updated 14 May 2020.

In every country, including the apparently more relaxed Germany and Sweden, majorities want their government to limit the spread of the virus, even if that means a significant recession or depression and large-scale loss of jobs.

Once again, the UK is the most adamant, with three quarters opting for limiting the spread over protecting the economy. If there is a lockdown divide between “doves” and “hawks” in Downing Street, the public are about as dove-like as can be.

James Johnson, The Times, April 14th 2020

Latest Polling

Ipsos MORI poll, April 16th 2020

Further Reading

How coronavirus has taken its toll on the nation’s mood‘ by Matthew Smith, YouGov, April 4th 2020

Where has the British love of liberty gone?‘ by Toby Young, The Telegraph, April 18th 2020

Why the English sacrificed liberty for lockdown?‘ by James Kirkup, UnHerd, April 23rd 2020

Debbie does lockdown: coronavirus home porn goes viral‘ by Grant Tucker, The Sunday Times, May 2nd 2020

Fearful Britons remain strongly opposed to lifting coronavirus lockdown‘ by Toby Helm, Robin McKie and Lin Jenkins, Observer, May 2nd 2020

Coronavirus has turned us into a nation of scaredy-cats‘ by Toby Young, Telegraph, May 9th 2020

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Geraldine
Geraldine
1 month ago

Surprisingly, I believe there is still widespread support for the lockdown.

Firstly, it makes people feel safe in this outrageously dangerous narrative we have constructed. However, I ask, are we just storing up trouble for later in the year? Known Covid-19 cases in Derby, for example, sit at 0.13% of the total population – in Bristol 0.066%. Whole cities in lockdown – preventing immunity from building and threatening devastating winter outbreaks. Is this logical, on any count? Economic catastrophe aside…

Secondly, employee surveys over the last decade have shown a sharp fall in employee satisfaction and engagement. Less than a third of us actually like our jobs. So why go back to an unsatisfactory job when you can bake cookies with the kids and still enjoy 80% of your salary? Going back to the previous life, why it’s like turkeys voting for Christmas… Eat your heart out employers who have systematically destroyed morale. Your people would rather be funded by the government – from Rishi Sunak’s Magic Money Forest, naturally.

Thirdly, whilst PLOD has become a problem on occasion, we can still crack enough jokes to convince ourselves that their unlawful and intrusive behaviour does not really matter. Turkeys planning for a rather dystopian Christmas, I fear…

Ianric
Ianric
16 days ago
Reply to  Geraldine

Whatever you may think of your job, a job is necessary to earn an income. In the comments of this blog, the view has been expressed people think they are enjoying a paid holiday and can go straight back to work without realising their jobs are in danger. If I was in furlough I would worry I would have no job back for the following reasons

* My employer being unable to survive being unable to trade for long periods.

* Working in a business dependent on seasonal trade and the business missing on the busiest periods. For instance, If I worked in a hotel where the bulk of the trade is during the summer months, I would worry my hotel would go bust as the hotel has missed the crucial summer trade.

* Habits changing and people not going back to hold habits. For instance, if I worked in a pub I would worry people would be used to drinking at home and not use pubs again.

* Permanent lockdown with business such as pubs never being allowed to operate again.

Mars-in-Aries
Mars-in-Aries
12 days ago
Reply to  Ianric

You are being too logical. It is obvious that a magic money tree has been discovered growing vigorously in the gardens of No 11. The government is able to find billions to keep millions at home on full pay. Nobody really understands how this is done, but why can’t it just go on? Things don’t look too bad, there is food in shops and the weather is great. What is the hurry to get back to work?

Wayne morgan
Wayne morgan
1 month ago

A lot of ‘rules could have been been enforced BEFORE a total lock down .. to reduce the need for businesses to close – pubs/restaurants could have only allowed say 50% of max occupancy with no tables closer than 6 feet ..
builders should still be working outside – but no ‘canteens’ or such
No reason for some ‘solo’ sports to close .. just add extra tests and rules

IMO the shutdown has shown the world how dependent we are in a supply chain from China – that we are now at the mercy of .. and the western economies will take a decade to recover ..

