The film poster told me that "Everyone has something amazing within them." This is a major change: original sin has given way to a Pelmanistic sense of integral value. While that is intrinsically troublesome, and acts as a disincentive to education, the main problem is that it has been combined with a strong anti-rational tendency towards the frankly mystical view that that inner strength of will can render the world infinitely plastic.

The result is that we are coming to believe not only in the legitimacy of our desires, for if we are all wrapped around something amazing, we are all virtuous at heart, but also in our ability to realise these desires, and not just because we are capable, or inherit a scientific tradition of real power, but because there is a supernaturally close co-ordination between our will and the world. We have only to want something for it to be possible.

Such a view is perhaps the result of many decades of economic plenty, and a low awareness of the inevitable and temporarily concealed dangers of the world. Fossil fuels, compound growth, and intense co-operation have together produced such wealth that the consumer is encouraged to feel that any wish whatsoever can be realised.

But there is little point in delivering a reproving lecture on this matter. It would fall on deaf ears, and is in any case redundant, for the world will execute its own infallible remedy to misconceptions. Insofar as the individual believes themselves gifted when they are not, errors will reveal the truth through failure and pain.

However, the process is not instantaneous, and the fantastic individual, as he correctly thinks himself, is not the only sufferer of ill consequences. When a parent is mistaken, the children suffer; when our politicians are deluded in this fashion, the electorate is in deep trouble. Blair was internally convinced of his own power and capacity, and his freely exhibited desires were both nebulous and marketable. He meant to do good, and he believed that he had but to wish well for all manner of things to be well. He impressed himself, and many voters were similarly impressed. Brown was probably not troubled in this way. The authentic version of Original Sin was deeply active in his mind, though largely as a conviction of its presence in others. Like a true Puritan he was certain to be one of the elect. Fortunately, the world saved us from him, as it has saved humanity from many another idealistic narcissist who believes his selfish inclinations are a general panacea. But in the saving, as ever and ever will be, much harm was done, for this is the actual, gradually unwinding world, and no other.