Payment of my mortgage requires my silence

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 08.11.26Integrity, writes Dalrymple,

is a fragile thing, and most people have only a limited reserve of it. They are usually more concerned for their private welfare than the public good. (I mean this as no criticism. It seems to me to be an ineluctable fact about being human.) So when intellectual, moral and financial corruption grows, they will not resist it to the bitter end. Rather they will join in – most with a heavy heart, some joyfully — and keep their traps shut.

But

the knowledge that they have sold their souls means that they live the rest of their lives in fear and self-loathing.

And the deep-seated cynicism

is inimical to real work and progress. Ersatz work comes to replace work: the production of signs, for example, saying ‘Allow us to help you’ when there is no intention of helping anyone. The cynicism corrodes the public servant and the public alike: everyone treats everything as a source of plunder and personal advancement.

Take the police. They are

adept at producing pleasing figures. They are very good at changing the category of crime into which a reported incident falls. Just as universities have an interest in inflating marks, thanks to government targets, so the police have an interest in deflating the seriousness of the crimes reported to them.

The job of chief constable, for instance,

is not that of a policeman any longer, but that of public relations officer and political toady. This is not because they are by nature wicked men, but because of the nature of modern administration, in which reality is less real, or at least less important, than the presentation of reality.

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