That we have now fully embarked on a phase of politics masquerading as science may be harder to spot. Nothing demonstrates it better than the Dominic Cummings story. I’m not really interested here in the rights or wrongs of what he did with respect to the 'rules'. The point is that if lockdown and social distancing actually have any effect at all on the virus, it is difficult to see how driving to a different, empty house could realistically spread it. Social distancing and lockdown are supposed to be the measures 'protecting' us from the virus. So if you move to another location in a socially distanced manner – in the bubble of your car for instance – and lock down once there, how can you have significantly contributed to viral spread?
After this experience, I no longer believe that the institutions of our society are capable of ‘following the science’, and that fills me with foreboding. If science can be hijacked to fuel mass hysteria once, maybe it could easily enough happen again. How can we prevent this? What changes can be made to the interface between science and politics to facilitate proportionate decision-making? How should the evidence and the decision-making be reported to the public?