Wednesday, 6 April 2011

London School of Economics - David Owen in Sickness and in Power

Okay this is an odd one.  It is a podcast of a lecture given by David Owen at the London School of Economics promoting a book he had written.  The book sounds dreadful and I have no intention of reading it.   It is about whether psychology can spot when political leaders have lost the plot and think they are God.  Yawn.   I am also not recommending David Owen as a politician either.  I imagine that there are plenty of people living in Britain who have never heard of him, and despite him being the Foreign Secretary for a couple of years during the seventies I don't suppose more than a handful of people outside the UK have the faintest idea who he is.  If you are wondering, he briefly led a breakaway party from the Labour Party.

Most political careers tend to alienate more and more people as they progress.  David Owen's took this to remarkable extremes.  By the time he had finished being active in politics there wasn't a seat in the country he had a chance of winning or a party left, right or centre that would have him as a member.   This was an unsuccessful politician on an epic scale.

And that is what makes this lecture so interesting.  He is a compelling speaker and you do feel the the need to carry on listening.  Does he say anything interesting about the subject?  No.  Do you get an insight into his character?  Yes in spades.  You end up feeling quite sympathetic for him.   He's a man with a huge amount of ability but no clue about himself.  Have a listen and you'll see what I mean. You'll also understand why he never made it, nor was he ever likely to.

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