The Rules - Expectations and Apologies

In spite of his apology the calls continue for the Prime Minister to resign. He did not follow his own rules so he must go, says a sizeable majority in the polls. But why must he go? Sympathy, understanding and forgiveness are all virtues to celebrate - unless we happen to be talking about people we don’t like. Most of those who broke the lockdown rules (maybe you, maybe me) got away with it. Some got a caution or a fine; very few lost their jobs.

The charge against Boris Johnson is not so much that he broke the law as that he crossed a moral boundary. So, what are the moral rules he is accused of breaking? And why isn’t his very public apology deemed by some to be not good enough?

Anthropology tells us that the basic rules of morality are universal. But sociologists say that cultural norms dictate how we’re expected to behave, and Britain is culturally diverse. Given that politics is almost by definition an interplay of pragmatism and integrity, perhaps we should learn to live with our politicians’ clay feet and look elsewhere for paragons of moral virtue? With former Conservative MP Edwina Currie, Anthropologist Dr Oliver Scott Curry, Political theorist Dr Stephen de Vijze and Philosophy professor Quassim Cassam.

Produced by Olive Clancy