What is really important?

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Children are unpolluted with the trivialities of life

There seems to be a pattern. Corruption is nothing new. I will always recall one of my many History Teachers observing that when men have made money, they then want power. Her point was also that this was a particularly "Man-Trait". Perhaps women too now in our gender-equalising-slowly world. But my guess is my History Teacher was right and women behaving like that will be the exception. It's a man thing.

And what is startling, is what rich people and powerful people will do in order to hang on to their wealth and power. Not to mention the lengths some are prepared to go in order to get money and power in the first place.

There are of course exceptions - Warren Buffett and Bill Gates spring to mind, and many others besides. These two men are openly wealthy people trying to make the world a better place by there initiatives and financial support of various global courses. If you believe in democracy and in capitalism - this is only laudable. I am not claiming these two men have spotless characters, they may or may not but they are both very rich and in itself, I don't have any problem with that.

So not all wealthy people are bad and not all powerful people are bad. But that old saying of "power corrupts and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely" - certainly has more than a ring of truth when you look around the world at so many of the leaders of countries.

This begs the question, what makes a good leader? What is it that endures certain characters as notable leaders who are universally admired and others as weak, misguided or straight out corrupt?

If we think of leaders we admire; perhaps Mandala, Churchill, Nehru, Thatcher, Obama, Regan,  Kennady, De Gaul, Rabin.

We can all make our own list and there is something that springs out immediately;  All these people may not be perfect human beings but they inspired others because they worked for the good of the people and not themselves but equally, of course, they had their dissenters and I am sure still do.

They weren't universally liked by everyone - but were admired by most, even if begrudgingly. They did not all have spotless pasts either, or saint-like habits. But you never got the impression that they worked for their own vanity or to line their own pockets either - they strived for something bigger than themselves.

Other leaders are so obviously vain, greedy and out-right thieving despots and some behave like Mafioso Dons. They care for nothing except their own position, power and fuelling their own insatiable greed for wealth and self.

I see little need to make a list - depressingly, you don't have to look very far on any continent to find some examples.

So what fascinates me, is why? Why do we allow such people into positions of power? Why do we not get up and shout and scream and paint our faces and buy horns and protest? Or - just fill the streets and make it a silent non-aggressive protest?

I suppose the obvious answer is that we do not want to be run over by a tank, shot, captured, stoned to death, tortured and murdered or just disappear into some kind of Dantes hell, never to be heard of again.

It takes guts to protest in some countries and it takes more guts to protest in some than others.

The Brexit process has had two positives.

Firstly - and finally - the Conservative Party has realised that it is two separate groups of people with different ideology and the split that was always there has now at last been brought to the surface and a light shone on it for all to see. The hard right element in the party has been revealed by their own actions.

It has been going on for decades and Priministers have had to wrestle with this subversive element for far too long.

There is a sadness to this because many of the seventy or so MP's who make up this hard right element are good people, though there is a handful that any party could do without. However, their fate maybe already sealed. The Conservative Party with divide and splinter amongst, I suspect, quite a lot of acrimony.

This will happen because there are too many voters who feel homeless at the present. And I predict further, that the same will happen to the labour party. This may be for slightly different reasons, but perhaps the same kind of result, but again, brought on as a result of poor leadership and a fundamentalist wing that really belongs somewhere else.

The irony is that our politics will look a lot more European than British, as a result of the Brexit process.

The shame is that this whole three-year process is now revealed as three years wasted by a totally avoidable situation, compounded by lacklustre, unimaginative and amateur negotiation - on all sides, but particularly the British.

No one comes out of this smelling of roses but what our MP's do next will determine how long the smell lingers.

The second positive is that perhaps people have become more aware that politics is, as Obama put it, a battle of ideas and we the people need to be involved for that process to work.

We may be approaching the end of the beginning and we now know that everyone in Europe is going to be worse off because of the Brexit process which we triggered, but we can still limit the damage somewhat, so there is still all is to play for.

There is however a desperate urgency to finish this process because until this is finished, the healing of our nation can not begin. And if we don't heal, we will split even further.

It is urgent.

Rick - Suffolk - UK - 13th April - 2019


rick@notesfromengland


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