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Public officials lie! But don’t we all.

V – Any progress on the mental health crisis review that you reported on last time?

A – An update to the Health and Wellbeing Board suggested the authorities were supporting such a review.

V – Good news.

A – Yes, but I wanted to draw attention to a different aspect.  I’m currently reading Jonathan Haidt’s fascinating “The Righteous Mind” and in it, he admits to being a chronic liar.  This makes him just like the rest of humanity.  He made up an excuse when criticised by his wife.  The thing was, he believed it himself.  He only appreciated how he had twisted the facts because he was writing an article at the time on “how people automatically fabricate justifications of their gut feelings”!

V – And what’s that got to do with the mental health crisis review?

A – At the Health and Wellbeing Board, several senior officers seemed (to me) to suggest that a problem with the original proposal for a review was that is was just focused on the mental health trust’s Crisis Service.  What was actually needed, these wise heads seemed to be saying, was a system wide review.

M – I can’t say I listen very carefully to anything you say, but isn’t that what you were proposing in the first place?

A – damn right it was!  I was spitting.  No, sorry, what I mean is, I calmly appraised the situation and realised they were doing no more than re-writing the story to cause themselves less mental anguish; just ‘automatically fabricating’.

M – And you’re raising this because it’s an interesting psychological phenomenon?

A – Absolutely!

M – and not because you’re ‘reframing’ the situation, pretending to illustrate a fact about human nature to justify having a moan?

A – I think I’d like access to my (inner) lawyer now …

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