Sammy: a laugh or a man in need of help?

Say what you will about him, Sammy Wilson was always game for a laugh. While others talked solemnly, Sammy would shout out things like “Go to the chippy!” and “Leprechaun language!” Ah me, how we all laughed. And that time he took off all his clothes…Truly, one of `Nature’s rib-ticklers.

And now he’s done it again. When we all were plunged in gloom, totally unimpressed by Boris Johnson’s demands that we all stop being doomsters and cheer up, Sammy has cut through the gloom and cloud with a typical quip: the Irish government are “trying to tear up” the Good Friday Agreement.  Even if it were true, Sammy and his party should be rejoicing, not moaning: they never signed up to the GFA in the first place.

But there is another explanation possible. Sometimes people are seen as being funny because they say something that’s patently daft, such as “Nigel Dodds has a kind face” or “Kenny Donaldson cares for all victims”. But actually, these people could be making a serious statement: in short, they could just possibly believe what they say.

I think this is the case with Sammy, at least in this instance. Sigmund Freud, the great psychoanalyst, had a theory about human conduct called projection. In brief, he argued that people who suffer from some mental or moral deficiency will fail to see it in themselves but will be quick to spot its existence in others. If George Best, God be good to him, was to accuse someone of irresponsibility or W C Fields was to declare someone as being cynical – that’s projection.

Here’s Sammy, belonging to a party that didn’t sign, wouldn’t sign the Good Friday Agreement, who’d probably like to see the GFA used as Westminster toilet roll, and he’s telling us that the Dublin government are trying to kill of the GFA. As the psychiatrist in Fawlty Towers remarked of Basil: “There’s enough there for at least two conferences”.

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