Power Imbalance and Entitlement

It seems to me that again in the news we have an example of self-diagnosed patrician/plebian power imbalance and misuse of power. Reading between the lines Raab thinks that the plebs should suck up his “direct criticism” yet he himself cannot accept that he was perhaps overly assertive and throwing his weight about. If he is a karate black belt, he has not understood bushidō. He may dish out the “feedback” but he can’t hack it in return.

These entitled buffoons seem to think that the lowly plebs should not only lap up their omniscient “guidance” but also thank them and doff their caps for it.

“Thanks guvnor, I will hop to it as quick as… That is kind of you milord.”

This over assertion and “ordering” others about may be a legacy of serfdom or it could be a snowflake whingeing reaction, you take your pick. In my eyes Raab, is smug, pompous, and arrogant.

I have yet to meet a smug, pompous, and arrogant person who is sufficiently self-aware to know and accept that they are smug, pompous, and arrogant.

Such people feel entitled to inflict themselves on others.

I have joked elsewhere about what would happen if rich powerful professors were to interact with me a financially poor retired bumpkin. They might forget that I have not been a member of that elite club for nearly two decades….

They may lack the same self-awareness outlined above. The power imbalance may not even cross their enlightened minds.

Those that imagine themselves entitled to wield power and throw their weight about may be completely blind to the “power” imbalance and unable to see that they are not having like for like interactions. In their arrogance and ignorance, they might imagine that they have done nothing wrong, that it was thoroughly justified…

“It only it were not for those pesky plebs getting all uppity…grassing on me…

They won’t do what I say mummy…it is not fair…

I will have to resign because I pinkie promised.”

Don’t you love farce?

Don’t you love a farce? My fault, I fear
I thought that you’d want what I want, sorry my dear
But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns
Don’t bother they’re here…

Stephen Sondheim


If one reflects on the comings and goings at Westminster over the last 12 months it has been somewhat farcical. This is especially the case because some people have taken it so very seriously, they are so very important.

“There never were any parties. We obeyed all the rules. Honest guv. Pinkie swear.”

“I had a bit of slap and tickle with my aide/mistress and then went on I am a celeb, so people would like me. P.S. thanks for the £400k.”

“Let us give the rich and those {Jodrell} bankers a tax break while the nation starves waiting for the crumbs of caviar to trickle down from the high table…”

“Our brave air force will save us from ET and his UFOs.”

“Clap for carers but don’t give those greedy skiving bastards a pay rise. How dare they put us at risk after we managed the Covid fiasco so very well! All our chums got nice fat cat contracts for PPE.”

“Let us send all our jets to Ukraine…That is a good idea it will halt Russian aggression. {Sending combat aircraft is not a declaration of war in Boris’ mind.}”


On a number of occasions I was asked to do team development courses because the “plebs” were complaining and not doing as they were told. It was obvious to me that in at least one case the root cause was the ridiculous, ill-planned and  demanding behaviour of senior staff. They were expecting sudden animal trials at a drop of a hat, when the specially bred line of rats needed weeks of preparation and breeding. Unrealistic demands cannot be met. When I suggested in this case that the Cambridge academics needed training much more than those in the animal house, my wise words were pooh-poohed. Egos are fragile and self-diagnosed omniscience is pandemic.

“Not us we are perfect. It is they; they are not sufficiently flexible to anticipate our whims, telepathically. If only they were better life would be fine. They are the problem!!”

The problem is that when people are caught up in the script of a dramatic farce, they are wholly unaware that they are in fact enacting a farce. This is what makes a farce, so farcical and so funny, the seriousness and commitment to the {pre-written} scripts of the protagonists in the farce. They cannot see beyond the opening and closing doors, along the farcical corridors. They cannot hear the “Benny Hill” music which is an accompaniment.

With perfect comedic timing, they say their lines, deadpan and fully bought into said reality {farce}.

