The defining moment in the “rules for thee but not for me” ethos of the ruling class during the COVID-19 pandemic may have come when Neil Ferguson, the epidemiologist behind Britain’s lockdown policy, met with his married girlfriend in defiance of the restrictions he promoted. Eager to threaten the common people with penalties if they failed to socially distance, he saw no reason to inconvenience himself the same way—although at least he conceded that propriety required him to resign his government post when the trysts were discovered in May.
“He has peculiarly breached his own guidelines, and for an intelligent man I find that very hard to believe,” marveled Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a prominent member of the ruling Conservative Party. “It risks undermining the Government’s lockdown message.”
Well, yes. But like all too many officials, Ferguson obviously never thought he’d be caught violating rules that he’d never intended be applied to himself. As we’ve since learned, Ferguson’s above-the-law attitude is common among those who feel entitled to write regulations and impose penalties on others for violating them.