Machiavelli in the mirror

Fourteen hundred words to tell us Douglas Ross is a fool. Which surely most of us had already noticed. We might wonder how such an obvious bungler manages to attain even the very minor prominence of being leader-like-thing of the British Conservative and Unionist Party in Scotland (BCUPS). I think I may know the answer to that puzzle.

If we assume Douglas Ross has not risen to the dizzying heights he has because he’s a fool – which is not as far beyond the bounds of possibility as you might imagine – then what is the personal quality which ideally suits him to the role of ‘Scottish’ Tory top boy? I would suggest self-awareness is the key. Or rather, lack of same. It appears to be a truism of British politics that poverty of political acumen can be compensated for by an at least equivalent dearth of self-consciousness. It doesn’t matter that you lack the wits of common building materials if you also lack any capacity for embarrassment regarding your own stupidity.

Politicians who reach moderately senior positions – or who must be made to suppose their position is senior – are generally surrounded by people whose livelihoods depend on convincing their charge that he or she is doing a bang-up job. That their every public appearance is a triumph. That their every utterance is the essence of apt profundity. That they’re a star outshining all others in the vicinity if not the firmament in its entirety. Obviously, the more easily their pet politician is persuaded of his or her wonderfulness the less hard these aides and advisers and minders must work. Douglas Ross must be their dream assignment.

Andrew Tickell devotes 1400 words to the mystery of how Douglas Ross might hope to justify the vacillating contortions of his publicly declared verdict(s) on his boss to that same public when the fact is that this is not even remotely a consideration. Douglas Ross is the worst kind of fool to hold public office or occupy any position involving significant responsibility. A fool who is easily persuaded of his own immaculate genius by a sycophantic entourage

The person Douglas Ross admires when he looks in the mirror bears not the smallest resemblance to the blabbering buffoon the rest of us see.

Which prompts an idle thought. What would the world be like if all our political leaders lived up to their own self-image?



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2 thoughts on “Machiavelli in the mirror

  1. Thats the conundrum. Politicians and ‘celebrities’ require similar ‘skill sets’. An image, a set of stock phrases, absolute unflappable confidence. Play the game or get off the field. To the critical, politics is inanity bingo. The career of one J Savile was a macabre microcosm of celebrity. Andrew Neil blames the public of course (because thats what tories do). I dont. Its collective human nature to respond to dog whistles – even if you do have doubts the risk of ostracism is a strong incentive to pretend you dont. And newspaper columnists need to regularly come up with something to get paid, even though I’m sure the more reflective ones suffer regular writer’s block and self-doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

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