When Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was asked what was the greatest challenge for a statesman, he replied: ‘Events, dear boy, events’. North Dorset chair of the Liberal Democrats Mike Chapman reflects on the impact of leadership styles.
My school cricket team contained two future England caps. Did we lose? No, not ever. Did we feel good about that? Yes. Did the rest of the team improve with such talented teammates? No, we fell by the wayside.
Years roll by, and a new leader joins my business team. He has one strong message: double the output, double the profit or say goodbye. He lasted just long enough to sow the seeds of destruction for the whole enterprise, his youth and boldness clashing against the wall of the older and more experienced.
There are other leader types, too: “There go the people, I must follow them, for I am their leader” is the classic stance of the politician.
There are four people presenting themselves in England today as our leaders: he who seems to self-serve; he who has served well in another career; he who pushes for fairness and opportunity. Then there is Nigel.
What sort of leader do we need, then? Boris, the chaotic in charge of the chaos? Keir the not-quite- charismatic, always looking back over his left shoulder?
Ed, someone tapped into the thinking, practical heart of our nation? And no, not Nigel under any circumstances.
That phrase from a bygone age will help nudge us along the path to a decision:
“Events, dear boy, Events.”
How apt that a party should be an Event.