If ever there was a time we (the people who live in the United Kingdom) need good leadership, it is now! I hope this is not a mere cliché, but it is an observation based on the aftermath of the EU Referendum result being announced (discussed here). Leadership is needed in all areas, e.g. business (which I don’t know too much about) and religious (which I know a lot more about). But for this posting, I will focus on political (which I know something in-between about) and specifically that of the two main parties. While several parties have impacted on British life in my lifetime, the two main ones remain Conservative and Labour, and both are facing leadership challenges right now, albeit for different reasons.
When David Cameron announced he will be standing down as Prime Minister, few would have been surprised given the Brexit verdict and few would have disagreed that this was the right thing to do. Like many, I watch with interest as different candidates put their hats in the ring. I have to confess that at this point I am not a great fan of many of the big players in the Conservative Party given how matters concerning social justice have been addressed (or not) and have gone on record in saying so (although that might also be true of Labour). The front runners are Theresa May, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, and Stephen Crabb (and having just checked bookmakers odds – in that order). Such are the rapid changes we are now seeing, it is a far cry from a few days ago (even since first posting big changes are afoot – i.e. Boris is not standing – ed). It will be tempting to go into strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, and already a view is beginning to formulate, but I will resist the temptation of sharing my thoughts on the relative merits of the candidates, other than my hope that the Party chooses wisely, given the hugely important decisions that need to be made, specifically what does the country do about the referendum vote and many other issues that for a time have been relegated to the back burner but are all to do with the sort of country we are to live in.
The Labour party faces a leadership challenge of a different nature. The coup to unseat its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, orchestrated it seems by leading party figures, such as Angela Eagle and Hilary Benn, has at least for the time being, been withstood. How much longer that will be the case, remains to be seen. Given Jeremy has a lot of grass roots support, has to be offset against the fact that two thirds of his shadow cabinet have stood down in the past few days. It seems a coup has been plotted for some time. No doubt, and to be charitable, those doing the plotting (and one has to be brutal here – subtle undermining) realising Labour are not going to regain power under Jeremy, see that a synthesis of socialist ideals with pragmatic capitalism (aka Tony Blair) might, even though arguably Jeremy has acted consistently with his long held Socialist principles, which still resonate among many of Labour’s grass roots supporters. Where all this ends up is anyone’s guess, but the rancor now being seen in Labour ranks is arguably non productive and this impinges on the need for an effective opposition to hold government to account.
I hope I am not being falsely modest when I say that I am not a leader and much as I would like to be involved in leading this country in the right way, I recognize my limitations and that at this time I need to focus on looking after those who are close to me, doing some grass roots community activism, sometimes making things happen, writing important stuff that at least a few read and heed and helping to mentor and pass a legacy onto the next generation. But there is a sense, even though it is true that good leaders need faithful followers, we can all be leaders by showing forth the way we as a country can go by living a principled and productive life. Going back to the reason for this posting, we need good leaders both in the Conservative and Labour Party, as well as in all sectors of public life. We need leadership that will face the challenges head on and can unite, heal, inspire and empower an already divided nation. I will go as far to say we face a leadership crisis as a nation. I will be using a month’s absence away from the blogosphere to reflect on these matters and entreat the Almighty.