Since the enlightenment and the end of christendom, our western/anglo culture has been and is fundamentally built on the sovereignty of the individual. English speaking governments tell you what you can't do, not what you can. We don't judge people by their relatives or as part of a collective. We don't tolerate strongmen and dictators. All of our morality and all of our art and culture doesn't stem from christian thought, it stems from our individual-first morality.
Maybe other cultures who are more communal and more accepting of being told what to do are, ultimately, better. Maybe China and Japan will thrive long after we disappear into the dirt. But there are very, very good reasons to not want our culture to be like either of those countries - I cannot think of a single (pre-covid) face-covering country that I'd want to live in. Even Japan, while not an authoritarian hellhole like China or Iran, is a fundamentally lonely and isolating society where a great many of the young famously don't mingle, don't love and don't breed.
The timing of the masks, after deaths and hospitalisations had vanished; and the rhetoric, comparing them to seatbelts, show us that this is not a temporary measure. I'd love to be wrong - I'd buy a mask and start wearing it this afternoon if Boris gave an end-date or an achievable win-condition upon achievement of which masks will be discarded. But this seems to me a permanent cultural change, being smuggled in under the guise of an emergency measure, using people's fear, paranoia and rapidly growing misanthropy to rapidly normalise this in the culture. We have a right to question and resist major changes to the fundamentals of our culture. We'll lose, we've already lost. But the "don't question it, just play along" mindset couldn't be more out of place here.