The statistics should show the ‘normal’ death rate as well as those added by corona virus ..

Media should have to be able to prove a ‘source’ or not publish to the public .

BBC reporting has been poor – and that should all have their license reviewed

The NHS management have proven to be pretty much worthless … (not the frontline staff) as it is the management’s job to ensure the systems are in place to handle almost any emergency .. including biological warfare (which this is similar to) and natural disasters ..
No NHS manager at any level . Should receive a bonus or pursue for 3 years .. that should go to the medical staff ..

Mike
Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  Wayne morgan

Blaming the NHS management? Delusional blindspot on your part. Defunding the NHS / austerity caused the lack of ability to cope now. Whether austerity was a good decision is another debate, but blaming NHS managers is terrible. Also, your blindspot for Boris acting too late. His arrogance endured after he caught the virus (bragging about handshaking coronavirus victims in a hospital). He also didn’t follow social distancing, so infected his whole team. Let’s at least have some honesty here please.

Mars-in-Aries
Mars-in-Aries
12 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Sorry, but the honest truth is that most hospital managers just do not have a clue. Vast amount of money is wasted. As for the upper echelons of the NHS executive, their real talents are marketing the ‘sainted’ NHS and deflecting blame

Teresa (Terry) Granner

There is still a lot of support for the lockdown. I just can’t understand why. It’s destroying people’s careers, people are commiting suicide, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed and we’re content to just let it happen. most of the deaths are happening in care homes to people who would have died anyway. So why the hell are people putting with this imprisonment.

Michael Leach
Michael Leach
1 month ago

“people are commiting suicide” – please share your evidence for this. Thanks

Nigel Baldwin
Nigel Baldwin
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Leach

I can’t supply any evidence but I can give you anecdotal examples. I have a 96 year old mother who is basically in solitary confinement in her flat despite the fact that she lives in what is cutely named ‘warden assisted’ accommodation. (There is no assistance, just a born again Nazi who revels in the misery of her residents to the extent of not allowing them to sit in the gardens, even at a social distance, thus they are all becoming vitamin D deficient which compromises the immune system.) My mother, who is a churchgoer, thinks suicide is a desperate sin against God. Tonight she told me if this goes on much longer she is going to kill herself. She’s hardly seen anyone for four weeks and she won’t be the only one. I have an ex-girlfriend from forty odd years back, still a good mate, who has always liked a drink (showbiz) but when I spoke to her on the phone two days ago she thought was slowly killing herself through alcohol as she starts drinking at 2pm these days since having to stop working. She is in despair, stuck in a first floor flat with no access to a garden and has spoken to no-one in the flesh for three weeks. Her alcohol intake will spiral down into alcoholism (I know her) which could lead to premature death. I don’t believe the figures but taking Geraldine’s point above, if I hated my job and got 80% of my wage by staying at home and doing nothing, hey, no brainer, I’d support the lock down. If you want to control people you scare them and if you can convince them it’s for their own good they will comply. I am firmly in the camp of people like Peter Hitchens and believe this lockdown is going to cause more physical, emotional and mental damage than Covid-19.

Geraldine
Geraldine
4 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Baldwin

Geraldine here – I do hope your Mum and friend are ok.

Willow
Willow
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Leach

This is mentioned in this Guardian article. You could probably track down the transcript of the Q&A
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/apr/06/police-absences-may-lead-to-rise-in-suicides-mps-told

John A. A. Logan
John A. A. Logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Leach

British teen dies after suicide attempt due to coronavirus fears –
‘Days before she was found on March 18, Owen warned relatives she was unable to deal with “her world closing in, plans being canceled and being stuck inside” during the global pandemic, according to the report.’
https://nypost.com/2020/03/25/british-teen-dies-after-suicide-attempt-due-to-coronavirus-fears/

Rick
Rick
1 month ago

Recent surveys suggesting 90%+ support is a factor of the question posed + narrative constructed by media reports etc. If, for example, an analysis was done to estimate deaths caused by the policy (a recent story by Fraser Nelson suggested a figure of 150,000) rather than the virus and this was widely discussed and reported, then a survey question that reflected the real position may well illicit a different answer.

