I feel a grave disquiet about our interest in Boris Johnson’s personal life

I suppose part of it is just personal guilt and hypocrisy. I know many journalists whose private activities would not stand up to public scrutiny. We’ve all of us, in our trade, done things we’re ashamed of

The stories about Boris Johnson’s private life – and not just the latest ones – give me grave disquiet. My feelings of uneasiness, though, do not derive from what he might get up to, which I’m not much bothered about, but from the fact of their publication.

I see why news organisations, including my own, do the stories, because such things can be properly in the public interest. If someone comes along and wants to make life or death, peace or war, Remain or Leave decisions on our behalf, I suppose we ought to know what they’re actually like. If they’re not by nature trustworthy, it’s at least as well to know. As the old aphorism goes, a man who can cheat on his wife can cheat on his country.

Yet I feel uneasy.

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