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Nutcases and tyrants have historically had an easy ride in their own day; their crimes frequently being attributed to the unauthorised actions of ‘evil advisors’ rather than being commissioned from the top. Occasionally, this is true (the Peasant’s Revolt against Richard II might be one example – though Richard was only 14 at the time, and still a duplicitous and cruel character), but generally it isn’t. Time and again, foreign analysts advise their own governments that these dictators are under pressure from hard-liners, only for it later to turn out, after the regime has fallen and the papers are released, that they were themselves the most extreme hard-liner.