• Pages

  • Site Sections

  • Tags

  • Archives

Letter – Political Leadership – Published London Times 5th May ’09

'no we can't' and 'yes we can'

'no we can't' and 'yes we can'

Political Leadership

Barack Obama’s election puts the latest ‘Brown study’ of the Labour Party into perspective. The Democratic Party had two candidates of intellectual weight, political gravitas and an air of leadership – in the UK we have none – in any party. The more Mr Brown exercises the power he connived for so long to achieve, the more his inability to communicate and motivate becomes apparent: necessary if not sufficient qualities for modern leadership that President Obama possesses in abundance.

There is a disturbing lack of real talent available to the British people to whom they can entrust governance in the next few critical years. Senior figures in the current cabinet, including Gordon Brown are tainted by the circumstances of the decision to invade Iraq. Junior figures lack gravitas – intellectual and political.

The deeper problem relates to the Party-based system upon which both we and the US depend. Though different in degree, the two aging parties contesting power in each country reflect similar opposing political ideologies their electorates have largely abandoned. Unity in the UK and bi-partisanship in the US was based upon similar aspirations and aims; political debate centred on two ideologically distinct means to achieve broadly common goals. Voters now know that ideologies don’t deliver; and Politicians, trapped in partisan Party structures have no idea how to respond to their electorate’s needs.

President Obama might be able to re-unify the frighteningly polarised America of George Bush. The UK’s situation is more parlous – we face an election in 12 months with no convincing options: a lightweight Eton-male dominated Conservative Party, or a tired, Stalinist Government with voraciously expensive micro-management instincts. The fair-minded majority of British people deeply distrust both.

There is absolutely no one able to generate a sense of “yes we can” in British politics.

Leave a Reply