Saturday 30 March 2019


Humility is an unfashionable virtue these days. Narcissism, along with the Peter Pan or Puer Aeternus syndrome, in other words the inability of boys to become men, are the big psychological problems of our era. 

The narcissism of Barack Obama and Donald Trump is obvious. That of the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, outstandingly so. He is Mr Toad. But the narcissist who most shocks me is King William of the Netherlands who recently took the throne and announced that he did not want to be William V as 
'I am not a number.'
Diana, Princess of Wales was of course a narcissist and possibly a malignant one, though the diagnosis Borderline fits her better. Prince Harry, when he complains that no-one in the royal family wants to be in the royal family, sounds a little bit like his mother's son though on the whole he is a very nice young man who has married into American liberalism. We shall see how that works out. 

Diana resembled King Edward VIII, the Queen's wicked uncle and the previous member of the royal family who wanted to modernise the monarchy. The Queen and her father King George VI remind me of the old men in Betjeman's poem on the death of King George V.
Old men who never cheated, never doubted,
Communicated monthly, sit and stare
At the new suburb stretched beyond the runway
Where a young man lands hatless from the air.
In the narcissistic camp we can also put Tony Blair, but not Boris Johnson who laughs at himself. I suppose, talentless and duplicitous though she is, Theresa May belongs in the second, 'slave of duty', camp as does the DUP and a lot of old-fashioned media-unfriendly politicians like Sir Christopher Chope, Sir Edward Leigh and Frank Field. I think Michael Gove probably belongs here too, though some people I know who know him disagree.

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