A hippocratic oath for leaders - perhaps - "Others First" or "I live to serve others"?
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Sir Winston Churchill
When will the likes of Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and Borris Johnson, among so many others, understand that leadership is not about themselves but others?
As Simon Senek put it so astutely; "Leadership is not about being in charge but rather caring for those in your charge".
That may sound a little trite, even simplistic, but it is never the less a truism of good leadership and always has been. Yet so few of our leaders seem to have grasped this lesson.
When it comes to the Monarchy - it seems today, sadly an ever-more divisive subject, but to those who have really thought about it, it shouldn't be. We, ordinary folks, should be very grateful that we drew the winning lottery of being British and for the service Her Majesty the Queen has bequeathed on us all. And hopefully, her successors too will understand exactly what the role of Head of State means.
It is the Majesty of the role. It is not something that you can touch or even fully understand. But it is tangible, in as much as it is real - it is unknown and magical, but it exists. Monarchy is not democratic or autocratic, any more than any worthwhile religion is. It is an idea that is bigger than anyone and serves everyone, and binds us together as one - our need for a common thread in our society. It has taken us centuries of pain and suffering to get to this place - we can disagree about many things, but we all come together for the one thing we all need - our head of state, which is a gifted role. We don't get to vote or argue about who fulfils this role; they are born into it. They are born to serve - us.
In April 1982, Captain Brian Young DSO RN sent a now-famous message back to the Admiralty Headquarters;
"Be pleased to inform Her Majesty the White Ensign now flys alongside the Union Jack on South Georgia. God save the Queen."
(This was the retaking of South Georgia at the beginning of the Falklands War)
This wasn't a private message to Lilibet Windsor - this was to the Crown - our Head of State - To our Nation, this idea of a "people" represented by our Monarch is bigger than all of us, regardless of colour, creed, education, or ethnicity, income - anything. Our head of state is the great leveller - we all serve and support our country - it is our common bond - represented by our Monarch. We are prepared to suffer and to die for it if necessary - because it is not about me or you - it is about us - all of us; our children and family and friends - our way of life, our freedom to think and say out loud our thoughts. This idea of Democracy that is bigger than any one of us.
I know we take this for granted today - but we shouldn't. If this strong but tender flame is allowed to go out - this flame of "service to others" - we will be living back in the dark ages before we know it - we will have a Putin or a Lukashenko, a Xi Jinping or a Hitler or something worse. Today's freedoms that we take for granted will be gone, and the price of regaining them will be very high indeed - that is, if it would ever be possible.
That is why it is so deplorably sad to have witnessed Prince Harry, who looked to becoming such a stalwart supporting senior Royal, behaving in such a shameful and disrespectful manner. It is not just disrespectful to Her Majesty but to all of us. That he should feel entitled by birth without understanding that with privilege goes responsibility is hard to understand. He decided to step away - It is not just that he was so naive as to think he could have his cake and eat it - it is his compleat lack of understanding of service and why the Royal family exists. That is at least what I find so astounding. He may not be - but he now comes across as a rather stupid, self-entitled spoilt, wealthy hypocrite. As for prince Andrew, I would add unintelligent, arrogant and uninformed. The pair of them have both, though in different ways, done this country and our Monarchy a considerable disservice. And when measured against what they have professed to hold dear; the Captain Brian Youngs of this world - they have utterly failed these brave men and women and fallen short of what was expected of them.
As for Borris Johnson - just like Trump in the USA, he is entirely focused on himself. He has made it abundantly clear that he has no concept of service to others or country. It is all and always has been - all about Borris. By selfishly clinging to the door of Number 10, when greater men and women would have quickly understood the correct and honourable course of action - for the good of everyone - But he stays. Shame.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 23rd January - 2022