The failed hero must die

Tony Blair pulled off an historic victory last week. Even before the election, he became the first labour leader in British history to complete a second term. Last week he became the first to win a third term. In the process he secured a majority a third larger than Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 victory and three times John Major’s of 1992.
You wouldn’t think so by the reaction of the commentators or his own party.
Like many leaders who taste success, Tony Blair has fallen victim to the vicious retribution of those who will never forgive him for failing to be the hero they fantasised he was. Blair could never be immortal. He could never be infallable. But the great fantasy was that he had these characteristics. In theoretical terms this is a classic example of Wilfred Bion’s basic assumption dependancy which we see in operation almost everywhere we see a leader experiencing success.
It goes like this. The leader leads the group/organisation/corporation/party/country out from the wilderness seemingly taking all before them. The followers then lose all their own competence and become, in their minds and actions, completely dependent on the leader. They fall into fantasy that the leader is immortal and infallable. The leader is now in a no-win situation. They can’t keep producing extraordinary victories forever. Eventually they will do something ordinary rather than spectactular. Think the CEO who presides over 5% company growth after previously producing 10. Think the football team that dominates the competition for a number of years but fails to win every grand final.
The followers turn on the leader and demand his head. The leader has left them to be responsible for their own destiny. They now have to find their own competence. They now have to make their own decisions. No, this will not do. They must destroy this leader who has failed to live up to their fantasy and go in search of the next mythical hero who will save them.
Will we ever learn?

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *