Thursday, 11 June 2009

MPs and madness

And now, for your entertainment, this item of news, for which thanks to Bishop Hill. Well, maybe you don’t find it amusing, but I find the story of Sir Gerald Kaufman and the grapefruit bowls so funny that I find it difficult to be angry at him for taking my money to buy a couple of nice pieces of Waterford Crystal.

Sir Gerald attributes his action to a mental disorder. It seems to me, that there are three aspects of his action. First, there is the fact that he had to have two grapefruit bowls. Then there is the fact that he felt that tax-payers should be obliged to buy these bowls for him. And third, there is the fact that the bowls had to be made of Waterford Crystal.

As there are three aspects to his action, are there three mental disorders at work? One which means that he has to have two bowls, one for himself and one for guests, one which means that he believes that the tax-payer should buy the bowls for him, and one that means that he requires to use a bowl made of Waterford Crystal?

Sir Gerald has a long (39 years) and distinguished career as an MP. And yet there are signs that the man suffers several mental disorders which cause him to think that certain things are reasonable, when most of us would think that they are actually rather unreasonable.

What are we to make of this? Two possible conclusions occur to me. One is that madness is endemic among politicians, and the less power that they have over the rest of us, the better. (In other words, let’s cut back the power of the state.)

The other conclusion that occurs to me is that prolonged service as an MP can cause madness. The obvious solution is that no-one should be permitted to be an MP for more than 10 years.


Phil Walker said...

I think kleptomania would have been a more credible reason.

Maire said...

I was thinking 5.