Monday, 24 October 2016

Leadership in the 21st Century: A Monty Pythonesque Farce

It is interesting that as science is breaking new ground and taking technology and innovation to new heights social development has not just taken a backward step but is sliding rapidly downhill. This world was built on the vision of great thinkers and passion borne out of selfless integrity. Now we're keeping up with the Kardashians and striving to be pseudo apprentices with a spotlight blinding us in some sort of lions den.

In modern times leaders in various fields have proven to be extremely prone to promoting self interest as cautious action driven by the common good. Most notions of duty have been supplanted by the desire to achieve longevity and dominate popular opinion. Notable academics have been discredited for giving questionable evidence as expert witnesses. We have had cases of researchers being paid off by pharmaceutical companies to publish biased studies. Journalists are openly partisan, serving paymasters, falsifying news, plagiarising and even setting honey traps. Various longstanding and reputable businesses in the U.K. have closed down thanks to asset stripping by rapacious owners.

Rulers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE have stood by while refugees from Syria have been subjected to indignities seeking shelter in Europe. In fact, the Saudi regime has been mostly occupied with bombing random civilian targets in Yemen. African presidents have individually and collectively found leadership inspiration by looking back to eras of plundering and pillaging. They have rendered their countries broke and peoples destitute and broken. Russia is busy starting and supporting conflicts wherever it can as a cover for arms trading and diplomatic grandstanding.

Obama has proven a calming influence in the American White House but he has shown a lack of leadership in dealing with the economy, race relations and policing of minorities. When Obama stood by quietly and let GW Bush detail an economic bailout plan that favoured corporate America he demonstrated what was to be an ongoing reticence in dealing directly with working class poverty in America. Two of the candidates who will be contesting the American presidential elections this year have significant questions over their integrity and suitability.

In the U.K. the Conservative party has lost one prime minister thanks to David Cameron's reluctance to take a stand against eurosceptics in the party. Theresa May, the current prime minister failed to deliver on a promise to curb immigration when she Home Affairs minister. She is now playing politics with the handling of the U.K.'s exit from the European Union. The economy is suffering as a result. The Labour Party has been plagued with a series of ineffective leaders following Tony Blair's resignation as prime minister. The party is currently at war with its present leader and itself, to all intents and purposes. It has been no help that the current leader of the Labour Party has proven somewhat ineffectual and divisive.

Africa is rife with instances of ineffective and corrupt leaders. Many leaders in the continent are obsessed with not leaving the seat of power rather than actually leaving a positive legacy. In Africa a lot of business leaders have achieved success through fraud and the corruption of public institutions and officials. The 'Arab Spring' was supposed to bring revolution to North Africa but has only succeeded in miring the region in extremism and instability. Mugabe has succeeded in holding on to power while completely wrecking the economic and social life of Zimbabwe. The ANC in South Africa has managed to take its people out of apartheid into poverty.

It appears that leadership is one area in which humanity has managed to regress. Opportunism and profit appear to be the defining characteristics of leadership in modern times. It appears the qualifications needed for leadership now are wealth and influence. Needless to say this makes for leaders who are essentially unprincipled and easily swayed. It also spells trouble for those hoping that the privileged few might protect the needy many.