The Wooden Spoon for Leadership.
The last few months have been something of a revelation.
Our finest companies have done well. Their imaginative reaction to the Corona-virus led to masks, new services, and special local support. They have kept their their international commitments – no thoughtless and brutal bravura.
However this leadership has been in the teeth of maladroit headwinds from all parts of the Administration.
We may indeed lead the developed world in geo-political and economic paranoia and complacency. When this is coupled with a near medieval faith in miracles we are right down there competing for the wooden spoon* of Black Swan management 2020. No need to list here the delayed action, misdirection, abuse of office, and cover up – watch instead the current central stumbling as society reopens. This is the Heinz deal – 52 varieties of timings, specials, and fence sittings as first the Government passed the buck to their States as though conferring an honor. And each State, already financially and politically hard pressed, has looked to its cities and mayors. This has been muddled soup where we yearned for clarity and direction. Through it all the House has remained largely comatose.
But this may not be sufficient to claim the coveted wooden spoon outright for the world wide competition is brisk and the Europeans are setting the pace.
The unelected bureaucrats of Europe, gifted the chance to prove their steadfast and decisive metal, have been a disaster. This matters. Though only 27 nations compared with the 50 states here, their overall population is 50% larger than ours. Facing the collapse of the EU dream, confronting an already apparent reversion to the populist and anarchic politics of the 30’s Fascist parties are growing in Italy, France and Germany. Communist acolytes are reverting to despotism in Rumania, Hungary and Poland. And the EU center, preoccupied with its own little world has tolerated a chaotic reopening that beggars belief. Watch for “travel bubbles”, bespoke “special circumstances”, and “corridors of risk”. Some nations will open now, some soon, some possibly later, and most in parts.
It is thus you have a starving population, and absentee leadership, and the weakest executive in the developed world**.
We are into the silly season – keep selling Europe.
* A British medieval term denoting a total loser.
** With apologies to Benjamin Disraeli .