Too many, good ordinary folks are (IMO) scared witless without due cause so support the current policy. They have not yet paused to consider the policy implications or that they are a part of a massive health and social experiment. There is no control group (Sweden perhaps) to measure the effectiveness of the policy and without a control group any result, positive or negative, is no where close to proving causality of that outcome.

Cbird
Cbird
1 month ago
Reply to  Rick

Just interested, has anyone here been questioned for one of these polls? I’m not suggesting they aren’t legit, but just wondering where they get their respondents. I recently joined YouGov purely out of frustration because it seemed to be the only way to get your voice heard by the government.

Bcritical
Bcritical
1 month ago
Reply to  Cbird

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/policy-institute/assets/coronavirus-in-the-uk.pdf

It says the study had 2,250 participants between the ages of 18-75. I looked through it and it doesn’t give more detail about the demographics so no idea about who they were or where they were found, which would be an important factor. I’m not a statistician but 2,250 seems a very small sample size to use and then determine the mood of the entire UK.

I’m on YouGov and haven’t received anything recently.

Cbird
Cbird
1 month ago
Reply to  Bcritical

Me neither. sometimes there are a few daily questions on coronavirus and/or the lockdown. But mostly questions about food, celebrities, books, etc

Anon
Anon
12 days ago
Reply to  Bcritical

The sample size is sufficient in this case for a representative set of results – it’s a bit higher than many political polls we see. The statistical significance might start to wobble if you’re looking at specific populations within the sample e.g. 16-24’s, but is otherwise fine.

I see Ipsos Mori conducted this as an online survey but not sure how they get their respondents (unlike YouGov which tends to be people seeking out surveys which can taint the data).

diego22
diego22
1 month ago

See the strength of support next week when the furlough payments fail to materialise and the loan foul-ups at the banks propel thousands of firms into bankruptcy. For myself, a staunch Conservative, I shall not vote Conservative again and internment without charge will never be forgotten.

Ethelred the Unready
Ethelred the Unready
1 month ago

I have a strong feeling that those who most vigorously support the current lockdown and indeed call for more stringent measures to be introduced may be most likely to be those same individuals who fought hardest to ‘remain’ and/or, those most insistent that we are in the midst of a ‘Climate Emergency’. All forms of fear and mass hysteria appear to nudge an individual in a leftwards direction.

Steve Austin
Steve Austin
1 month ago

The lockdown is ‘supported’ simply because a majority of people only follow (and believe) the hysterical output of the BBC and other MSM outlets.

InformednotAfraid
InformednotAfraid
22 days ago
Reply to  Steve Austin

Agreed, Steve. I’m not an expert but I remember my biology lessons: viruses spread through the populace and peter out when they’ve run their course. Yes, this is a horrible strain and I offer my condolences to those who have lost loved ones. But I have faith in my immune system and I refuse to let the fear mongering stop me living my life. Sadly in my area people are being quite hostile towards anyone who isn’t doing things their way. It would be helpful if the fearful could drag themselves away from mainstream media and remind themselves that they have immune systems too and they’re not all going to collapse and die in the street.

OpenYourEyes
OpenYourEyes
20 days ago

Surely there is a massive confirmation bias in these surveys as those who support the lockdown are more likely to be participating. Would a face 2 face survey (socially distanced) survey be permissible, I think you’d find a very different result if those were the terms.

Jill5
Jill5
14 days ago

It’s all in the name isn’t it. With swine flu everyone said “it’s just another flu, no fuss”. But coronavirus is, to most of the public, a brand new word, even though about 10% of common colds are spread by other coronaviruses. If only instead of covid-19 we’d called this “bat flu” (despite it not actually being an influenza strain), much less panic I imagine. From now on all pandemics, whether flu like or not, must be called “X flu” lest they become PanicDemics.

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