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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Leadership: Two examples from Europe

In Ireland, it's considered good political leadership for the Taoiseach to stay up till four in the morning drinking, singing and mimicking sportsmen.

Well, it isn't, but if you listened to Fianna Fail the past couple of days, you'd think the man had been up till all hours fixing the economy.

The desperate attempts to paint dipso Biffo as the innocent victim of scurrilous Fine Gael tweeters fell on deaf ears - the country, indeed the whole world, recognised truth when they heard it and now everyone knows we're a crisis country led by drunkards.

Needless to say, the markets responded, hiking up the cost of the borrowing we already couldn't afford. By the time Cowen had slept it off and roused himself to apologise 'for sounding hoarse', the last of his credibility was being piddled up against the wall and the damage was long since done.

It's not the boozing while the country's a mess that makes him such an abject leader. It's the going on radio and letting everyone hear he's been boozing his head off, and then trying to deny it, that makes him a bad leader.

By contrast, the poison dwarf Sarkozy isn't going to be bullied by the Eurocrats over his Roma expulsions. Whatever you think about expelling Roma, and the majority of Western Europeans think extremely highly of the idea, it's the rare state leader who doesn't cave when Brussels starts threatening.

And when they started comparing Sarko to the Nazis, thereby invoking Godwin and losing the debate, it was clear that the knives were out not only for the expulsion policy but for the diminutive leader too.

Sarko's response was effortlessly brilliant. If the Luxembourgeois commissioner rabbitting on about World War 2 comparisons was so concerned about the Roma, perhaps they could be housed in her country instead of being deported to their native Romania and Bulgaria?

The howls from affluent Luxembourg could be heard all over Europe. That is of course the LAST thing they want. And with Sarko now going after their shady banking system (which he accuses of assisting tax dodging) the state of Luxembourg is now singularly unimpressed with the Commissioner who brought down France's wrath upon their expensively-coiffeured heads.

Far from painting Sarkozy out to be a Nazi, Viviane Reding has likely signed her own career suicide note in this spat. Her own country will not thank her for turning France against them so effectively. It would not surprise me if she was to step down in the next few months for family or other spurious reasons and a new commissioner appointed from the Duchy.

These two, it seems to me, are the current polar opposites of leadership capacity at the nation state level in Europe currently.

In Ireland an abject garrulous drinker, croaking through a hangover on morning radio then grumpily trying to deny it afterwards.

In France, a politically astute, determined individual insistent on making strong decisions, standing by them and defending the sovereignty of his nation against all attacks, including those from the suprastate.

I'm no particular fan of Sarko's politics, but we could do with his leadership qualities in Ireland right now. Frankly, any change from the current cretins would be an improvement. Even a monkey wouldn't cost us percentile points on the bonds exchanges by turning up drunk on radio.

Edit: Not only does this story just keep rumbling on, with the addition of a golfer's demand for an apology for being mimicked by the drunken Taoiseach, but it is now gathering the sort of momentum that can take out a government.

By contrast, Commissioner Reding's appeal for back-up from Barroso at the highest EU level has, understandably, been equally brushed aside by the now rather irate French.

1 comment:

Missing Neighbour said...

A brilliant riposte from Sarkozy. The protests at his treatment of the Roma evaporated as soon as he played the 'Have them stay at your gaff then' card. There is nothing wrong with economic migration as long as said migrants land in their chosen country to do some work (The Roma quite clearly had no such plan). It is unacceptable for any 21st Century European citizen to live in a medieval shanty town.
Meanwhile back in Ireland...
The same old crap is on the political menu. The country has been run by a band of chancers from as far back as Strongbow. It is totally acceptable in Ireland to have the elected equivalent of hereditary seats 'My dad and my granda have both held this seat' is a badge of honour. There seems to be little viable alternatives available from the current political class. I think the pervading strategy from all sides seems to be 'lets bury our heads in the sand and hope something turns up'. The debt is now mounting at an incredible rate 88 billion (ouch), it is increasing at the lovely speed of around 1000 euro a second. There is no way on God's good earth that money will ever be paid off.