Magazine article The Spectator

Status Anxiety: Is Keith Vaz a Psychopath?

Magazine article The Spectator

Status Anxiety: Is Keith Vaz a Psychopath?

Article excerpt

What's wrong with you?' That was the question an American broadcaster asked Anthony Weiner when his New York City mayoral campaign went up in flames in 2013. Weiner, the subject of a feature-length documentary released earlier this year, had just become embroiled in a second sex scandal, the first having derailed his political career in 2011. The extraordinary thing about the second scandal is that his efforts to rehabilitate himself as a public figure, helped by his wife's decision to stand by him, seemed to be working. He was topping the polls when the scandal broke, which demands the question: 'Why risk it all again?' You'd think his experience would have taught him a lesson, but apparently not. And since the documentary was made his aberrant behaviour has continued. Last month he was caught out for a third time and his wife, a prominent aide to Hillary Clinton, finally ditched him. So what is wrong with Weiner? And could it be the same thing that's wrong with Keith Vaz, the Labour MP for Leicester East who resigned as chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday after some scandalous revelations in the Sunday Mirror ?

Toby Young explains his theory about Keith Vaz:

Weiner's misdemeanour was fairly minor by British standards. He wasn't caught paying for sex or having an extramarital affair. All he's guilty of is sending pictures of his penis, and engaging in various forms of -telephone sex, with a series of attractive young women. In a sense, his faithfulness to his wife has been his downfall. Had he slept with a prostitute or had an affair, the evidence trail would have been less extensive and his chances of getting caught smaller. It's because he wanted the thrill of sexual contact without technically being unfaithful that his life now lies in ruins. In the American media, the consensus is that Weiner suffers from some form of narcissistic personality disorder, the most popular diagnosis being 'high functioning' or 'exhibitionist'. This subtype is interesting in that those suffering from it are often very successful. They combine an array of dysfunctional characteristics -- being grandiose, attention-seeking, overly competitive and overly highly sexed -- with some strengths -- such as being articulate, energetic, socially agile, and goal-oriented. …

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