Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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A big news item in the UK this week has been that Lord Sewel, upholder of standards in the House of Lords, has been filmed snorting cocaine through a five pound note from the body of a naked prostitute. Allegedly.
It is difficult to understand what might have been going on in Lord Sewel’s mind but I suspect that part of it was about compartmentalisation. I work a lot with couples where there has been an affair and it is often the case that for the cheating partner there seems to be no connection between their life at home and their life in the affair. It is almost as if there are two – or more – different selves involved in the two relationships, that the two things do not join up.
Why is this? I suspect that it is something learnt in childhood. As kids, we tend to experiment. Life is interesting. I remember, around the age of seven, I’d guess, wondering how long it would take a wash basin to fill up if I put the plug in and left the tap dripping. Of course, having set up the experiment, I then forgot about it as there were more interesting things to do than to watch a tap dripping. Some time later, I found out how long it took before the wash basin overflowed and water started coming through the ceiling. And the consequences of that.
If, as children, our natural desire to stretch boundaries and explore is forbidden by our parents, some of us stop exploring, but others will explore in secret. And so we can behave in one way at home, and in a completely different way when with our friends. We can develop the idea that different rules of conduct apply in different situations, and that these situations don’t really connect – they are separate from each other. The different worlds don’t meet, they don’t impact on each other. They are separate (watertight) compartments.
Of course, on some level, we know that we are being naughty – that our parents would disapprove, or be upset, or punish us, if they found out. And for many people that is enough to discourage our naughtiness, or set boundaries around it. But for some people – and I conjecture that Lord Sewel is one of these people – we believe we will never be found out, or we don’t care whether we are or not.
Acts of naughtiness can be thrilling – we can feel high (even without allegedly snorting cocaine through a five pound note from the body of naked prostitute). And that’s nice – to feel big, to feel great about ourselves. And I suspect that for Lord Sewel the irony of the situation added to the high he experienced. The enormity of the deception is fantastic. On the one hand, he holds a position carrying immense responsibility and on the other… LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!!
And I wonder if Lord Sewel is enjoying being on the front pages of the newspapers? I wonder if he is (secretly, on one of his compartments) revelling in the publicity? I wonder if he is looking forward to the visit to the headmaster’s study? Let the authorities do their worst…they can’t hurt me. Here perhaps is another thrill. If I can uphold standards in the House of Lords, and snort cocaine through a five pound note from the body of a naked prostitute, and be found out, and get away with it? HOW BIG AM I NOW!!
Of course, I speculate. Free from facts about Lord Sewel’s life I can conjecture freely. And I can also criticise. And it seem to me that Lord Sewel has made a significant style blunder in what he’s done.
Because if you are going to (allegedly) snort cocaine through a banknote from the body of a naked prostitute, surely you should use at least a fifty?