Discover more from Melanie Phillips
Political rule-breakers in the moral maze
Is pragmatism or principle most important in our leaders?
On this week’s BBC Moral Maze, we discussed whether expectations of our politicians are unrealistic and unfair, or whether their behaviour falls far short of the standards they should uphold.
Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, is currently under pressure to resign over accusations that his officials held “parties” in 10 Downing Street where they were all working, in apparent defiance of the Covid rules against mixing with others during that period.
People are furious and upset that, while they were often having to endure painful separations from loved ones as a result of those Covid restrictions, there seems to have been one set of rules for them and another set for the people who made those rules. The charge against Boris Johnson is not so much that he broke the law as that he crossed a moral boundary.
But is that moral boundary clearly defined or is it grey and fuzzy? Is it more important to have a leader who delivers actual results rather than have a PM who might be a useless paragon of virtue? Is it hypocritical to expect political leaders to stick to the rules when so many of the public are themselves breaking them?
My fellow panellists were Anne McElvoy, Mona Siddiqui and Matthew Taylor. Our witnesses were former Conservative MP Edwina Currie, anthropologist Dr Oliver Scott Curry, political theorist Dr Stephen de Vijze and philosophy professor Quassim Cassam.
If you can access BBC iPlayer, you can listen to the programme here.
My most recent exclusive post for my premium subscribers is about the crisis of scientific integrity. This is how the piece begins:
And you can read my most recent post that’s available to everyone, on the real lesson of the Texas synagogue attack, by clicking here.
One more thing…
This is how my website works.
It has two subscription levels: my free service and the premium service.
Anyone can sign up to the free service on this website. You can of course unsubscribe at any time by clicking “unsubscribe” at the foot of each email.
Everyone on the free list will receive the full text of pieces I write for outlets such as the Jewish News Syndicate and the Jewish Chronicle, as well as other posts and links to my broadcasting work.
But why not subscribe to my premium service? For that you’ll also receive pieces that I write specially for my premium subscribers. Those articles will not be published elsewhere. They’ll arrive in your inbox as soon as I have written them.
There is a monthly fee of $6.99 for the premium service, or $70 for an annual subscription. Although the fee is charged in US dollars, you can sign up with any credit card. Just click on the “subscribe now” button below to see the available options for subscribing either to the premium or the free service.
A note on subscriptions
If you purchase a subscription to my site, you will be authorising a payment to my company Dirah Associates. In the past, that is the name that may have appeared on your credit card statement. In future, though, the charge should appear instead as Melanie Phillips.
And thank you for following my work.