With dust still settling over our most recent election what are we supposed to make of it? I think one of the tweets that I saw the day after sums it all up really “This is surely the biggest miscalculation in British politics since the previous biggest miscalculation in British politics 11 months ago.” But then as Harold Wilson once said “A week is long time in politics.” So making predictions is a bit of mugs game, nevertheless another election within a year looks like a good bet.
Over the last twelve months or so we have seen the Conservative party go through two leaders, with another likely scheming in the corridors of Westminster at this very moment; the Labour party have had a fractious leadership battle; and the Liberal Democrats currently have no leader, and its ex-leader lost his parliamentary seat.
In the midst of this crisis of leadership the country is heading for an exit from the European Union that is unclear and uncertain, or one that may not even happen at all. I seem to recall that prior to the EU referendum we did have other matters to attend to in this country, didn’t we? Now the legislative agenda is dominated by the Brexit, which seems to be a lot of hard work for not very much gain at all. Maybe Teresa May was right, we do need strong and stable leadership, I guess we should be grateful that she has now given us an example of what that doesn’t look like.
Leadership training is common place today, it is extensively delivered in businesses, in the military, and taught in Universities. So why on earth is it that we seem to have so few people in public life who are offering any sort of competent leadership? Jeremy Corbyn has been lambasted and lauded for his leadership over the last twelve months. He has simultaneously alienated much of the parliamentary Labour party and whilst galvanising thousands of young voters. One thing I will say in his favour is that he does walk his talk, whether you like the talk that he walks is of course another matter.
I could make a few pithy comments about what good leadership amounts to, like emotional intelligence, vision, and integrity. I could point to a few good leaders that we have had in the past, John Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Julius Caesar. Donald Trump is certainly doing a good job of making Barack Obama look quite good right now too. But where does that take us?
The World is a much more interconnect place than it has ever been before, it never sleeps, news, fake or otherwise sweeps around the planet in seconds. No world power has the absolute power and dominance that some had in the past, no world leader can act alone in isolation any more. What needs to change is that we need to realise that it is actually ‘we the people’ who are the ones that hold the destiny of the planet in our own hands. We must lead and allow the ‘Leaders’ to follow us. Recognise the power to influence that you have within your own grasp. You can lead through your actions; you choose which products to purchase; you choose what articles to share with friends and followers; you choose how you influence people in the corporation that you work in; you have a voice and a vote, USE THEM. People in parliament should be first and foremost your representatives, not party placemen. But with great power, which you do possess, comes great responsibility. You must educate and inform yourself. Question things, simple questions are often the most powerful, start seeing through the façades which media and politicians often, not always, but often present to you. The one thing that I sense over the past twelve months is a stirring, a slow and slightly grumpy awakening of the British people. In small pockets across the UK like Canterbury, Kensington and Sheffield Hallam people discovered just what real power feels like. Stop looking for a leader and be the leader yourself.
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower