January 25, 2018
About political leadership in the 20th century
Here is a short note about a shift in the nature of political leadership that does not yet seem to be on the radar screen of UK political commentators. We noted a number of newspaper columns recently calling for the removal Theresa May. The latest one, in the Times by Iain Martin notes that the job of prime ministers is to lead, and that May leads from behind, letting the civil service do the job instead.
While we, too, have our problems with this style of leadership, we note that it is becoming the norm in modern politics. The visionary leader is the quintessential character in systems that produce clear single party majorities. But coalition and minority governments bring up very different types of leader, the kind of which the likes of Martin are not accustomed too. Angela Merkel is another such leader with a shocking lack of vision. The reason the Tories do not replace May is simple: when parties are split down the middle, the last thing they need is leader with a vision.