Monday, July 10, 2006

Leadership

I am traveling again, hence sparse blogging.

In fact I am in a blazing hot Tallinn, with the jollity of high summer and the white nights adding a certain positive spin on an otherwise fairly heavy round of meetings.

I keep in touch with the British news and see that the increasingly erratic David Cameron has now embarked on a "hug a hoodie" campaign. As he gets hip with the kids: "they're just misunderstood" I reflect on the contrast with the leaders of Estonia that I have been meeting with this trip.

Here I have been debating first principles of policy with political and business leadership. The tinsel of British politics is missing, but my goodness what substance. The politicians here are happy to think about complex and detailed policy areas. No Estonian politician, not even the most populist, would come up with such a disconnected political narrative as Cameron. Dominated by the agenda of PR and the media, Cameron has lost sight of what politics is for.

Meanwhile Ming Campbell faces a test of leadership. His front bench is coming up with radical policy ideas of real substance, but can he get his party activists to support his more Liberal agenda? If he can, then he will be showing leadership. This is the difference between hype and achievement.

That difference is something that the high-flying Estonians understand very well indeed.

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