Are there still warm-blooded mammals leading the younger political parties?


‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity ( love) I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.’

  1st Corinthians chapter 13 verse 1

Suggested by fellow atheist Graham MacClure

I’m on thin ice here but I’m a free-blogger so I’ll write it if I suspect it might be true. I’m going to argue that lizard-brained psychopaths rise to the top in all organisations, attracted by power and wealth, unconstrained by any fear of treading on others. I’m certainly not suggesting that all or even the majority of politicians are certifiable as non-violent psychopaths or sociopaths, but I am suggesting than politics is a domain in which possession of a few psychopathic traits can be advantageous in enabling a rise to the top. Here are the dominant traits of a non-violent psychopath or sociopath, from the most widely used, Hare, checklist:

  • glib and superficial charm
  • grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
  • need for stimulation
  • pathological lying
  • cunning and manipulativeness
  • lack of remorse or guilt
  • shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
  • callousness and lack of empathy
  • parasitic lifestyle
  • poor behavioral controls
  • sexual promiscuity
  • early behavior problems
  • lack of realistic long-term goals
  • impulsivity
  • irresponsibility
  • failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • many short-term marital relationships
  • juvenile delinquency
  • revocation of conditional release
  • criminal versatility

Do you recognise these traits in clusters among any of the Labour and Conservative politicians in the news recently? One bulky haystack on a bike comes to mind at first but given time I could name dozens. Is there evidence that politicians, as a group, are more likely to have these traits? See this from a report on research into the topic:

‘Yes, politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths. I think you would find no expert in the field of sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would dispute this… That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow — but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one.’

I’m also going to argue that it takes time for the cold ones to take over completely. In the case of the Labour Party, it took 90 years to get from Keir Hardie to Tony Blair. Not surprisingly in the inherently nastier ‘pragmatic’ Conservative party, psychopaths were probably at the wheel from the beginning. However, is it possible that in the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, psychopaths at the top will be rarer because, until fairly recently, the possibility of access to meaningful power was not really there to attract them. As a consequence, those with sufficient experience to hold power now, will have entered these parties motivated more by genuinely held values and by more collectivist than selfish drives.

Here’s a wee game to see if we can agree on identifying politicians who show psychopathic traits. Look at these nine pictures and note which you think have noticeably psychopathic traits:

Answers provided for TuS, by Professor Johann Von Robertswinkelstein, Head of Psychology at the University of Bratwurst in Bad Meinstadt, are given if you scroll down. Remember to look for shameless liars and cheats who remain cool even when they have to listen to other fibbers.

1. Boris_Johnson_FCA 2. 220px-Official_portrait_of_Dominic_Raab_crop_2 3. blair

4.  220px-Official_portrait_of_Michael_Gove_crop_2 5. kezia 6. 220px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop

7. nicolababy 8. swinney

9. Jim Murphy Scottish Labour Party leader

I am of course not suggesting that any of these people are certifiable psychopaths just that some people might think they have some of the traits.

Finally, here are links to stories about politicians which might suggest psychopathic traits.

Hillary Clinton “We Came, We Saw, He Died” (Gaddafi) – YouTube

Andy Kerr asks Labour delegate ‘did you cross yourself …

How Boris Johnson’s betrayal will finally bring him crashing down to …

Brexiteers blame Michael Gove for leading ‘betrayal’ of the referendum …

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy defends Irn-Bru expenses …

I am of course not suggesting that any of these people are psychopaths just that some people might think they have some of the traits.

Scroll down for the ‘answer’ to the test.












Professor Johann Von Robertswinkelstein’s answers: 1 to 4 and 6 may well be psychopaths while 7 and 8 are clearly lovely people. Nine is too scary to discuss so you decide. I’m not saying. As for five, she is not a psychopath, but her smile is very anxious and I suspect she has suffered by trying to impress psychopaths around her. What organisation does she work for? Is the culture psychopathic?




15 thoughts on “Are there still warm-blooded mammals leading the younger political parties?

  1. Brenda Robb October 26, 2018 / 7:13 am

    Love this photo, aren’t we lucky!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. William Henderson October 26, 2018 / 9:11 am

    Guten Morgen, Herr Doktor-Professor,

    Your article has provoked an oblique thought in my remaining brain cell.

    It occurs to me that our present system of dividing political life and discourse into ‘parties’ may provide a ladder by which people of socio/psychopathic tendencies may climb stealthily to positions of influence and power. Joining one is really just a matter of applying and paying the appropriate fees. Once inside the system it is then possible for such a person, by clever manipulation of others, to rise to a position of eminence. From there it is but a step to nomination as a candidate for election to the seat of power, parliament (or perhaps, for a start, the local council).