The madness of the dream…

Peer Group Policing

We have seen over the last few months the difficulty members of the Conservative party have in admitting wrongdoing within their own ranks. They excuse behaviour which were it manifest in the opposition party they would be arguing for sacking and/or resignations. But no not us, the butter does not melt in OUR mouths, there must be a toothless show inquiry made by people of a similar ilk to satisfy the plebs. This kind of within peer group policing is very unlikely to find fault and if it does it will excuse and accept explanations rather than prosecute. In the worst case scenario people will be put out to pasture for a couple of months and then brought back into the corrupt fold when sufficient time has been deemed past.

Peer group policing has failed time and time again in business where wrongdoing is rarely punished by peer group. Should a little “filly” complain of sexual harassment the chums gather together and draw the circle of wagons for the “US” club ready to repel the sole complainer Apache outside the club.

“The nasty little harridan how dare she spoil our fun. It was only a bit of banter. Has she no sense of humour? ”

This kind of within peer group ganging up against any outside complaint is rife across all levels of society. For example asking academics to judge misdemeanour by other academics is asking people to judge one of their own. The confirmation bias is likely to blind the “jury” who cannot accept any wrongdoing within their ranks as an a priori starting point. They would find it hard to condemn and seek every other avenue first.

Backslapping Tory chums do not see that their manner of business is a tad corrupt.

“This is how we do things old chap. Been doing it for centuries. There is precedent you know…”

If a peer group imagines that within peer group policing is effective and fair, they are deluded. At one level they know it is protectionist. No matter how hard they pitch otherwise.

I suspect that the preferred outcome in most peer group policing is to sweep things under the carpet perhaps with a showy pretend inquiry and hope everything calms down. {Thank God all that fuss has died down.}

Group mind is blind to the faults and shortcomings of the group.  It reinforces within the group the supposed acceptability of its norms and is highly defensive of said group norms. We, the group are right and righteous. They, he/she/it are wrong and the Devil incarnate.

We have people writing placards saying, “death to TERFs”, for example.

Does being a tranny turn you into an advocate for murder?

Group mind has a tendency to remain even more stuck, stubborn and entrenched than individual mind. It can foster extremism more readily than individual mind. The protection of the herd and its momentum can swing to extremes at pace.

Group mind is dangerous…

It can and does turn on individuals with speed and with ruthlessness. Rarely does it see that group against individual is bullying no matter how thoroughly it is justified around the campfire and with the jungle drums.



Have I ever been party to group mind turning on and “attacking” an individual?

Did I feel that we as a group were justified so to do?

Are You a Petty Tyrant?

If someone has less apparent mundane positional power than you how do you treat them?

I have come across people who if you give them the merest hint of positional power become right and utter jobsworths.  “Brünnhilde” the highly efficient departmental administrator in Bern, had many of my Swiss colleagues quaking in their boots. For some reason because I developed some banter with her, we got along well. She was not a jobsworth, she was a highly skilled and facilitating individual. People made shit up about her in their heads. She could have worked at servicing board level in a multi-national.

Here we are considered, at first pass, generic Brits, which means that we don’t understand the sophisticated French ways and are unable to communicate in French beyond a few grunts. When we were trying to get into the system, French administrators approached things in erroneous ways. There was not a blind dog’s chance that they would listen to us. We knew they were wrong. So, we had to let it play out and wait until the system said error. Then start all over.

Some people cannot help but enjoy lording it up over others, they like to inflict their temporal power wherever possible. Little people can feel bigger if they make someone else’s life miserable. They like to assert the rule book, chapter and verse.

There is a subspecies of petty tyrant, the petty tyrant gatekeeper. Unless you are of high rank, they will stop you having any access to their Lord and Master, or Lady Mistress. Because I have no power by association, I am unwelcome and repelled by such as these on many occasion. The gate is closed to the likes of me.

A petty tyrant likes to stick by the “rules” and use them as a stick to beat others with.

Now I have no mundane positional power so I get to see how poorly the “great and the good” treat the plebian outcasts.

I can put on my expensive leather jacket, my pointy hard healed leather shoes and don my Ray Bans.

I could thus suited and booted walk into somewhere with the air of “owning” the place. I know how to make people feel very uncomfortable. Luckily, I am an old fart now and not an adolescent dick head.


Do you inflict yourself on others?

Do you get off on applying what little “power over” you have?

Are you petty?

Are you something of a tyrant whenever the opportunity arises?