Take me to your leader

March 24, 2020 15:58
Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks to reporters at a news conference on Monday. Photo: HKEJ

The best definition of a leader I have ever heard is the person who knows what to do in a given situation. A simple exposition of something that we recognize the moment that it is said.

I remember, as an officer cadet after doing a tactical exercise, asking my Royal Marine company commander, “What was the correct way to have done that?”

He replied: “The way that works.”

Now put the definition and the statement together. We judge leadership by whether or not it produces a successful solution, which is a cruel test because there are problems that are not amenable to an instant solution, no matter the quality of leadership.

Still, we expect – nay, we demand – solutions from those who claim to lead.

No-one is omnipotent and only a fool deludes him or herself that they are. The collective for fools should be a delusion.

In a complex world, no-one is gifted with the solution to every problem. What we are entitled to expect is that those professing to lead will seek advice from acknowledged experts in whatever fields the problem presents.

Having weighed the expert advice on all aspects of the issue, we expect an informed decision and the exercise of sound judgment.

A sound decision. Not a bumbling, stuttering, shambles of half-baked and ill-considered statements of intent.

The world faces a potential unwinding of the mechanics of civil society as a consequence of a virus for which there is, as yet, no vaccine and therapeutic facilities are severely limited.

This much has been obvious to all but the deaf, dumb and blind since Covid-19 devastated Wuhan.

While the world’s leaders were squabbling over myriad man-made crises, more and more of them screaming “not in my backyard”, Nature intervened to demonstrate that it is no respecter of nationality, race, color, creed, economic wealth or political partiality.

It reaches into the highest and lowest reaches of society, totally indiscriminate in selecting its victims.

Suddenly the Sino-American tariff war, Shia against Sunni, Turk versus Kurd, Israeli against Palestinian, Iranian contra Saudi, and all the other conflicts in which powerful individuals pitch themselves against each other, are overshadowed by the force of nature.

Megalomaniacs

In the current pandemic, the natural leaders, by definition, are the epidemiologists and front-line trauma teams.

The artificial leaders are the current crop of narcissistic megalomaniacs whose primary objective is to remain in power.

They begin by denying the extent of the emergency. The leaders of Wuhan, population 11.08 million, were crass enough to think they could conceal it. The tragedy of Dr. Li Wenliang is the stark result of China’s allergic reaction to anything that reflects adversely on the Communist Party.

Donald Trump dismissed it as a Democratic hoax. Initially, he said, “I would not say this is a pandemic,” then two weeks later, “I anticipated this pandemic long before it was a pandemic.” Patting himself on the back, he claimed, “I’m doing really well.” But there will be no treatment for 25 percent of the population of the United States who are uninsured.

Boris Johnson, playing Emu to Dominic Cummings’ Rod Hull, decided to let nature wreak maximum havoc among the population in the hope that the survivors would develop immunity. Since when was human sacrifice legitimate government policy?

Caught flat-footed, these world “leaders” are now scrambling like chickens on concrete for someone else to blame.

Civilized governments can be measured by the reliability of the Covid-19 data they permit to be published; North Korea and Myanmar have no cases whatsoever.

The penny quickly dropped for the South Koreans and the Macanese, then the Italians and the Spanish. Decisive, albeit draconian steps were taken to limit the spread of the virus.

Open border

Hong Kong’s Covid Carrie left the border with China open, reluctantly introduced mandatory self-isolation, with a tiny tap on the knuckles for those who breach it.

Now the ditsy dolly will ban the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants without making any provision to compensate all those employees who will lose their source of income.

This is abdication of government.

This grossly over-promoted pen-pusher is no more authentic than the Wizard of Oz. When push comes to shove, she has neither the ability nor, even more regrettably, the will to act with the speed or decisiveness that the situation calls for. In this, she closely contours the flubbing Trump.

A crisis quickly exposes the bogus, putting their innate stupidity on parade and highlighting their incompetence for high office.

It is public knowledge that Covid Carrie has been given sound, informed advice by those best qualified to set out the measures necessary to contain the spread of the virus while keeping Hong Kong functioning. But with that arrogance which is born of ignorance, she pays no heed.

Her press statements, much like Trump’s, are a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying … nothing.

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CG

Queen's Counsel