Hmm.... I take Wessely quite serious, and if he is mad in some ways - as he very well may be, since that is a major occupational risk of psychiatrists, as is suicide, as is believing pseudo-scientific trash - he has the training and the intelligence to hide it well.

Note that he was a student at Cambridge and Oxford; qualified as a medical doctor; works or worked for health-insurance companies; works for the English government and the military; and more: It is better to take him seriously.

Personally, I do think there are various things wrong with him, but my basic arguments on my present knowledge are these

- he is far too smart and well-educated not to know his theories are not real science
- he is and has been willing for decades to play according to the following what-if set-up:

Either I, Simon Wessely Ph.D., am right about ME, and my government and insurance-companies will save money if they do as I say and will like me a lot or else I, Simon Wessely Ph.D., am wrong about ME, and tens of thousands of people in Great Britain alone will have their lives, health and social help ruined thoroughly and painfully for as many decades as my theories are used and allowed to mistreat genuinely ill people. (Happily, I, Simon Wessely Ph.D., am strong enough to support the ills and pains of others, thank God, if He exists.)

My own point of view is that no morally decent person plays such a game, especially if he is a medical doctor (Hippocratic oath etc.), for which reason there is definitely something wrong with him, but it is not easy to diagnose him properly, apart from the fact that a guy as intelligent as he is must know he is and has been lying about ME in a major way and for a long time (whatever his real reasons, that may be mostly hidden for him too).

What IS striking is that he played the same game as regards Gulf War Syndrome and aluminium-poisoning ("believe me, I am A Professor Of Psychiatry: there is nothing really wrong with these people except mass hysteria - spending money on them is just wasting money on the undeservedly sick"), which suggests he is a very loyal servant of the British government who may be sent out to save it spending money, because he is known to like playing the above game and to do it with gusto.

My own present orientations for trying to find out what makes him tick are these

- his psychiatric background is fairly well known to me (I am a psychologist and philosopher who is a few years older than he is), and it is mostly the so-called anti-psychiatry of the late sixties and seventies, that certainly showed (i) there was then much wrong, intellectually, morally and institutionally with psychiatry and (ii) a psychiatrist with some status in the media or amongst peers can get away with virtually anything and (iii) must have taught him rather a lot about "the games people play" (for which see esp. Goffman, "The Presentation of Self in Ordinary Society", which he and I read, and which I can recommend to anyone - and mind you, it is cynical about people on average, including doctors of medicine)

- he uses postmodernistic styles of argument and turns of phrase very probably quite intentionally, and knows quite well that much of his published science is not real science in any sense (which probably does not worry him a lot, for most people these days believe that truth is a social construct - or whatever - and few are both interested and capable in real science)

- his father was a holocaust-victim (though a survivor), and I can quote Dutch psychiatrists who claimed for decades that this makes him automatically "a second generation war-victim" (as I am the son and grandson of Dutch heroes of the resistance, also concentation-camp survivors, but not for having the supposedly wrong race but for being members of the communist resistance, I know rather a lot about this subject), and this may have fucked him up prettty thoroughly (and may also explain both his psychiatric studies and fascination with the military).

I don't know and have to speculate, and I wrote this to say that he should not be pooh-poohed: He is dangerous; he knows what he wrote about ME etc. is not real science; he is a loyal servant of the government or at least the military; he has a lot of power, that he seems to have built up carefully; and ordinary moral norms are things he knows how to pretend beautifully, almost like a political pro, while wiping his arse with them behind the scenes.

And I don't think terms like "sociopath" have much explanatory value about him, if only because he seems to be charming in personal meetings (he got the training for it) and because he no doubt is socially quite capable and succesful, in ordinary terms.

MM

P.S. Not having a computer with a working sound system I have so far not looked at and listened to videos of him, which will probably teach me more about the guy, but my guess is that he is not a strong character - which makes a man in his position with his kind of power more dangerous.