It is quite wrong to describe New Labour as building a '"nanny state" in Britain. What it is doing is step-by-step constructing an "authoritarian bureaucratic state" - suggesting otherwise is a huge insult to nannies.
The nanny is overprotective but cares for her charge. Nothing about the recently established and Orwellian-named Independent Safeguarding Authority (requiring the licensing of all those who have contact with children on a voluntary as well as professional basis) is primarily, intended for the benefit of children.
This intrusive and oppressive law seems to have originated in New Labour's on-going attempt to data-base the whole population (invariably they use paedophilia and terrorism as pretexts). Though in fact overwhelmingly unpopular, this new legislation probably also grew out of a miscalculated attempt to gain a propaganda advantage by being seen to be 'doing something’ for children.
One immediate effect of this law is to treat all adults as potential abusers until they hold a piece of paper issued by the state.
Most people unacquainted with British law are surprised to learn that a stranger can walk past a child drowning in a few centimetres of water, do nothing to help but face no criminal sanction. The retort of the average English lawyer is, 'Ah, yes, but that's only theory, it would hardly happen in practice.' The result of the requirement to have legal clearance before one has contact with children undermines trust and confidence between people and promote a 'I-don't-want-to-get-involved' society. Perhaps soon the children drowning scenario won't be quite so theoretical.