Cllr Peter Lamb and Keir Starmer
Cllr Peter Lamb and Keir Starmer

In the past 2-3 years all major political parties have seen a change of leadership, which is probably quite unusual and certainly likely to cause significant turmoil. Add in the biggest change to our nation’s political and trading arrangements (Brexit) and the impact of a global pandemic (Covid-19) and is it any wonder that we often feel at sea?

So I ‘Ecosia’d’ (a sort of greener Google) the word leadership, and the first three definitions that came up were;

  • the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal.
  • the capacity to influence people to achieve a common goal.
  • the ability of an individual, group or organization to “lead”, influence or guide other individuals, teams, or organizations.

Several positive words and phrases jumped out, including; motivating, common goal, influence and guide.

These words speak to me of clarity, informed confidence and collaboration. They are inclusive words and, applied to politics, can move us all to a more positive place.

Whatever your politics, from far left to far right, understanding the direction of travel, the desired destination, and the means of transport are critical elements of good government. In Keir Starmer, Labour have a leader with a proven record of developing and leading teams and achieving objectives. In Boris Johnson, the Conservative Party far less so.

For the job of PM, one CV would definitely get an interview, the other definitely wouldn’t.

And there, for me, is the divide. One man just wants to be leader and the other wants to lead. I know which I’d rather follow.

Politics without defining principles is nothing more than greed and power, the worst possible place for any country to be. With the right financial and media backing, it is little different from dictatorship and certainly isn’t anything ancient Greeks or Romans would have recognised as democracy.

The recent pandemic has opened people’s eyes to some of the human realities exacerbated by ten years of Tory austerity. Workers rights, so hard won in the last century, have simply been swept away in the name of greater profit and the gig economy. Rishi Sunak seemed not to even know that hundreds of thousands of workers had no statutory sick pay entitlement; that a five week lag for receiving universal credit led to destitution. These things had been a huge problem to low paid workers for years.

So where does Keir Starmer want to lead us?

Well many of us have been out and about all over Crawley delivering a leaflet on the subject. The inevitable new strap line on its front cover reading “A New Leadership”, with Starmer saying “I love our country. I want it to be the best place to grow up in and the best place to grow old in.”

He sets out his priorities as public services, education, employment, the economy, and the climate emergency.

Cameron, May and Johnson’s leadership has been so woefully inadequate, so ill-considered and so completely self-absorbed that collectively they have wreaked havoc on our great nation. And if we are honest on the left, we have to accept that, for whatever reason, we failed to provide a robust or credible alternative when that was so sorely needed.

Time now to draw a line in the sand and for me, well, I’ve had enough of chancers, I’ll put my faith in good leadership first.

Alison Cornell

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