Monday, November 13, 2017

"Unfit for office"

A definition:
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which there is a long-term pattern of abnormal behaviour characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others' feelings. People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behaviour typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.
Boris Johnson seems to fit the bill nicely. It's all documented. A career launched by inventing lies about the European Union for the Daily Telegraph, regular dismissals for dissembling, a carefully cultivated persona, combined with ruthless ambition.

But his latest escapade suggests something more sinister. His comments about the imprisonment in Iran of the British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe certainly shocked me. He gave wrong information that has endangered her. It should be a resigning matter. One of the main duties of a Foreign Secretary is to protect British citizens abroad. He failed utterly. So far, so dreadful. But what is really troubling is the response.

He issued a semi apology, claiming his remarks were taken out of context (they weren't, they were clear and unambiguous). Then a phalanx of supporters was mobilised. They mounted three arguments:

1. The diversionary tactic. By concentrating on Johnson's remarks people are deflecting attention from the real culprits, the Iranian regime. This is nonsense. The criticisms of Johnson are about what he said and the possible consequences of his remarks, with their potential to make a dreadful situation worse. The nature of the regime makes his failure even more serious.

2. The charge of hypocrisy. After Corbyn called for Johnson's resignation, Johnson's pals chimed in by pointing out that Corbyn is a defender of the Iranian regime, speaks at Khomenist meetings, and has taken money from Press TV. All true, and one of the big reasons I dislike his leadership. But in this case, it's utterly irrelevant. Appeals to hypocrisy are a feeble argument. However wrong he has been on Iran in the past, he is right on this issue. And his past sympathy towards the regime gives his stance even more credibility.

3. Reversing the charge. This is where defending Johnson slides into attacking the victim. His allies, like Gove, don't say so directly, but by their equivocations they hint and suggested that maybe Johnson was right and the family of the woman are not telling the whole truth about her being on holiday.

It's this third one that bothers me most. It raises a question; when does narcissism cross the line into sociopathy? Where is their conscience? Where is their empathy for the victim of grotesque injustice? No, if it is a choice between their careers and the life of a young mother, then she is disposable. These politicians are disgusting human beings.

To conclude, listen to Zaghari-Ratcliffe's MP, Tulip Siddiq here. She's right.

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