The not so Great Britain is on the verge of a catastrophic leadership crisis as the Conservative Tory Party chooses a new prime minister.

Theresa May has vacated her office, having had little success in getting any resolution to the Brexit quandary with an exit deadline on the horizon and a parliament incapable of deciding anything.

Now the competition for the No 10 Downing St address is all on, with a range of Tory MPs pitching for the job.

The current front runner, based on support voiced by Tory MPs, is Boris Johnson. He provides a classic example of what is called the Dunning-Kruger Effect.


This is when a person believes they are brilliant at something when in fact they are not but cannot see that themselves.

Boris believes he is exactly the right person to be the new prime minister of the UK despite having made a hash of previous roles as mayor of London, MP, and Foreign Minister. He is not short on ego or ambition.

He has had his eye on the top job for a long time and thinks of himself as modern version of Winston Churchill.

His ego signals are those of a person who wants the prime ministerial power, who believes they are entitled to this high office but has no idea what he will actually do once in the role. As the adage goes – anyone who wants power that badly should never be allowed anywhere near it.

That he told numerous and various lies during the Brexit referendum campaign and has a poor relationship with the truth is irrelevant as far as he is concerned. He has complete confidence in his own belief in himself.

When challenged about lying he is not shaken or stirred. One suspects there may be a little bit of a James Bond complex mixed in with the Churchillian delusions.

This leads to the notion that anyone seeking power in politics should be measured up against the Hare checklist.

This lists a set of 20 traits that can be scored by a skilled clinician to provide some insight into where the person fits in terms of their behaviours and beliefs on the continuum of psychopathic tendencies.


These traits are listed as; glib and superficial charm /grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self /need for stimulation/ pathological lying / cunning and manipulativeness / lack of remorse or guilt/s hallow effect (superficial emotional responsiveness) / callousness and lack of empathy / parasitic lifestyle / poor behavioural controls.

Stopping at this point on the list provides a snapshot profile of many who go into politics. This is alarming, as often these traits are visible as they actively seek out positions that will give them power.

If the next eight items on the list score highly as well, there is even more reasons to worry. These are; sexual promiscuity / early behaviour problems / lack of realistic long-term goals / impulsively / irresponsibility / failure to accept responsibility for own actions / many short-term marital relationships.

The final three items cross another line into specific criminal behaviours; juvenile delinquency / revocation of conditional release / criminal versatility.

Applying the Hare psychopathy checklist to an individual is the realm of trained clinicians. But understanding the way these traits manifest in the behaviours of those who do seek power and the allure of high office to satisfy their own ego is one of the ways citizens can exercise caution and vote wisely.

Terry Sarten (aka Tel) is a writer, musician and social worker.