No time for innocent bystanders

We need leaders who are going to stand up for everyone.

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The highest office of government is the place we would expect to find those with the best leadership qualities.

Empathy, influence, and trust-building pulled together with credibility and genuine aptitude for the job.

A leader, particularly a leader who makes decisions on behalf of 60 million people, must be values-led and serve the community which they are responsible for. Unfortunately, too many politicians are more concerned with their own power and influence than they are with creating a society that works for everyone.

During his first speech as Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street, Rishi Sunak pledged to lead a government with “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level”. My guess is that he was probably being honest about this. However, recently, his own Home Secretary has displayed qualities exactly opposite to those Sunak promised.

Suella Braverman’s latest appearances have focussed on her defending her plan to send “illegal” migrants to Rwanda.

This weekend, Sky’s Sophy Ridge put it plain – “Do you think that sounds a bit weird? That it’s your dream, your obsession, to see a plane taking off to Rwanda?” Braverman continued to spout empty rhetoric on the topic, denying that it was weird, and sticking by her (entirely unsuccessful) ‘dream’.

She has continued to stir up prejudice and discrimination with recent comments about grooming gangs – claiming that one critical fact about the gangs was that “the perpetrators are groups of men, almost all British-Pakistani, who hold cultural attitudes completely incompatible with British values”.

How is it possible, in 2023, that the Home Secretary is allowed to come out with these baseless and offensive comments? The Home Office’s own report on the matter, which was conveniently withheld from the public, concluded that there was no link between grooming gangs and ethnicity.

Why is she not being held to account?

It is an astonishing lack of leadership that has led to the situation we find ourselves in now. There are undoubtedly those around her that disagree with the demonisation of any ethnicity or group – but they are choosing to look the other way.

She’s a repeat offender for making comments like these, and the lack of censure equates to approval. Those who choose to remain silent bystanders are equally contributing to the problem.

It is time for a change.

We need leaders who are willing to stand up to the forces of hatred and division and work towards creating a society that is fair and just for all.

This means moving away from the politics of blame and towards a politics of empathy and understanding. We need leaders who are willing to listen to the concerns of everyone, not just those who shout the loudest.

We all want to live in a world where we feel safe and secure, where our voices are heard, and our contributions are valued. It is the responsibility of our elected officials to work towards creating this world. Some are clearly not up to the task.

Thought for the week:

The sign of a great leader is not how much power they wield, but how they use that power to energise and empower those around them.

Tips for being an A player:

  • Spend time each day walking in the shoes of others.
  • Everyone can be influential and a role model to others if they choose to be.
  • Reach out to those around you with care.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Collaboration is essential for success.

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