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Johnson era shows Leadership Requires Cultural Change

Will the next Prime Minister's values actually be based on listening to the people?

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Leadership in crisis, literally

After what seemed like forever, Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister in the autumn following a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

After Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid quit, and dozens of other ministers followed, it felt like it was only a matter of time before Boris accepted the consequences of his actions during the past two years.

The strict lockdown laws of the earlier Covid waves were essential for us to get through those tough times, but they weren’t practised by those who preached them.

In April this year, the Prime Minister was fined for breaking the lockdown rules he set out for the UK. It was made known that he had a celebration for his birthday in June 2020 – which was followed by Sue Gray claiming there were a series of social events that broke the same rules.

These allegations were constantly denied by the Prime Minister – eventually Boris accepted his mistakes and apologised for attending a ‘bring your own booze’ gathering.

After the hypocrisy of the government over the past two years, the PM’s downfall and Cabinet resignations were considered long overdue by many. We saw a drastic rise in taxes and living costs which the government did not control, and we watched as they did nothing to help people who were struggling more and more each day.

Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer has shared many thoughts over Twitter, but has he himself given us something to believe in?

Whether you support the Tory government or not, it is hard to look past the profound loss of trust caused by two years of lies and false promises, two years where people haven’t felt valued or included by those in power.

We understand the pandemic was tough for everyone, including for our leaders. We can sympathise with those confronted with seemingly impossible decisions, with nothing close to a perfect outcome. But this only goes so far.

The Conservative party has been embroiled in scandal and chaos ever since Johnson’s removal.

Many of us were not surprised at the abject failure of his successor, Liz Truss. A destructive mini-budget devastated the UK economy, forcing the Bank of England to pay out over £65 billion to rescue the government’s tax policies.

A dramatic few weeks ensued; we saw the departure of the chancellor, the home secretary, and finally the prime minister herself within the space of a week. To make matters worse, Truss failed to outlast an iceberg lettuce in a blonde wig in a viral stunt pulled by the Daily Star.

A leader has to connect with the British majority

Boris and Truss are the perfect examples of leaders not knowing when to change, let alone when to leave, but there is no doubt left that it is time for us all to move on from this era of bad leadership and look for a better set of leaders who can connect with the people.

No matter who we are, we deserve to be appreciated and heard. It should be the promise of any government to include the people, all the people, with every law they pass, every rule they set and every action they take. The British people are now faced with more uncertainty as yet another Tory leadership contest unfolds, this time over the space of a week.

In a crisis, the number rule is this for any leader: ground your team in your values and pick up the courage to make the right and smart decisions. A good start would be outline those values.

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