Compelling leadership in all its forms ultimately depends on an ability to paint vivid pictures in the minds of others in the areas that really matter in the moment, pictures that move us to action by disrupting our complacency.
To paint such pictures requires clarity of vision to engage our emotions, for it is how we feel that ultimately moves us to purposeful action, not what we think.
Wannabe leaders will therefore always seek to play us, either by manipulating our big fears or by promising us our hopes and desires, which is why David Cameron is now stoking our economic fears and Ed Miliband is offering us a figment of hope under an alleged ‘fairer’ Labour regime. It is why all our political parties promise to protect “our” National Health Service against the supposed Visigoths of the private sector, but it is equally why none of them is brave enough to tackle the issue head on.
The trouble is that they all know full well that the NHS is imploding before our eyes under the exponential weight gain of our aging obese population. Just this week several hospitals had to declare major incidents as they struggled to cope with patient numbers. The NHS has made clear that a £30 billion a year black hole exists and has asked for an extra £8Billion a year, and this only if savings of a whopping £22Billion a year are achieved.
These are eye-watering numbers but at the time of an election none of our supposed leaders dares come clean with us and tell it like it is, so we are left with wannabe PM’s painting pictures of the horrors that would befall if the other guy were in control but no real leadership as to how we are going to address the threat. Funding our healthcare in an aging population alongside generating the economic growth needed to fund all government work has to be the issue of our time, our equivalent of the Nazis invading Poland but we are sitting on our hands.
The trouble with politics today is that ‘Ed Mlipede’ can’t make eye contact with the public, ‘Nick Clog’ talks loudly to himself, ‘Nigel Mirage’ speaks mainly to our fears, and ‘David Come-on Come-on’ says only what he thinks we are ready to hear.
Wither a modern day Winston Churchill who tells us the stark truth and lifts our spirits up to face the challenge?