One of the least welcome impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a rebalancing of the powers and rights of the individual relative to the state in favour of the latter.

Worse still large numbers of us seem to welcome this shift when we absolutely should not.

Time and time again countries which allow the dynamism and initiative of individual citizens to create wealth for their society do better than those which plan from the centre and have committees, task forces and initiatives.

Of course there is a key role for the state in any modern economy but the results tend to be spectacularly bad when it puts its hands on the detailed levers of industry– think CalMac ferries and Prestwick Airport as examples.

At times of crisis the state takes a great leap forward in terms of intrusion in our lives and we let it do so because it has the scale and the resources to deal with the pressing issue at hand.

We have largely acquiesced as the Government has told us who we can be with, what we must wear, how we work and where we can go. The politicians even think that they and not us should decide when we hug our relatives and friends.

The state has interfered a great deal during the pandemic and for businesses sometimes in such a confusing and disjointed way that it has made no sense at all. Real businesses have failed and jobs lost as a result. Others have muddled through partly through luck and partly through applying common sense to unworkable rules.

Keen to keep and use the extra power they now have our political servants are moving on to new agendas such as “Build Back Better”, “Green Growth” and “Reshaping our economy”.

In general these are just woke slogans but they provide a platform for Government to keep telling us what to do. They create more jobs for the regulators and the box-tickers rather than the do-ers and the innovators.

The new agendas set the scene for higher taxes, less efficiency and lower growth.

What is needed is for the Government to be progressively pushed back into its proper and smaller box.

The first thing we must accept is that the Government cannot keep everybody safe from Covid-19. The vaccine program is a wonder of scientific endeavour , UK procurement skill and on the ground delivery – but a vaccine cannot protect you if you refuse to have it and the latest Indian variant is cruelly exposing that fact.

People need to take personal responsibility and not rely on restrictions on the lives of every citizen to keep themselves and their families safe.

Government and media need to stop frightening us with case numbers – in a post-vaccine environment the relevance of that statistic when constraining our freedom is highly questionable.

The state needs to provide the opportunity to be vaccinated to the whole population as quickly as possible but then the restrictions on our daily lives should go entirely.

In terms of the economy what is needed is for trucks to get back on the road, hospitality to be full, people to go back to their offices.

We need vigorous growth so that the economy recovers as quickly as possible, enabling it to provide the money for the public services we want and pay down the debt we now have.

We don’t need the state to direct and manage that growth, it should be left to the initiative of citizens making choices about what is best for them, their businesses and their families.

Politicians do best when they lead rather than manage.

We need our freedom back.

Guy Stenhouse is a Scottish financial sector veteran who wrote formerly as Pinstripe