Do you think your personal values should impinge on your public life? The whole debate about personal and public values has been under discussion again after Boris Johnson announced his engagement and news of a new child. Boris Johnson’s ex-wife Marina Wheeler ‘is crushed’ and their four children ‘furious’ that he has become engaged to girlfriend Carrie Symonds. Of course people did note that the news was announced on the day Priti Patel Secretary of State for the Home Department had been accused of bullying and inappropriate behaviour at work. Life is complicated. If we feel uneasy about something perhaps our moral compass is kicking in and we should pay attention to it. People who I heard on the radio said our personal life is our business and people shouldn’t be judgemental. It is nobody else’s business. Ironically he was being judgemental about people he thought were being judgemental.

Our values whatever they are do have a cost either on ourselves or on other people. I make a choice about anything and there is a cost. Now is Lent and as a Christian I try and give something up. There is a sacrifice of something I enjoy. The cost is feeling deprived of a pleasure.

Anyway back to personal values and public ones. Can we be two different people? Is it right that people can do a job and if they do it well it doesn’t matter what they believe or do in their private lives? I think it does. However what seems to be happening in society is a withdrawal from the ‘public’ arena to a private one. This makes it difficult I think for us to have public debate about ethics and values. At NIBE we try and encourage this debate.The behaviour of Boris Johnson makes me feel uneasy and people who say what he does in his private life is none of my business I disagree.

Are there accepted values in both private and public life then? For example I suppose we say we would not lie in either but I bet there are some people who say it’s OK to lie if for their good. I think what I’m trying to say is I think saying what do we in private life is nobody else’s business is rubbish! For a start what is difference between private life and public life? Is there a set of values for one and not the other? From what people are starting to say is that there are no common shared or accepted values anymore. If I think there is I should keep them to myself and not bother anyone else with them.

This doesn’t seem right to me perhaps it does to you! I read an article which said: ‘One must have the wisdom and ingenuity to strike a balance. While public and private relationships are to be seen differently, one should not see them under water tight compartments. We must understand how they affect each other and how one can be used to enrich the other. We must also realize that certain fundamental values are to be commonly shown both in public as well as private relationships. It will be helpful if we see the ethics of public and private relationships in a continuum rather than water tight compartments’. What do you think?