Conflict and economic crisis: where are the leaders?

26 Aug

Lets hope the Libyans continue to be brave and humane and welcome women into their new government. While the Arab Spring continues leaders in western democracies are unable to find a solution to collapsing international markets, the banks or come up

with new forms of financial government and or regulation. The macho culture of the city and banking has not prepared its staff for the sort of reflection and creative problem solving required to transform the financial systems.  – what they have learnt to do is play the market not ensure good governance. Yet, western governments expect other countries and local authorities to transform their practices  and to persuade local people of the need for austerity measures for the general good.  Many local authorities are continuing to do this, it is interesting that how they act as leaders has changed, most are now orchestrators and extremely collaborative. Smaller cities such as York, Bristol and Swindon in particular have become less tribal in their decision-making and are run by intelligent and agile political and executive leaders who are developing new approaches to governance and socializing business in the process.

The question is where are the equivalent leaders in the banks and in governments? If the markets collapse it may result in more than a double-dip recession where the psychology of fear results in panic among the rich as well as the poor. Smaller countries will collapse where there is little governance and the heavy hand of the IMF, only creative countries such as Iceland where the resource of the people is valued can survive such chaos. You cannot but feel that international leaders are equally squeezed – Obama is trapped by the Tea Party and Angela Merkel by the German electorate who are unwilling to support any more EU countries, In England, it appears politicians are more influenced by the media and the press than by balancing the interests of people  against the interests of international markets .

There is a vacuum of political leadership in the West – and we have become lazy about democracy in the UK.  We expect other countries to forge democracies overnight but have no idea how to nurture democratic relationships in the UK.  Commentators in the Broadsheets are liberal and advocates of governance and human-rights but so removed from the realities of life outside of London that they often perpetuate myths – there is a need to debate how we achieve a new forms of governance which are less managerial and more active. Democracy is not only about voting but about creating a better society.  Being able to participate in debate about things that matter rather than people’s sex lives is crucial – there are emerging new forms of governance developing quietly at the local level . Local political leaders are becoming less managerial and more starting to talk about socializing business as well as transforming the public sector.

National leaders could learn a thing or two from community leaders and those working in locality partnerships.


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