Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Devolution equals ego inflation


TWENTY-FIVE years into devolution, and the outcomes for health, education and the economy don’t so much scream success as whimper to be put out their misery.  But leave aside the big devolved political mess, and It’s not all bad.  Nicola, Alex, Humza, that Welsh guy and Sadiq Khan have been having quite the time, and now we can see what happens when devolved powers go to the head.  An exponential rise in ego is what happens. 

Let’s start in feisty Scotland, where egomania takes to the world stage. Raising Scotland’s profile by being all glamorous and world-leading is way more food for the ego than sorting out a nation’s tedious problems. Remember Nicola Sturgeon’s warnings to Donald Trump. Remember the post-Brexit trips around Europe, telling those government leaders that Scotland is on their team, setting up embassies like proper leaders. Remember Nicola taking on the English with mighty throwdowns to the UK Prime Minister. Now Humza Yousaf is ‘leading the world’ in how to handle a drug problem or ‘world-leading’ refugee responses to help out the Middle East.    

London mayor Sadiq Khan’s ego is less about the world stage as much as any stage. A man who never met a photographer for whom he wouldn’t pout, with a team of staff handling his image. His visual image. Where Nicola and Humza seem to be power-mad, they don’t seem vain. Sadiq seems to be led by vanity. Vogue fashion, watching Madonna from the front row, summits in New York City and photoshoots with pretty celebrities. A man who values looking good.  That’s not the man I want to be running my buses. Neither does he. 

Mark Drakeford is down in Wales where egomania is a heartfelt desire to leave a legacy. A man who wants a place in history. He’s doing it by reducing car deaths or pollution deaths by having everyone walk everywhere or go in pedal cars. A bit like lockdown, really. Solve a little problem by making a giant problem. And go on about saving lives as justification, and any one against is a killer.  Mark wants to be a superhero. Ah, Mark, he dreams they will say, he saved us all. His Welsh heart swells. 

So you throw a little power around and before you know it, ego inflation is rampant. Thank you, Tony Blair, you Frankenstein you.  Now your grandiose and pompous monsters are running around the world, attacking your UK government. A little power to sort out some things and what happens? Egos blow up and people get carried away with themselves.   

Put them on Celebrity Big Brother to feed their souls. We owe them that much. But someone please end this vanity project once and for all before someone gets hurt by an exploding head. 

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Gail MacDonald
Gail MacDonald
Gail MacDonald is a professional psychologist and writer. Views expressed here are her own.

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