Saturday, September 05, 2009

Lone wolves and the herd instinct

When Tony Butler worked as a football radio presenter for BRMB, I heard him comment on the news media: "They hunt in packs." (His Black Country accent, part of his charm - there's a beautiful, musical suite of accents in the Dudley/Wolverhampton area - sounded the word as "hoont".)

It's true even now. British PM Gordon Brown is down, heir-presumptive David Cameron is up. We shall see what Balloon Head makes of the economy when he gets in.

The problem with Brown is that he is, in my (educationally experienced) opinion, mildly autistic. He's the kind that academically dumber, normal kids pick on and wonder why he doesn't fight back. He hasn't helped himself by aiming obsessively at a job which requires quite different skills, which the flashy Blair has in spades; but self-knowledge comes hard for ASD types. Star Trek fans will understand that Scotty could never take Captain Kirk's seat in the Starship Enterprise; but maybe he harboured ambition, all the same. Had Kirk made Scotty his deputy, it could have lit the touchpaper.

The autistic child senses his vulnerability, and will make compromises to be part of the flock. Desperate for acceptance and respect, Brown has paltered with the truth throughout his political career, as commentators on his time as Chancellor have often noted. The brawling pit of the House of Commons has never been the place to nurture an inner-directed, analytical man's integrity.

But the pack is blind, too. Unrestrained, the instinct to group-bully the outsiders, the different ones, would send the human race well back into the Stone Age. And then look at the ones they instinctively, collectively follow. How many years was it before the Press revealed what they must have known all along, that the overjoyed crowd that greeted Blair in Downing Street after the 1997 General Election, was a handpicked mob of Party members? I shall believe in journalistic independence when a new incumbent is promptly probed and criticised.

And what is the pack now saying about Afghanistan? Are they correct? Would it solve our problems to withdraw and concentrate on more achievable aspects of domestic security (some British Army regiments stationed by our ports, airfields and the Channel Tunnel might not go amiss); or would it be a sign of weakness, the crumbling that in ancient times not only ceded the provinces formerly under the Pax Romana, but at last saw Alaric's Visigoths rampage through Rome itself?


James Higham said...

The problem with Brown is that he is, in my (educationally experienced) opinion, mildly autistic.

You know, I just saw the vid at Harry Hook on him and you're right - that's possibly what he is - autistic.

Nick Drew said...

we had a crack at this several months ago after I came across some interesting clinical case-studies that seemed relevant

some quite good semi-technical arguments were offered that it's not autism (though the ASD spectrum is a wide one) & several other candidate disorders were advanced

as Matthew Parris chillingly remarked, whatever it is, he's been that way forever and the condition is stable !

Sackerson said...

Nick - how do you do that click-link thing in Blogger comments?

Looked (again) at your article. I don't agree that spectrum-autistic kids can't lie - I've just spent a year teaching one who is learning to, and calls it joking when caught.

Helpful Harry said...

Sacks: Google "Doing blogging links for Dummies" where you will find full and simple instructions.

Sackerson said...

Thanks, HH!

wildgoose said...

Speaking as the father of an autistic (Asperger's) child there is no way that Brown is autistic. If nothing else, he's far too unpleasant an individual with brooding vicious personal grudges and the like - which requires far too much social awareness of a personal "slight".

The best diagnosis I have heard is that of a narcissistic anti-social personality disorder. Now that he has in spades.