    Under the d’Hondt system of proportional representation used in Scottish Parliamentary elections, it is not even necessary to have to stand for popular election, so the question arises – How might society protect itself from domination by socio/psycopaths?

    The old Scandinavian system of “Things” (the precursor of our present parliaments) ,for deciding matters of common interest, had ways of dealing with such matters, but these would not be considered PC in the 21st century

    Liked by 1 person

      • William Henderson October 26, 2018 / 2:25 pm

        OK. The kindest one was being thrown down a well. The others, if mentioned here, might attract the attention of the authorities. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. gavin October 26, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    Did there not used to be a TV show, where Lizards with human masks on, ruled over us?

    The show was taken off air quickly—-Lizard censorship in action?

    But a clue—the Lizards had forked tongues!

    So watch out for politico’s who don’t show their tongues by laughing, or licking their lips (Lizard lips are also naturally dry)!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Contrary October 26, 2018 / 6:55 pm

    Yes, what was that tv show where lizards were taking over the world?

    Interesting considerations re sociopath/psychopaths. Did you see that documentary a while ago where the bloke investigating the brains of diagnosed psychopaths, to see differences in functionality from normal, actually found he himself had the same brain functions, then had his wife and other family members interviewed – who gave anecdotal evidence that he did indeed have a serious emotional disconnect. Fascinating.

    I wrote down recommended books this morning – maybe that’s what you saw yourself Herr Professori? – from Twitter stuff , ‘Psychopathic Cultures & Toxic Empires’ by Will Black, and ‘Psychopath Test’ by Jon Ronson – thought they looked interesting.

    I think, perhaps, I might be being influenced by the nature of the photographs in the above test. Number 9, for instance,,, an obvious sociopath, perhaps even in league with the devil, and provoking imaginings of Witchfinder General themes.

    My answers are:
    1. Self-righteous Sociopath (20/20 on the behaviours list)
    2. Brain-dead Sociopath (20/20)
    3. Evil Sociopath (20/20)
    4. Cretinous Self-Serving Manipulative Sociopath (20/20)
    5. Trying Too Hard To Fit In With All The Other Sociopaths (6/20)
    6. Ignorant Sociopath (20/20)
    7. Proving you don’t have to be a sociopath to work in politics, but has expressed some strange admiration for sociopaths. (0/20)
    8. I believe John is a genuinely lovely, caring person. (-20/20)
    9. Witchfinder General Sociopath. ((20×2)/20)

    I have no evidence any of these people tortured baby fluffy animals as children, which is my criterion for defining a psychopath, though I can imagine that Boris J would have found such antics a wheeze.


    • johnrobertson834 October 27, 2018 / 6:37 am

      Excellent paper – A++. That photo of N.7 has resulted in me forgiving her puzzling naivety re Ms Clinton and the Cambodia Bomber.


  5. Contrary October 26, 2018 / 7:08 pm

    I get rather frustrated by the political system. Why, for instance, do so few of the politicians have the skills for the job? Why aren’t politicians chosen for ministerial positions that suit their skills? Why don’t we have separate positions for government, that require a whole set of other skills, separate from constituency positions? Why do we have the party system, and so few parties, that only allow such a narrow set of policies? Why aren’t politicians vetted, interviewed and presented to us with a cv outlining their abilities and credo?

    Why are 80% of politicians only in the job for greed, personal gain, and power? And why do they have such an inflated sense of self worth?

    And what makes politicians believe hypocrisy is just a way of life?

    Yes, I estimate 80% are sociopaths, and the system has made it the norm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 October 27, 2018 / 6:40 am

      Why? Because psychopathy has developed as adaptive especially when combined with reasonable intelligence and communication skills. Only strict rule-based meritocratic systems can reduce their success. 1945 – 1979 a period of at least reduced opportunity for them. Then Reagan and Thatcher began the restoration.


  6. Graham MacLure October 26, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    Even as a devout aetheist and driven by cold logic from an engineering background looking at the first photo of Nicola in,what I assume to be an unguarded moment, 1st Corinthians chapter 13 verse 1 instantly sprang to mind,
    “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,and have not charity ( love) I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal”
    I believe in that photo Nicola shows the love that drives her.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. annraynet October 28, 2018 / 11:17 pm

    I agreed with ‘Contrary’ about politicians lacking the skills for the job. In particular, I believe many if them have a degree in Politics, Ohilosohy and Economics but I do not know what is taught during that course as most if them have not got a clue about economics.
    In some ways the best qualification may well be to have earned a living in a real job, being a political researcher could not count, for say five years or so. Perhaps we could allow credit also for voluntary work, such as helping at a food bank or giving free advice at a law centre. I would not allow being a football referee.


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