I’ve for a long time stated that out of the many leadership traits that are the most important there are three that stand out and one of them is trust.
This is especially important for the followers when a crisis happens. Right here and now we are facing one of the greatest crises in modern history and our leaders across the world are being watched like never before.
We are all justifiably full of fear as an unseen virus wields its worst across the planet. Many of us are very vulnerable and have limited knowledge of virology leaving almost all of us dependant upon our leaders to professionally manage the situation and inform us truthfully and timely.
In the UK ministers have been accused of playing down the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic after it recently emerged that more than 1,000 people died every day in the UK for 22 consecutive days. This is in stark contrast with daily tolls announced by the government.
According to an analysis of official figures, the darkest day came on April 8 as the country prepared for Easter under lockdown, when a record 1,445 people died from Covid-19 in 24 hours. Critics say ministers should have more clearly underlined that the reported death tolls were underestimates of the true tallies as they only counted deaths in hospitals after positive Covid-19 tests. It was not until April 29 that the government changed its daily data to include deaths in all settings, including those without a test.
Data released on June 17 shows that of the European countries impacted badly by the virus the UK has the lowest level of confidence that the government has handled the pandemic somewhat or very well. The UK has only 28 per cent voicing satisfaction whilst in Germany it is over 70pc.
Is it down to just trust and is Angela Merkel just more trusted that Boris Johnson? In 1986, she earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry in Berlin whilst he has a second-class degree after a course in the study of the Classics, ancient literature and classical philosophy at Oxford. Before becoming a politician, she was a scientist and he was a journalist.
I guess what happened in 1999 demonstrates who Angela is and what she stands for. A scandal over anonymous political donations to her party, the CDU, prompted her to make a decisive move. Both Helmut Kohl and Wolfgang Schäuble were implicated. In defiance of her mentor Kohl, and without informing Schäuble, Merkel wrote an article for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung urging the CDU to move on and leave the tainted Kohl era behind. Kohl saw it as a betrayal. Within a few short months, Merkel would be appointed the party leader.
Johnson became an MP in 2001 and Sir Max Hastings the journalist and military historian, said the selection of Boris Johnson confirms the Tory Party’s increasing weakness for celebrity personalities over the dreary exigencies of politics. He went on to say he is not known for his excessive interest in serious policy matters, and it is hard to see him grubbing away at administrative detail.
Unfortunately, the painful conclusion reached by many is that the UK has the wrong leader to deal with a pandemic. His team were chosen on ideological grounds; talented candidates with the wrong views were left out in the cold. Mr Johnson got the top job because he is a brilliant campaigner and a charismatic entertainer and not because of decent and honest competence.
Boring Angela on the other hand has the trust of the German public because she works hard and puts the people before herself. She wins my vote wholeheartedly.
Gordon is the former president and chief executive of BMMI. He can be reached at [email protected]