Sir, wasn’t it originally a concept of Adam Smith’s?
That Boothroyd-Smythe kid was really getting on his nerves. He was such
Nigel had swapped hats and was standing in for the History teacher. He
swallowed and counted three elephants.
Well, Robert K Morton, the sociologist, popularised it.
My dad said sociology is an easy option at A-level, butted in the irrepressible
one. I was talking to him about this topic and he said it was akin to Murphy’s
Right. Good for him. As I was saying… We can exhibit hubris when we try
to act. Who knows what ‘hubris’ is?
Nigel tried to avoid eye contact with B-S, as the staff liked to call him, but
the brat answered without putting up his hand.
My dad says it is what that Salmond man shows.
Enough! Take a detention for calling out without raising your hand.
Nigel was breaking out in a sweat. He’d been trying to have a class
discussion on something topical, but hadn’t been able to transmit his key
points about corollaries and-one he’d thought the boys would enjoy- the
cobra effect. That was the ensuing consequence of paying Indians a
bounty for every cobra that they brought in. The so-and-sos started
breeding the reptiles big time.
He’d imagined himself as some kind of fakir, mesmerising the class and
drawing them out of their collective basket by the entrancing flute notes
that he’d intone above their heads; instead, one of the deadlier and more
toxic blighters had struck him down fatally, like Julius Caesar in the Forum.
No, that wasn’t a just analogy: he wasn’t among friends… He would never
hold an audience like that Pied Piper, the First Minister of Scotland. His own
charges regarded him as a basket case. But, maybe with hindsight,
that might also be the judgement the people of Scotland might dish out to
their erstwhile hero in five years’ time. If he, Nigel, was a fakir, what did that
make Salmond? Some people said ‘a snake oil merchant‘. Nigel didn’t want to
go that far. His wee sidekick could be said to share some similarities with a
Was Alex a leader who could handle deferred gratification? Nigel doubted it.
He remembered the experiment where a child was rewarded with two
sweeties if they opted to restrain themselves from consuming one for a few
Somehow he felt that if Alex was put in a room with a pie, he wouldn’t be able
to resist it. Whereas if Adam Smith was to be subjected to the same
experiment, he felt sure that his self-control would result in sausage rolls
And now he’d have to waste time at the end of the day supervising the
wretched boy. From now on, the only cobras he’d be getting involved
with would be the alcoholic variety.