Well, look at the evidence.

Psychopaths are exceptionally selfish, constant liars, manipulative, callous, grandiose and parasitic.

Psychopaths bully, they are never anxious, and they may be superficially likeable. (That’s how they got elected). They seem strong, calm and confident but they lack personal insight. They never show remorse.

Psychopaths are ruthless, manipulative and permanently dishonest. They are charming but they are remorseless in their dealings with others; they do things which normal people would regard as terrible. But they never feel guilty.

Throughout history psychopaths have always had an advantage when it comes to seeking high office. Today’s political party systems, with their emphasis on superficial likeability, and an endless capacity for lying and deceit, make it easier for psychopaths to reach the top.

Around the world a remarkably high proportion of Presidents and Prime Ministers end up in prison. That certainly suggests that they have criminal tendencies. I think they also show clear psychopathic tendencies.

Throughout history the possession of psychopathic traits has proved a useful passport to high office. Men and women who are unfettered by moral scruples, who are prepared to lie or cheat their way to the top and who will make promises they know they cannot keep have a huge advantage over those held back by notions of fair play. Leaders who are psychopaths have huge advantages over more democratically inclined leaders. The possession of psychopathic traits is actually advantageous to a political leader. They give him or her more degrees of freedom in his control and manipulating of those under him and most particularly in his dealings with potential enemies.

As they age, psychopaths become more of a threat than ever. They get better at lying and better at convincing people that their intentions are good.

To the psychopath, kindness, humanity and sentimentality are all signs of weakness, there to be exploited. Psychopaths do not have consciences, in the way that the rest of us do and so they never suffer from the restraining influence of guilt.

So, is your country’s leader a psychopath?

I’m going to describe twelve traits which will enable you to decide if your leader is a psychopath. Just write down a YES for each time you think you recognise your leader’s traits. At the end of the questionnaire, just add up the number of times you answered YES.

  1. Psychopaths are exceptionally selfish and egocentric; they don’t worry about other people’s feelings. They don’t think twice about cheating other people if it is to their advantage.
  2. Psychopaths lie constantly (and are extremely good at it).Politicians tell big, deliberate, determined, self-serving lies. They know that if they just keep lying they will manage to fool most of the people most of the time. Especially if they do it with a smile and a few disarming words. A psychopath will keep lying for so long, with such persistence and with such protestations of honesty and innocence, that his listeners will begin to doubt their own interpretation of the truth.

    ‘It would never come into average people’s heads to fabricate colossal untruths,’ wrote Adolf Hitler. ‘And they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.’

    The psychopath knows that if he or she lies often enough, and with enough persistence and determination, then the lie will eventually become the truth.
  3. Psychopaths are manipulative and skilled at persuading other people to do things for them. Psychopaths get a great kick out of manipulating people – whether they are friends, colleagues or family members. They begin by manipulating people through charm and persuasion but if those methods fail then they will manipulate through fear.
  4. The psychopath only ever loves him or herself. The psychopath knows that it is possible to get what he or she wants by pretending to be a good and loyal lover or friend. And so they will do everything they can to build up that image. But the psychopath’s primary loyalty will be to him or herself. He thinks him or herself genuinely superior to everyone around him. In their mind they are the only person who truly matters.
  5. Psychopaths are callous and indifferent to suffering. Psychopaths do not feel or show any empathy or genuine sympathy when others around them are suffering, though they will show fake sympathy when these seem appropriate.
  6. Psychopaths bully and are abusive and don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be, especially since they know from experience that bullying is a very effective way to get their own way.
  7. Psychopaths are charming because they have learned to be attentive and to fake interest in others; but their interest is purely superficial. Their eyes quickly glaze over when someone else is talking about themselves, and they change the subject as quickly as they can.
  8. Psychopaths are unable to experience love or show true compassion and may to go from one relationship to another. They will make declarations of love if they think they will benefit and they will weep what appear to be real tears if the occasion demands them. The older and more experienced a psychopath becomes the better able he will be at faking emotional responses. Psychopaths neglect their families because their only real concern is themselves. Psychopaths are constantly searching for excitement and may, therefore, engage in an unending series of relationships. They do this not because they are looking for love or romance, or even physical excitement, but because they enjoy the thrill of the chase and the thrill of cheating on their partners without being found out.
  9. Psychopaths never take responsibility; they always blame others when things go wrong. If they make a mistake they will always point a finger at someone else – and blame them. Psychopaths never show remorse or guilt and do not ever care about the feelings of others; they never feel bad when they do bad things and they never feel ashamed. Their primary concern is that they do not get caught and find themselves forced to take responsibility for what they have done.
  10. Psychopaths often make promises they know they cannot keep, and have no intention of keeping. They make the promises because they are convenient and useful and they enable them to get what they want, when they want it. Obligations and commitments mean nothing to psychopaths, and they feel no need to honour promises or principles unless there is some obvious benefit to themselves in doing so. They will remain unmoved by the knowledge that their actions are causing hardship and unhappiness for others.
  11. Psychopaths are good at self-promotion. They have enormous self-belief and confidence and sometimes appear exceptionally ‘pushy’. Psychopaths can manipulate others calmly, coolly (and without any qualms) and they frequently do this in order to further their own careers. Since they never feel guilt or shame, psychopaths can frequently rise right to the top in their chosen field.
  12. Psychopaths are often extremely ambitious. And they rise to the top because they can deal with problems, setbacks and disappointments far more effectively than ordinary folk. Psychopaths ignore or brush aside the sort of genuine worries that destroy ordinary people.

    It is the mental strength of psychopaths which helps them to rise to the top and it is that strength, that unswerving, uncaring, committed determination to achieve their own ambitions, whatever the cost might be, that is such a danger both to the rest of us and to society as a whole. And psychopaths never apologise. When ordinary folk make serious mistakes they apologise, try to put things right and, quite probably, feel full of guilt.

    Sensitive, caring individuals bend over backwards to make amends. But when psychopaths make mistakes they lie and lie and lie again. And they do it convincingly and without a blush. It never occurs to them to apologise. They don’t make any effort to put things right. And, unless it is completely unavoidable, they do not resign. Their ambition is all that matters.

The more of these traits that you recognised the more likely it is that your leader is a psychopath. If you noted eight or more then they’re definitely psychopathic.

You can try these questions out on other well-known figures. Tony Blair, Donald Trump, Klaus Schwab, Prince Charles, the Entitled Harry and that bloke with the growly dog who lives at the end of your street.

Dr Vernon Coleman’s short book Are you living with a Psychopath is available as a paperback and an eBook.