Delusions of power

July 23, 2021 08:49
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Photo: Reuters

Whilst the world is anxiously working towards herd immunity, either by taking sensible precautions such as vaccines, masks and social distancing or casting caution to the winds and embracing the virus, those seeking ubiquitous immunity are clinging to power.

Empowerment is probably the most addictive drug. Just observe how almost every elected official abandons all human decency and sense of proportion as they stoop to unfathomable depths in the endeavour to hold on to their seat, like the Republicans who voted against an inquiry into the storming of the Capitol.

At the pinnacles of power, the megalomaniacs re-jig constitutions to give themselves a job for life.

The intensity of the obsession is usually evidenced by disposing of all potential rivals and constructing ever more grandiose palaces and gold-plated privies.

At the other end of the spectrum is the petty official, exercising the absolute power that comes with rule over access to a public lavatory, beach deck chairs or immigration queues.

They all share the same manic syndrome.

In a time of pandemic, it is at its most florid.

Small minded people manifest their social inadequacies through their behavioural didacticism.

A trait common to all of them is just how oblivious they are to the sorry figure they cut in the eyes of decent people, but that is also because they are insensible to criticism.

Recently, there have been several examples of just how dangerous this assumption of immunity can be.

Take Boris Johnson’s eminence grise, Dominic Cummings (please, anyone?), a man who virtually ran the British government, pulling the strings of a mendacious narcissist with a penchant for Billy Bunterisms who lacked an iota of leadership qualities.

Boris Bunter surrounded himself with similarly inadequate fugitives from Squelch’s classroom, creating a power vacuum that Cummings filled, quickly falling victim to the contagion of untouchability that invests flawed potentates.

What did it matter that the country was in lockdown, Dominant Dominic was not subject to the restrictions that governed ordinary people, who was going to challenge his right to a 50 mile jaunt?

Indicative of the strength of his conviction of inviolability, he explained that he was just test driving the car. It is the volcanic arrogance of thinking that everyone else will give a nano-second’s credibility to such bovine excrement.

Nonetheless it is a measure of their belief in their unaccountability.

Next in line was the sad-sack faced Health Minister Matt Hancock, who was caught on camera breaching his own social distancing rules in an office embrace. A fine example of the ‘one law for me and another law for the rest of you’ brigade.

Even then it took a few days before the final kiss-off, Boris the Bloop was still expressing full confidence in his humiliatingly hopeless choice.

If the British Army could clad its tanks with the same impenetrable armour plating that encases Cabinet Minister’s sensibilities, a great deal of money could be saved to good effect.

What of the home-grown Kevlar brained variety?

First off was the Director of National Security who was caught in an unlicensed establishment having his ego massaged. Doubtless he will be adopting a high moral tone in the exercise of his heavy responsibilities protecting the country from subversives.

Then came the HK$3,000 per head dinner attended by the Commissioner for Customs and Excise, the Director of Immigration and the Under Secretary for Security, together with 6 others including mainland officials, when the maximum number permitted to dine together was 4.

There was a time when top officials were banned from accepting lavish entertainment irrespective of the pandemic health regulations but, or so it seems, those at the top of the tree feel that they are immune. Only after a public outcry were they fined.

But the best was yet to come.

The ex-police officer, ex-Secretary for Security, current Chief Secretary sprang to their defence, pleading that they were all generously sacrificing valuable time with their families in order to carry out their inter-departmental duties. Could anyone with half a brain really believe that the public will swallow such garbage?

The one constant with all these people is their conviction in their inviolability because of the power they wield.

Even if, ultimately, they are held to account, the deep cause for concern is the attitude of mind that deludes them into believing that they are above the law.

One crumb of comfort supports us through the idiosyncracies of these petty tyrants, the old David and Goliath adage that “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

-- Contact us at [email protected]

Queen's Counsel