Officials Too Often Don’t Need No Stinking COVID Rules

COVID marshals walk on Eel Brook Common in Fulham, London, England, December 22, 2020. (Kevin Coombs/Reuters)

Regulators love to write rules and then try to abandon them when they’re inconvenient, whether it be over COVID-19 regulations (Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo) or budget rules (Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden). Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, a COVID rule–happy “wet” Conservative, resigned this past weekend after video footage was leaked showing him breaking social-distancing rules by passionately kissing one of his aides in his office.

This latest hypocritical behavior prompted a searing must-see video exchange between Sky News’s Trevor Phillips and Hancock’s Cabinet colleague Brandon Lewis.

“I wouldn’t normally do something like this, but I want to put a private, personal question to you,” Phillips began. “The pictures that we saw were of an encounter on May 6. On May 11, my family buried my daughter who had died, not of COVID, but during the lockdown. Three hundred of our family and friends turned up online, but most of them were not allowed to be at the graveside, even though it was in the open air, because of the rule of 30, because of the instruction by Mr. Hancock. Now the next time one of you tells me what to do in my private life, explain to me why I shouldn’t just tell you where to get off?”

Lewis then blubbered incoherently about the sacrifices people had made during COVID, but viewers clearly got the real lesson of the scandal — too many of the people who write pandemic rules don’t really believe in them, flout them, and then force less powerful people to obey them.

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