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They're at it again...

Posted by Steve Read on March 26, 2012

My ramblings today have been prompted by the latest ‘cash for something’ scandal emerging from Whitehall.  I must say, the ‘scandal’ part has put a smile on my face.  Why on earth is anyone surprised?  There is always a tory / liberal / labourite (and all the other flavours I can’t fit in here…) willing to take some cash for a question, for an honour, or in this case, for a spot of lunch.  I make light of it, but it is such an old and hackneyed situation.  The breaking ‘news’ over the weekend is frankly not news.  Imagine the headline ‘Government runs full term with no scandals’.  Now that would be news!  Mind you, in reality, it would have to end with the word ‘allegedly’.

Then this morning I heard Baz Luhrmann’s 1999 ditty ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).  This of course was based on Mary Schmich’s 1997 column in the Chicago Tribune titled  ‘Advice, like youth is probably just wasted on the young’.  But Baz is more famous, so he seems to get the credit.  The song contains the wonderful lyric ‘Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasise that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders’.  Now I’m not old, but how true that is!  Add to that the facts that it was all once made of wood, everything cost a penny, and the summer holidays were long…

My point?  Leadership and learning are my two points.  We know enough, we have enough experience, enough people have made enough mistakes that we don’t need stories like this anymore.  In ‘The Fifth Discipline’, Peter Senge describes The Delusion of Learning From Experience.  Misguided actions and outbursts from people in positions of leadership need not happen.  I think it was Winston Churchill who said it is best to do the right thing. Firstly because it is the right thing. Secondly, because the buggers will find out anyway.  Whoever said it, they are right.  Businesses, communities, political parties and governments need leaders who learn.

Back to the lyrics – as Edwyn Collins and Orange Juice said in 1983 – Rip It Up And Start Again.  Or am I just showing my age?

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