The Morality of Leadership
Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Matthew Taylor, Michael Portillo, Mona Siddiqui and Tim Stanley.
Brexit is only days away and we still don’t have a plan. This is enraging for many, perplexing for most, and amusing for those who like their humour black. As one current slogan observes, “even Baldrick had a plan”. Some argue we are locked in a crisis of leadership. The major parties are fragmenting, collective cabinet responsibility has been trashed and the political atmosphere in parts of Britain is toxic. Have the two main party leaders ever been as weak? Many voters can’t understand how Parliament has so dismally failed to follow a simple instruction, and why the political class has flunked collective moral leadership. Kinder observers point out that the task facing MPs was anything but simple, and explain that while politics is working exactly as it should, the chaos in Parliament reflects an electorate with a split personality. So, with all this in mind, what sort of commanders-in-chief do we need now, in politics and beyond? Visionaries? Listeners? Pragmatists? Power-watchers have reported a sea change in recent years: many leaders now spend more time trying to please their rank and file, they say, and less time actually leading. There was a time when leaders were prepared to defy their supporters for “the greater good of all”. That sounds persuasive unless you think it was the top-down, managerial style of leadership that contributed to people’s sense of political alienation in the first place. Do leaders like Churchill, Thatcher, Blair and May define their eras or do the events of different eras determine the leaders? Do we always get the leaders we deserve?
Producer: Dan Tierney